Scientific Advisory Board

The National Kidney Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is comprised of leaders within all of NKF’s major medical initiatives, physicians serving on the national board of directors, as well as other individuals appointed at the discretion of the NKF President. Chaired by the President, this leadership group is responsible for directing, and advocating for, the organization’s major medical programs.

Paul Palevsky, MD, FNKF – Chair; NKF President

Paul Palevsky, MD, FNKF

Dr. Palevsky is Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science in the Renal-Electrolyte Division at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and is Chief of the Renal Section at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. He completed his undergraduate and medical education at Northwestern University followed by internship and residency training in internal medicine and fellowship training in nephrology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Palevsky joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 1989, where he has remained since. Dr. Palevsky's research has primarily focused on acute kidney injury and critical care nephrology. He was the study chair of the VA/NIH Acute Renal Failure Trial Network (ATN) study evaluating intensity of renal replacement therapy in critically ill patients with acute kidney injury and currently serves as co-chair of the PRESERVE trial, evaluating the comparative effectiveness of saline and bicarbonate and the efficacy of N-acetylcysteine in preventing kidney damage following angiography. Among other clinical trials, Dr. Palevsky was a member of the planning and executive committee of the VA NEPHRON-D study, which compared monotherapy with an angiotensin receptor blocker to combination therapy with both an angiotensin blocker and an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor in slowing progression of diabetic kidney disease and is a member of the steering committees for the EUPHRATES trial, evaluating extracorporeal endotoxin adsorption in severe sepsis. Dr Palevsky has published more than 200 original articles, reviews and book chapters, serves as a deputy editor of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and is section editor for Renal Failure for UpToDate. He is a former member of the board of directors and past chair of the Quality, Safety and Accountability committee of the Renal Physicians Association, and is the vice-chair of the board of directors of Quality Insights Renal Network 4 (ESRD Network 4).

Harold Feldman, MD, MSCE

Harold Feldman, MD, MSCE

Dr. Feldman is the Chair of the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics (DBEI), the George S. Pepper Professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, a Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Medicine (Renal Electrolyte and Hypertension Division), and Medicine in Pediatrics, and the Director of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB). Dr. Feldman earned his MD in 1982 from Boston University before completing a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. He subsequently completed his fellowship training in nephrology at the University of Pennsylvania where he also trained in Clinical Epidemiology. His work has also been recognized through membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Epidemiological Society. He is President of the American College of Epidemiology. Dr. Feldman is also currently the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases after serving as past inaugural Deputy Editor of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and past Associate Editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Among his numerous national leadership roles, Dr. Feldman leads NIH's Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study (CRIC), the major national research effort making fundamental insights into the epidemiology, management, and outcomes of chronic kidney disease. Under his leadership, the CRIC Study has discovered numerous findings with great promise to advance the development of novel therapies to reduce morbidity in this population worldwide. Dr. Feldman also leads NIDDK's Coordinating Center of its Chronic Kidney Disease Biomarkers Consortium. He is also the director of multiple NIH-funded institutional training grants in the clinical epidemiology of kidney disease, cancer, and neurological disorders. Dr. Feldman's published scholarship of more than 200 research publications has appeared in many leading biomedical journals.

Morgan Grams, MD, MHS, PhD

Morgan Grams, MD, MHS, PhD

Dr. Grams is a nephrologist and Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Dr. Grams holds academic degrees from Yale, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins University. She completed an internal medicine residency at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University and a nephrology fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Grams is Director of Nephrology Initiatives for the Chronic Kidney Disease Prognosis Consortium, an 11-million participant, global consortium, and she also maintains active research programs in the metabolomics and genomics of kidney disease as well as drug safety in chronic kidney disease.

Lesley Inker, MD

Lesley Inker, MD

Dr. Inker is an Associate Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM), an attending physician in the William B. Schwartz, MD Division of Nephrology at Tufts Medical Center (TMC), and scientist at the US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University. Dr. Inker's primary research interests are in kidney function measurement and estimation, alternative endpoints for clinical trials of kidney disease progression, and epidemiology and outcomes related to CKD. Dr. Inker is an investigator on several trials of kidney disease progression. Dr Inker has worked with NKF leadership on improving CKD awareness, including revising the ICD codes related to kidney disease in the United States. Dr. Inker was co-chair of the Kidney Disease Outcome Quality Initiative (KDOQI) committee on the CKD Guidelines, which wrote a commentary on the Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) CKD 2012 guidelines. Dr. Inker is the Director of the Kidney and Blood Pressure Center, the Kidney Function Evaluation Center, and for Quality Improvement for the Division of Nephrology at Tufts Medical Center.

