Northwest Kidney Centers has appointed Dr. Suzanne Watnick of Portland as chief medical officer. She began her duties Jan. 3, 2017, the non-profit dialysis provider announced.

Prior to joining Northwest Kidney Centers, Watnick was the acting division chief of nephrology at Portland’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She served as medical director of the dialysis unit for 14 years and began the home dialysis program. About 20 percent of the VA patients dialyze at home, according to Northwest Kidney Centers.

She has served on the public policy board of the American Society of Nephrology for seven years and brings expertise in patient advocacy, payment reform and quality improvement.

“What I noticed first and foremost,” said Watnick, “was Northwest Kidney Centers’ commitment to patients at every level. This commitment was clear from walking the dialysis unit floors to talking to the executive team to the way clinics were set up.”

Watnick received her undergraduate degree from Harvard and her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She did her residency at University of California San Francisco and was a nephrology fellow at UCSF and Yale University.

Dr. Bonnie Collins, who has served for two years as interim chief medical officer, will continue with Northwest Kidney Centers as associate chief medical officer, reporting to Watnick.