by Paul Govern
Infectious diseases specialist Patty Wright, MD, professor of Medicine and chief of staff for Adult Ambulatory Services for Davidson County, is one of two recipients of the 2022 Watanakunakorn Clinician Award from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).
The award for outstanding achievement in the clinical practice of infectious diseases was presented Oct. 19 at the opening session of the society’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. This year’s other recipient is Robin Dretler, MD, of Emory Heathcare in Atlanta.
The IDSA webpage devoted to the 2022 award cites Wright as a role model for women in medicine who exemplifies professionalism and expertise in clinical practice, and whose lectures on wellness, resiliency and work/life balance help medical students, residents and fellows deal with the demands of the practice of medicine.
Wright has excelled in a range of clinical and administrative roles during 20 years of service at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, including as medical director of the International Travel Clinic, medical director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic, and executive medical director of the medicine patient care center.
She played an integral role in VUMC’s COVID-19 response, leading the creation of the COVID-19 Infusion Clinic and chairing a working group on clinical recommendations for treatment of COVID-19 in adult patients.
Wright was a co-leader of VUMC’s COVIDRx Team, formed early in the pandemic to develop protocols and a distribution process to get Tennessee’s supply of remdesivir to those COVID-19 patients most in need of the drug at hospitals across the state. The team’s efforts garnered a VUMC Elevate Team Award and the President’s Award from the Tennessee Hospital Association.
Wright earned her bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University and her medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, where she also completed a residency in internal medicine and fellowship training in infectious diseases.