National Kidney Foundation Honors FDA Deputy Director for Public Service

Dr. Aliza Thompson to be honored at 2021 Spring Clinical Meetings for her work in kidney health

April, 2, 2021, New York, NY —Each year, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) highlights the work of a kidney health professional who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to public service and who has significantly contributed to public policies or government programs that improve outcomes for kidney patients.

The NKF Public Service Award is presented at the foundation’s annual Spring Clinical Meetings, which will be held virtually again this year, and will go to Dr. Aliza Thompson, Deputy Director of the Division of Cardiology and Nephrology, at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Division of Cardiology and Nephrology regulates and reviews Investigational New Drug applications and marketing applications for drug and biologic products for the treatment of cardiovascular and kidney diseases. Dr. Thompson joined the FDA in 2007.

“It’s a tremendous honor to receive this award,” Dr. Thompson said. “I thank the NKF for this honor and the important work it is doing to facilitate drug development for kidney diseases and ensure that the patient voice remains at the center of the drug development process.”

“During my training, I spent a lot of time in an outpatient dialysis unit,” Dr. Thompson said. “I often think of the patients and staff at that unit. We need safe and effective treatments to slow the progression of kidney disease and prevent progression to kidney failure. We also need better treatments for people who have progressed to kidney failure.”

 “Successful drug development takes a village and patients need to be at the center of the process,” Dr. Thompson said. “Moving forward, we need to find ways to make clinical trial participation less burdensome for patients and their health care providers. I think we also need to do a better job of adopting clinical trial enrollment and retention practices that enhance inclusiveness so that our clinical trials better reflect the population most likely to use a drug if it is approved.”

“Dr. Thompson has been a steadfast advocate for advancing the care of individuals with kidney disease through her work at the Food and Drug Administration,” said NKF President Paul Palevsky, MD. “I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Thompson on multiple occasions and appreciate all that she does to advance the development of safe and effective treatments for patients with acute and chronic kidney disease. We are grateful for Dr. Thompson’s work.”

Prior to her current position, Dr. Thompson served as a clinical team leader for products being developed to treat kidney diseases. Dr. Thompson received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins Medical School and completed her Internal Medicine and Nephrology training at Columbia University, New York-Presbyterian Hospital.  She holds a Master of Science in Biostatistics/Patient Oriented Research Track from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

“This has been a challenging time for so many,” Dr. Thompson said. “The Spring Clinical Meetings are a great opportunity to reconnect, learn from each other, celebrate our successes as a community, and discuss what more needs to be done to improve the lives of people living with kidney disease.”


NKF Spring Clinical Meetings 

For the past 29 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 held virtually April 6-10.  

NKF Professional Membership 

Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources for both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease.            

Kidney Disease Facts

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. is at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People who are Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black or African American people are almost 4 times more likely than Whites to have kidney failure. Hispanic or Latino people are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic or non-Latino people to have kidney failure.

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