25 People Win the KidneyX Patient Innovator Challenge with Ideas to Improve Patients Lives

March 26, 2020, New York, NY— The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and National Kidney Foundation (NKF) announced today that 25 innovators have been selected as winners in two categories of the first-ever KidneyX: Patient Innovator Challenge, funded by NKF.
The winners will be announced at NKF’s 2020 Spring Clinical Meetings held this year as a Live-Virtual Meeting due to the COVID-19 outbreak This necessary change will help ensure the safety of our patients, staff, volunteers and conference participants while still enabling NKF to provide the high-quality content SCM is known for in a new live-virtual format. 
The KidneyX: Patient Innovator Challenge contest invited individuals, communities, businesses, institutions, and not-for-profit organizations, among others, to submit ideas on how to improve therapeutic options and quality of life for people living with kidney diseases. The winning ideas include supporting home dialysis; monitoring devices and apps for patients with kidney failure; educational materials and online platforms; help for people with transplants; and peer support groups.
A panel of judges and reviewers spent months reviewing the more than 120 submissions to select 10 winners in Category 1 – solutions already tried or put into practice – and 15 winners in Category 2 – ideas for solutions not yet created.
The KidneyX: Patient Innovator Challenge is part of the Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX) umbrella, which seeks to accelerate products focused on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment across the spectrum of kidney care.
“We are so excited to fund the KidneyX: Patient Innovator Challenge and honor those who have not only tried to build a better mousetrap, but are willing to share their ideas with other patients and clinicians,” said NKF CEO Kevin Longino, who is also a kidney transplant recipient. “I know that these novel workarounds will help other patients live better lives and with proper investment can help advance kidney care overall.”
“Congratulations to the 25 innovators who won the KidneyX Patient Innovator Challenge, and thanks to everyone who submitted an idea,” said HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan. “Our KidneyX team with HHS, American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is proud to put patients’ ideas at the forefront. Patients are key to transforming the kidney-care landscape with KidneyX.  Improving the lives of people with kidney diseases necessitates supporting innovation wherever it happens.”
“Patients know best how kidney diseases affect them and what tools could lessen the impact of kidney disease on their lives,” said John R. Sedor, MD, FASN, KidneyX Steering Committee Chair. “The KidneyX Patient Innovator Challenge taps this rich resource of new ideas from the patients and caregivers, who face the burdens of kidney diseases every day. The winning projects generate solutions for some of the issues most vexing to patients, which can positively impact millions of lives, and highlights KidneyX’s commitment to bringing patient-focused innovations to improve the lives of patients and their caregivers.”  
  • Ann Chokas of Great Neck, NY, for designing a smartphone app to monitor blood test results
  • Chris Jaynes of Cardiff-by-the-sea, CA, for creating a way to extend the life of a kidney removed for transplantation to give surgeons more time to access the organ;
  • Deepa Kariyawasam of London, England, for creating kidney patient diet booklets geared toward minority cuisine;
  • Sarah Lee of Baltimore, MD for creating a device that disinfects tubing for peritoneal dialysis;
  • David Kuraguntla of San Francisco, CA for creating a device to monitor fluid levels in dialysis patients;
  • Robert Richter of Coconut Creek, FL, for creating a device to help a one-handed Vet administer home dialysis;
  • Chelsea Roman of Sacramento, CA, for creating a 3D-printable wrist cuff to secure needles used in home dialysis;
  • Lana Schmidt of Liberty, IL, for using a state-funded home aide program to hire someone to help her with home dialysis;
  • Deborah Stanzak of Twinsburg, OH, for creating clothing suited for dialysis patients;
  • John Vito of Rochester, NY, for creating a video cooking series for end-stage kidney failure patients.
  • Brian Bender of Raleigh, NC, for a home-use device in development to track sodium levels in urine;
  • Andrew Brookens of Denver, CO for a proposal to open a home dialysis education center to train patients;
  • Chandra Chhun of McDonough, GA, for a proposal to develop an online platform to help home dialysis patients;
  • Anthony Clark of Wilmington, DE, to create kidney food labels for kidney patients;
  • Jaclyn Giannakoulis of Stoughton, MA, to develop a program to rent home dialysis cyclers for patients when they travel;
  • Nieltje Gedney of Kearneysville, WV, to develop a toolkit for home dialysis patients to give realtime feedback;
  • Varun Goyal of Carmel, IN, to develop an app to help transplant patients keep track of their medicines;
  • Lonnie Green of Kennesaw, GA, to develop a peer mentorship program for dialysis patients;
  • Mary Lou Hurley of Bloomingdale, NJ, to create a handout about transplants for patients to give to emergency room professionals;
  • Daniel Marsh of Baton Rouge, LA, to develop an “open chair” app to help patients find a realtime dialysis center that has an immediate opening;
  • Sandeep Padala of Augusta, GA, to develop a help program for dialysis patients who are released from prison;
  • Emmett Smith of Seattle, WA, to develop a device to help with dialysis catheters;
  • Ben Studdard of Nashville, TN to create music videos to teach patients about medical terms;
  • Cher Thomas of Galveston, TX, to develop a program to link dentists with patients on the transplant waitlist;
  • Joyce Vergili of Kingston, NY, to create a device to monitor blood potassium levels.
Submissions were accepted August 1, 2019, through September 16, 2019, and patients and care partners among others were encouraged to apply to share their best ideas and innovations. The 10 winners in Category 1 will receive $4,000 each, and the 15 winners in Category 2 will receive $2,000.  All winning Category 1 and Category 2 submissions will be featured on KidneyX.org
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and more than 90 percent are unaware they have it.  1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end-stage renal disease (kidney failure).
About KidneyX
The Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX) is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) to accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases. KidneyX seeks to improve the lives of the 850,000,000 people worldwide currently affected by kidney diseases by accelerating the development of drugs, devices, biologics and other therapies across the spectrum of kidney care including prevention, diagnostics, and treatment.
Building off the success of similar public-private accelerators, KidneyX will engage a community of researchers, innovators, and investors to bring breakthrough therapies to patients through a series of prize competitions. ASN and HHS leaders are overseeing KidneyX's efforts to accelerate the pace of innovation in the development of disruptive approaches to kidney care and the development of new medical products, leading to solutions that will improve the lives of the millions of people worldwide affected by kidney diseases.. We hope you will consider joining us in this effort. For more information about KidneyX prize competitions, please visit www.kidneyx.org and follow @Kidney_X on Twitter.
About U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) enhances and protects the health and well-being of all Americans. HHS fulfills that mission by providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. For more information visit www.hhs.gov.
About American Society of Nephrology
Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has more than 21,000 members representing 131 countries. For more information, please visit www.asn-online.org or contact the society at 202-640-4660.
About the National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org
About NKF Spring Clinical Meetings
For the past 28 years, nephrology healthcare professionals from across the country have come to NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings to learn about the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice; network with colleagues; and present their research findings. The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are designed for meaningful change in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams’ skills, performance, and patient health outcomes. It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on translating science into practice for the entire healthcare team.  This year’s Spring Clinical Meetings will be a Live-Virtual Meeting due to the COVID-19 outbreak.