May 12, 2022

Fissell receives Medal of Excellence from the American Association of Kidney Patients

Vanderbilt’s William Fissell, MD, recently received the 2022 Medal of Excellence Award in the physician category from the American Association of Kidney Patients.


by Emily Stembridge

William Fissell, MD

William Fissell, MD, associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology, has received the 2022 Medal of Excellence Award in the physician category from the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP).

“The American Association of Kidney Patients is nearly unique in its independence from the dialysis industry. Over decades, the AAKP’s firm, courteous and invariably patient-centered advocacy has earned the respect of stakeholders from patients to Capitol Hill. It has been a tremendous honor to speak at AAKP events and now an even greater honor to receive the 2022 Medal of Excellence Award,” Fissell said.

Fissell received the award for his efforts to achieve advancements in kidney care and patient empowerment. Throughout his career, Fissell has committed to improving and extending the lives of his kidney patients through advocacy, research and technology — such as his award-winning work toward developing an implantable artificial kidney — that protect patient dignity and carefully align with patient goals and aspirations.

Additionally, he serves as a mentor to others throughout the renal community.

“I am not the first from our institution to be recognized,” Fissell added. “Vanderbilt’s Dr. Raymond Hakim, one of the germinal researchers in dialysis, was honored by AAKP several years ago, and it’s humbling to share this honor with a giant in the field. Vanderbilt is an extraordinary center for kidney care and kidney research that covers every aspect of kidney disease. The support for our work from Vanderbilt has been crucial to our success. I cannot imagine a better place to be a kidney doctor, kidney researcher and most importantly, a kidney patient.”

“Dr. Fissell is truly a pioneer in development of artificial kidney for our patients,” said T. Alp Ikizler, MD, chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. “His unique ability to translate his innovative research to pragmatic patient care and advocacy is also remarkable and makes him the perfect recipient of this prestigious award. We are all very lucky to have him as a colleague.”

Fissell trained in physics and engineering during his undergraduate studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology before receiving his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University. He went on to complete a residency in internal medicine at University Hospitals of Cleveland and a fellowship in nephrology from the University of Michigan, where he trained with H. David Humes, MD, the developer of the first bioartificial kidney used in clinical trials. Fissell was recruited to Vanderbilt from The Cleveland Clinic in 2012.