Elizabeth Yakes Jimenez, PhD, RDN, LD

Elizabeth Yakes Jimenez, PhD, RDN, LD

Dr. Yakes Jimenez is the Director of the Nutrition Research Network (NRN) for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Research Associate Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and a master’s degree in public health nutrition from Case Western Reserve University, and a PhD in epidemiology from the University of California, Davis. In her role as the Director of the NRN, she is currently overseeing research studies examining underutilization of Medicare medical nutrition therapy benefits for patients with non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease, and implementation of evidence-based nutrition practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease.

Holly Kramer, MD, MPH

Holly Kramer, MD, MPH

Dr. Kramer received her M.D. from the Indiana University School of Medicine. After completing a nephrology fellowship at Harvard University Medical School in 2002, Dr. Kramer was jointly appointed to the Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, and Department of Public Health Sciences at the Loyola University Medical Center. She became co-director (Dr. Durazo) of the Clinical Research Methods and Epidemiology Program in 2005, developing several courses for the program, and later was the Program Director for the MPH Program in 2009-2013. Dr. Kramer is currently an Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences and Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. Her research interests include the intersection between nutrition, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. She is the immediate past President of NKF, as well as Vice-Chair of NKF KDOQI Controversies and Commentaries. In 2016, Dr. Kramer was awarded the Garabed Eknoyan award from the National Kidney Foundation.

Eugene Lin, MD

Eugene Lin, MD

Dr. Lin is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. He is a board-certified nephrologist and health services researcher with a focus on economic policies pertaining to kidney diseases. His main research focus is in cost-effectiveness and assessing the impact of financial incentives on patient outcomes. Currently, he is studying the economic and social determinants of home dialysis drop-out and the appropriateness of 30-day rehospitalizations in patients receiving dialysis. He also has interests in the impact of Medicare policies on the delivery of healthcare by providers and has studied how to optimize chronic disease management, including an investigation on the cost-effectiveness of multi-disciplinary care programs in chronic kidney disease. Recently, he helped the NKF refine its CKD Intercept payment model. He also served as moderator for two of the clinical subcommittees convened by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to develop episodes of care for the Quality Payment Program (“Acute Kidney Injury Requiring New Inpatient Dialysis” and “Hemodialysis Access Creation”). Eugene received a BS in biology (minor in mathematics) from Stanford University, an MD from Baylor College of Medicine, and completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and his fellowship training at Stanford University.

Kathleen Liu, MD, PhD

Kathleen Liu, MD, PhD

Dr. Liu is Professor of Medicine and Anesthesia in the Divisions of Nephrology and Critical Care Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.  Her current research areas of interest focus on the predictive and pathogenic role of biomarkers for both acute and chronic disease states.  She has served as an associate editor for the Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease and NephSAP, and also served on the editorial board for the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.  She has been actively involved with National Kidney Foundation, including serving on the Program Committee for the Spring Clinical Meetings and the workgroup for the KDOQI Guideline Commentary for the KDIGO AKI Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Marva Moxey-Mims, MD, FASN

Marva Moxey-Mims, MD, FASN

Dr. Moxey-Mims is the Division Chief of Nephrology at the Children’s National Hospital. Prior to that, she served as deputy director for clinical science in the Division of Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. There she oversaw a portfolio of research including trials for kidney disease and genitourinary dysfunction in adults and children, and director of the pediatric nephrology program. In addition, she managed the division’s small business grants for kidney research.

Dr. Moxey-Mims’ focus at Children’s National is on clinical research to improve the care of children with kidney disease, and as a tool to educate trainees. She received an undergraduate degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and a medical degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She completed a pediatric residency and clinical pediatric nephrology training at Children’s National, followed by a research fellowship at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH. She is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric nephrology. Dr. Moxey-Mims is a member of several national committees and has more than 90 scientific publications, including peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Neil Powe, MD, MPH, MBA

Neil Powe, MD, MPH, MBA

Dr. Powe is the Chief of Medicine at the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and the Constance B. Wofsy Distinguished Professor and Vice-Chair of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco where he serves as administrative leader of the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Powe’s work unites Medicine and Public Health. His landmark investigations of outcomes in chronic kidney disease, particularly on health disparities, have influenced clinical practice and policy.  He led the Choices for Healthy Outcomes in Caring for ESRD (CHOICE) study, one of the first national cohort studies of patient outcomes dialysis.  He is a principal investigator of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention National CKD Surveillance System. In 450 publications, he has studied early referral of CKD patients, patient-physician contact in dialysis care, cost-effectiveness of screening for proteinuria, race differences in cardiovascular procedure use among CKD patients, effect of treatment modalities on survival, outcomes of emergent vs standard hemodialysis for immigrants, outcomes of dialysis care by type of ownership and access to transplantation.

