As part of its first live-virtual Spring Clinical Meetings, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) today is presenting awards to specialists in nephrology “who most exemplify the relentless efforts of the foundation to enhance the lives of patients through action, education and accelerating change,” according to a press release issued by the organization.

Here is a list of the awards and their recipients:

Donald W. Seldin Award: Gary Curhan, MD, ScD.

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Dr Curhan is a nephrologist and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston. The Seldin award was established to recognize excellence in clinical nephrology in the tradition of one of the foremost teachers and researchers in the field.

Public Service Award: Alex M. Azar II, JD.

Azar is Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The award is given to someone who has dedicated their career to public service and has helped shape public policies or government programs that improve outcomes for kidney patients. Azar’s most significant work on behalf of kidney patients culminated in July 2019, when the Trump Administration announced the “Advancing American Kidney Health” initiative, which outlined significant and ground breaking efforts to improve the lives of patients on dialysis; increase availability of kidney transplants; and eliminate all preventable kidney disease.

Dr. Shaul G. Massry Distinguished Lecture Award: Joachim H. Ix, MD, MAS.

Dr Ix is Professor Medicine and Chief of the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension at the University of California San Diego. The award was established to honor Dr. Massry for his scientific achievements and contributions to the kidney healthcare community and to the NKF. Dr Ix’s research focuses on two main areas: understanding the contributions of kidney tubule disease on CKD progression; and evaluating new approaches to treat CKD related mineral bone disorders.

David M. Hume Memorial Award: Josephine Briggs, MD.

Dr Briggs is Interim Executive Director of the Patient-centered Outcomes Research Institute in Washington, DC. The award, which is NKF’s highest honor, was created in memory of one of NKF’s most distinguished members. Dr Hume was part of a team that in 1954 performed the first successful kidney transplant (at Brigham Hospital in Boston).

Garabed Eknoyan Award: Kerry Willis, PhD.

Dr Willis is NKF’s Chief Scientific Officer. The award was created to recognize individuals who have promoted NKF’s mission to make lives better for patients with kidney disease through their exceptional contributions to key NKF initiatives such as the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) or clinical research in the field of kidney disease.

J. Michael Lazarus Award: Laura Dember, MD.

Dr Dember is a faculty member in the Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension Division and a Senior Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. The award was established to honor J. Michael Lazarus for his major contributions to the clinical science and care of dialysis patients, and to recognize individuals whose research has yielded novel insights related to renal replacement therapy. Dr. Dember conducts patient-oriented research in chronic kidney disease with a focus on interventions to improve clinical outcomes for patients treated with maintenance hemodialysis.

Joel D. Kopple Award: Connie Rhee, MD, MSc.

Dr Rhee is Assistant Professor of Medicine and Public Health at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine. Within the Division of Nephrology, Hypertension, and Kidney Transplantation, Dr Rhee is Director of Clinical and Translational Research, Director of Dialysis Quality Improvement, and Associate Director of Outpatient Hemodialysis. The award is given to an individual who has contributed significantly to the field of renal nutrition.

Excellence in Kidney Transplantation: Gabriel Danovitch, MD.

Dr Danovitch holds the John J. Kuiper Chair in Nephrology and Renal Transplantation at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, he is Distinguished Professor of Medicine. The award was established last year to recognize a scientist or clinician scientist whose exceptional research has contributed novel insights in or resulted in improved access to kidney transplantation.

The Medical Advisory Board Distinguished Service Award: Wendy St. Peter, PharmD.

Dr St. Peter is a professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Dr. St. Peter is an investigator with the United States Renal Data System and conducts pharmacoepidemiology and health outcomes research. The award recognizes individuals for their educational activities and community service in promoting the mission of NKF on a local level.

Celeste Castillo Lee Patient Engagement Award: Erich Ditschman.

Ditschman is an active and engaged member of NKF’s Kidney Advocacy Committee. In 2018, he co-chaired NKF’s KDOQI Home Dialysis Controversies Conference, which aimed to remove the barriers to home dialysis so that it becomes a viable choice for anyone on dialysis. The award was established to honor Celeste Castillo Lee, longtime chair of NKF’s Patient and Family Council and leading advocate for patient-centered care and empowerment.

In addition, NKF bestowed an award to Teri Jo Kinnison, RN, BS, of Tempe, Arizona, in the name of Carol Mattix, a home dialysis training nurse, who worked to improve the lives of patients with kidney disease. During a career spanning 18 years, Kinnison has been an in-center nurse, clinical specialist on management teams, and quality assurance director. For the past 3 years she has worked in home hemodialysis helping patients learn dialysis procedures and develop their abilities to manage their own treatments.