Tolwani appointed to new Rutsky professorship in nephrology

Tolwani Ashita MD 1Ashita TolwaniThe UA System Board of Trustees approved both the creation of a new endowed professorship and the appointment to fill it during its meeting June 17.

Ashita Tolwani, M.D., was appointed the inaugural holder of the newly created DCI Edwin A. Rutsky, M.D., Distinguished Endowed Professorship in Nephrology.

“It's truly a huge privilege to be chosen,” Tolwani said. “Dr. Rutsky has not only been my mentor but also my greatest inspiration and my role model. He is the consummate physician, and I strive every day to be as caring, thoughtful and thorough as he. I have treasured all the advice he has given me over the years and can think of no greater honor than receiving this endowed professorship.”

The endowed position was created by a gift from Dialysis Clinic Inc., in honor of the emeritus professor whose 45-year medical career focused on the delivery of hemodialysis, a lifesaving procedure in which the toxins are filtered from the body when the kidneys no longer function. DCI is the nation’s largest nonprofit dialysis provider, operating more than 230 dialysis clinics with 5,000 employees.

Rutsky Edwin 17Edwin Rutsky“I am deeply humbled by this generous gift,” Edwin Rutsky said, expressing his gratitude. “This is an incredible investment in our physicians, educators and scientists, as well as our patients and their families.” 

Rutsky, celebrated for his extraordinary patient care and his landmark research, also is revered for the mentorship he provided to more than 100 fellows in the university’s nephrology training program. The annual presentation at the fellow’s graduation is co-named for him as is the Department of Medicine’s annual award for clinical excellence.

Likewise, Tolwani directed nephrology’s fellowship program for eight years — mentoring more than 100 fellows — and was instrumental in developing UAB’s in-service examination for renal fellows that has now been adapted by the American Society of Nephrology. Consistently ranked among the top teachers, she is the 2016 recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and has been named to the Best Doctors in America since 2007.

Tolwani is recognized internationally for developing educational tools for acute kidney injury and continuous renal-replacement therapy and has numerous publications in high-profile journals.

“Providing funding for academic physicians to focus on activities that advance our understanding of nephrology — such as conducting cutting-edge research and training nephrology fellows to become highly qualified kidney specialists — ultimately benefits all patients with kidney disease,” said Anupam Agarwal, M.D., executive vice dean for the UAB School of Medicine and director of the Division of Nephrology.

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