Dr. Powe earned his MD at Harvard Medical School and his MPH at Harvard School of Public Health and residency and fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael V. Rocco, MD, MS, FACP, FNKF

Michael V. Rocco, MD, MS, FACP, FNKF

Dr. Rocco is Professor of Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He received his MD degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and also served his Internal Medicine residency at Vanderbilt. He completed a nephrology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and received a master's degree in epidemiology at Wake Forest University. He has been on the faculty of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine since 1991 and currently holds the Vardaman M. Buckalew Jr. Chair in Nephrology. He has more than 100 manuscripts and book chapters in the areas of hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, nutrition, chronic renal failure and epidemiology. He has served as the clinical center Principal Investigator at Wake Forest for several NIH trials, including the HEMO Study, the Acute Renal Failure Trial Network (ATN), the Dialysis Access Consortium (DAC) and the Frequent Hemodialysis Network (FHN). In the HEMO Study he served as the Chair of the Nutrition committee and the Vice-Chair of the Outcomes Committee. In the FHN Trial, he is the Clinical Core Consortium PI for the Nocturnal Trial and the Chair of the Outcomes Committee. Dr. Rocco is currently the Chair of the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI); he served as the Vice-Chair for KDOQI from 2003 - 2007 and was the vice-chair for the NKF KDOQI Hypertension Work Group.

Sylvia E. Rosas, MD, MSCE

Sylvia E. Rosas, MD, MSCE

Dr. Rosas is a nephrologist and epidemiologist at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Ma. She is the Director of the Latino Kidney Clinic and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She also is a nephrologist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Her primary research focus is on the epidemiology of metabolic and cardiovascular disease complications in patients with chronic kidney disease particularly diabetic kidney disease. She has also evaluated health disparities in individuals with CKD particularly in those of Hispanic/Latino background.

Dr. Rosas is the clinical center PI in the NIDDK-funded multicenter APOL1 Long-term Kidney Transplantation Outcomes Network (APOLLO) that evaluates the role of the APOL1 gene in kidney transplant outcomes. She is also the PI for the Kidney Precision Medicine Program (KPMP) Chronic Kidney Disease recruitment site at Joslin Diabetes Center. KPMP aims to ethically obtain and evaluate human kidney biopsies in order to create a kidney tissue atlas, define disease subgroups, and identify critical cells, pathways, and targets for novel therapies. She has received numerous awards including the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) of New England Physician of the Year in 2017 and National Hispanic Medical Association Fellow of the Year Award.  In addition to being a long-time volunteer for the National Kidney Foundation, she is the president-elect and will begin her term as President in October 2022. On a local level, she has been a member of the medical board of the NKF NE chapter. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and the Advances of Chronic Kidney Disease Journal. Dr. Rosas served as the Chair of the Minority Affairs Committee of the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network/United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Dr. Rosas has been the secretary for Women in Nephrology as well as Program Committee Chair for the NIDDK Network for Minority Health Research Investigators.

Leah Foster Smith, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, CNN-NP, FNKF

Leah Foster Smith, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, CNN-NP, FNKF

Leah Foster Smith received her BSN & MSN-FNP from University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1996 & 2001, respectively. She joined Metrolina Nephrology Associates, based in Charlotte, NC, in 2001 as an ANCC Board-certified FNP. Leah was promoted to Director of Advanced Practitioners in 2007 and now supervises Supervising the largest group of nephrology APs in the US with a total of 30 Nephrology Advanced Practitioners. She is also an AP practice consultant with Clear Edge Medical Management assisting multiple nephrology practice in the utilization of nephrology APs, AP-led CKD clinics, focused dialysis rounding models and AP leadership in nephrology practice settings.  Leah is also the creator and chair of formalized CKD program managing over 22,000 CKD patients with quality data showing 35% reduction in CVC start rates on patients transitioning to dialysis when APs are involved in care along with a development of a formalized new nephrology AP training program that includes both clinical and didactic courses assisting new nephrology APs integrate into nephrology practice settings including CKD, outpatient dialysis and acute nephrology care settings. Leah is now owner and Chief Education Officer in Interactive Nephrology providing educational support for nephrology practices and APs across the country. She also serves as practice lead in the legacy Charlotte ESCO with Fresenius Health Partner.

