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Several pictures of doctors who are featured on the Local Legends web site

MEET LOCAL LEGEND: Nancy Fishback, M.D.

Picture of Nancy Fishback
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Nancy Fishback, M.D.

“The study of sleep disorders is in its infancy and that makes it especially fascinating. Some of the real pioneers are still alive and working. It's a bit like being able to call up Freud and talk with him about psychology.”


Former Representative Ed Schrock



"When I was ten, I knew I wanted to be a doctor," recalled Nancy Fishback, who grew up in a small town in Indiana where her father sold and repaired X-ray equipment. "My father would take me with him when he visited a hospital. I loved going into the hospital and seeing the doctors at work. I knew then, I was going to be a doctor" As a leading expert on sleep disorder care and research as well as an award winning professor, Nancy Fishback's early fascination with hospitals has translated into a multi-faceted career that includes education, teaching, and practicing medicine.

She began her career with a rotating internship at Touro Infirmary, Tulane University and then studied anesthesiology at Abba Khoushy School of Medicine, Rambam Government Hospital in Haifa, Israel. She served as a medical officer for the Israel Defense Forces during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 before returning to the United States where she completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Tulane. She later completed a residency in anatomic pathology at University of Texas Health Science Center, a fellowship in pulmonary disease at Tulane, and then served as a Commander in the Medical Corps of the United States Navy.

She came to Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in 1998 and was appointed a full Professor of Medicine and Pathology in 2005. Her sleep disorders work is a joint program between EVMS and the Sentara Health Care system. Her research focuses on the effects of sleep deprivation on mood, memory, recall, and decision making. Her studies have investigated ways to reduce the number of automobile deaths that are sleep-related (second only to the number of automobile deaths that are alcohol related), and the relationship between sleep and aging.

While researching and helping patients with sleep disorders, Nancy Fishback has built a parallel career as an award winning teacher of medical students.

Nominated by former Representative Ed Schrock (R-VA-2nd), Nancy Fishback has won four years in a row (from 2002-2005) the coveted Sir William Osler Award for Excellence in Teaching Basic Science given each year by the graduating class at AVMS. She also won the prestigious Dean's Faculty Achievement Award for excellence for teaching in 2000.

Of her accomplishments, Nancy Fishback points to her teaching as particularly rewarding. "When you are teaching, you get a glimpse into how you can touch somebody's life and make a difference. That is a tremendous reward."

She is the author of numerous abstracts, articles, and reviews, and is a frequent speaker and presenter at sleep research conferences.

"Her calm demeanor and quiet leadership skills have led her and those around her to academic, clinical, and research excellence," wrote Evan R. Farmer, MD, Dean and Provost of Eastern Virginia Medical School.



Appointed Chief of Staff, Humana Hospital Metropolitan, San Antonio, TX

1998 & 2005

Appointed Associate Professor of Medicine and Pathology (1998), Appointed Full Professor of Medicine and Pathology (2005), Eastern Virginia School of Medicine, Norfolk, VA


Dean's Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching in the Basic Sciences, Eastern Virginia School of Medicine, Norfolk, VA

2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

Winner of the Osler Award for Teaching in the Basic Sciences, Eastern Virginia School of Medicine, Norfolk, VA




Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN


Internal Medicine/Sleep Medicine

Sub Specialty