Distinguished Leader Award: Suzanne Watnick, MD, FASN

Suzanne Watnick
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Suzanne Watnick, MD, FASN

Citation: Kidney News 14, 10/11

Dr. Watnick is the chief medical officer at Northwest Kidney Centers and a professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology at the University of Washington. She also practices in the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, WA.

She has filled important leadership roles with ASN. She spearheaded the inaugural virtual Dialysis Core Curriculum and was instrumental in the development of the first Dialysis Practice Improvement Module. She has served on many ASN committees, including the Public Policy Board, a Home Dialysis Task Force, the Policy and Advocacy Committee, the Training Program Directors Executive Committee, and the Postgraduate Education Committee. She currently serves on the ASN Quality Committee and represents ASN at Kidney Care Partners.

Dr. Watnick regularly represents ASN and the kidney community in meetings with legislators and regulators to advocate for patient-centered care. She has worked tirelessly to bring together groups, such as ASN and the National Kidney Foundation, to work for better kidney care policy.

She served on the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) Executive Committee and the American Board of Internal Medicine Nephrology Board and is on the editorial board of CJASN.

Dr. Watnick has also been a leader in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a Northwest Kidney Centers dialysis patient was the first reported U.S. death from COVID-19, Dr. Watnick implemented rigorous plans to safely treat dialysis patients. She shared what she learned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with the kidney community nationally.

Dr. Watnick received her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School in Worcester, followed by an internship and residency in internal medicine and a clinical fellowship in nephrology at the University of California, San Francisco. She then completed clinical and research fellowships in nephrology at Yale University. Before moving to Seattle, she spent 16 years at Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland VA Medical Center, where she served several roles, including as the training program director of the fellowship program.