Leah currently serves in many national nephrology organizations at local, state and national levels. Leah is involved with NKF with her current role as Chair of the National Council of APs and member of the NC Medical Advisory Board. In addition to her volunteer work with NKF, she has been involved with ANNA, RPA, and the NNCC.

Wendy St. Peter, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, FNKF

Wendy St. Peter, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, FNKF

Dr. St. Peter is a Professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center, where she also completed a fellowship in adult medicine. She served as a clinical practitioner at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis for several years where she provided medication therapy management of dialysis and chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients as part of a interprofessional team. She was Associate Dean and Director, Division of Professional Education in the College of Pharmacy from 1997-2000. In 2000, she became an investigator with the Chronic Disease Research Group and also with the United States Renal Data System (USRDS, 2000-2014) in Minneapolis. Dr. St. Peter's career has been focused on improving medication management and drug safety in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to improve health outcomes. She conducts clinical and pharmacoepidemiologic research using Medicare, health system as well as commercial datasets. She conducted and helped design the secondary study of the large prospective Dialysis Clinical Outcomes Revisited (DCOR) trial, linking trial data with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data to determine additional clinical outcomes and economic costs. Dr. St. Peter holds fellowships in the American Society of Nephrology, American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the National Kidney Foundation. She has served on several national technical expert panels for medication-related safety and quality measurement issues. Her current research interests include new models of care for CKD patients as well as treatment of CKD anemia, mineral and bone disorder, and the intersection of management of heart failure, CKD and/or acute kidney injury.

Charuhas Thakar, MD

Charuhas Thakar, MD

Dr. Thakar received his medical degree from the Bharati Vidyapeeth Medical College, University of Pune, India in 1995. He completed an Internal Medicine residency at Bridgeport Hospital, Yale New Haven Health in Bridgeport, CT and a Nephrology fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, OH. Dr. Thakar currently serves as the Director, Division of Nephrology, Kidney C.A.R.E (Clinical Advancement, Research & Education) Program at the University of Cincinnati in OH and Chief of Renal Section at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. Dr. Thakar is an experienced educator, having joined the University of Cincinnati as an Assistant Professor in 2004 and was promoted to Professor of Medicine with Tenure in 2014. He is a nationally recognized for his research related to acute kidney injury and progression of chronic kidney disease. His work has been published in top-tiered peer-reviewed journals, and he has received funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, NIH and other national foundations. Additionally, he completed an executive education program at Harvard Business School in Managing Healthcare Delivery. He has vast leadership experience in complex healthcare environments, including federal, non-profit, and private sectors.

Sumeska Thavarajah, MD

Sumeska Thavarajah, MD

Dr. Thavarajah is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the division of Nephrology. Much of her work has focused on the development of patient education programs including videos, live classes and patient conferences with a focus on understanding kidney disease, dialysis modalities and transplant options. She has a strong interest in clinical operations.  She currently serves as the Medical Director for the JHBMC Nephrology clinic, acute dialysis services at JHBMC, and outpatient dialysis units. Dr. Thavarajah joined the BMC Nephrology editorial board in October 2019 as a Blog Editor for the journal. She has been committed to education and dedicated to bringing community awareness on kidney disease through her work with the National Kidney Foundation serving Maryland and Delaware.

Daniel Weiner, MD, MS

Daniel Weiner, MD, MS

Dr. Weiner is a nephrologist and nephrology clinical researcher with interests in dialysis, cardiovascular disease in kidney disease, and decision-making in advanced kidney disease. He is the national Medical Director of Clinical Research for Dialysis Clinic, Inc., a national not-for-profit dialysis provider. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Kidney Medicine, an official journal of the National Kidney Foundation, and the Primer on Kidney Diseases. He is the recipient of the American Society of Nephrology Midcareer Distinguished Leader Award in 2019 and has been active in kidney disease policy on a national level, including as the prior chair of the American Society of Nephrology Quality Committee.

National Staff:
Kerry Willis, PhD
Joseph Vassalotti, MD
Jessica Joseph, MBA