NKF Honors Standouts in Kidney Health at Annual Conference

March 31, 2022, New York, NY — Every year, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) takes time out of the annual NKF Spring Clinical Meetings (SCM), one of the largest gatherings of kidney care professionals in America, to recognize standout professionals who most exemplify the relentless efforts of NKF to enhance the lives of patients through action, education, and accelerating change. 

Their work is vital to the 37 million adults in the U.S. who are affected by kidney disease, the 33 million people who don’t know they already have the disease, and the 1 in 3 people who are at risk. 

The 2022 SCM Award Recipients

Susan T. Crowley, MD, MBA, FASN, FNKF: The Hume award is the highest honor given by NKF to a distinguished scientist-clinician in the field of kidney and urologic diseases. It is bestowed upon an individual with the highest ideals of scholarship and humanitarianism in an outstanding manner. This year’s winner of this prestigious honor is Susan T. Crowley, MD, MBA, FASN, FNKF, a board-certified professor of medicine (Nephrology) at Yale University School of Medicine and national program director for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) kidney disease and Dialysis Program. 

“I am deeply honored to accept the National Kidney Foundation’s David M. Hume award and do so on behalf of the community of kidney health professionals in the Veterans Health Administration (VA,) which I am privileged to lead,” Dr. Crowley said. “Created to immortalize the humanism and scholarship of Dr. Hume’s life’s work as a kidney clinician-scientist, the award seems especially appropriate to share with my VA colleagues, who strive to optimize the kidney health of our nation’s Veterans via patient-centered care and scientific discovery in kidney and urologic disease.”

Dr. Crowley is field based at VA Connecticut Healthcare System and serves as the chief of the VA Renal Section within Medical Services. Her expertise is in the care of people with advanced kidney disease and in its treatment with renal replacement therapy. 

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, (Connecticut 3rd District): NKF will honor Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro with the 2022 Public Service Award for her dedicated efforts in public policy to improve the nation’s health care and focused efforts to improve outcomes for kidney patients.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the 2022 Public Service Award from the National Kidney Foundation,” Congresswoman DeLauro said. “This means a great deal to me. I do not take this as a reward for what I have done before. I take it as a call to continue fighting to help make a difference in the lives of families across our country. “

Congresswoman DeLauro serves as the chair of the House Appropriations Committee and sits on the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. She is the chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, where she oversees our nation’s investments in education, health, and employment.

Cheyenne Fasce, BSN, RN: The Council of Nephrology Nurses and Technicians has created an honor in the name of Carol Mattix, a home dialysis training nurse of the last century who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of kidney patients. The 2022 recipient is Cheyenne Fasce, BSN, RN, pediatric hemodialysis & peritoneal dialysis nurse, nurse trainer DCI at Upstate University Hospital, Syracuse, NY. She receives this award for unwaveringly advocating for her patients, consistently seeking ways to improve their lives, and spreading awareness about pediatric kidney disease. 

“I am passionate about kidney health and kidney disease simply because I have seen how devastating its effects can be on patients and their families,” Fasce said. “Pediatrics have a special place in my heart because I am a mother and imagining how difficult it must be to have a child with a life-altering, incurable illness drives me to do all that I can to help.” 

With more than 11 years’ experience working as a nurse, Cheyenne found her true calling when she began working with dialysis patients. Over the past five years, she has worked with those with acute and chronic kidney disease, both pediatric and adult cases. Her persistence and hard work have allowed her to help patients in unique ways. 

Jennifer E. Flythe, MD, MPH: Since 1996, NKF has been presenting the Shaul G. Massry Distinguished Lecture in honor of Dr. Massry for his scientific achievements and contributions to kidney health care and NKF and this year’s recipient is Jennifer E. Flythe, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and vice chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. 

“Dr. Massry has made enormous contributions to the kidney community – in discovery, education, advocacy, and leadership – and I am incredibly honored to have been selected to give his namesake lecture at the NKF annual meeting. I’m speechless actually,” Dr. Flythe said. “My relationships with patients – in the realms of clinical care, research, and advocacy – fuel my passion for kidney health and inspire me to seek innovative approaches to improving the health and well-being of people affected by kidney disease.”     

Dr. Flythe serves as vice chief of the UNC Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and director of dialysis services for UNC Hospitals. Her research aims to improve the safety and experiences of individuals living with kidney disease by bettering patient-reported and biomedical outcomes. 

Haewook Han, PhD, RD, LDN, FNKF: Boston Renal Nutrition Specialist, Haewook Han, PhD, RD, LDN, FNKF, is the 2022 recipient of the Dr. Joel Kopple award, which is given annually at NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings to those who make a significant contribution in the field of renal nutrition. 

Dr. Han is at Atrius Health’s Department of Nephrology and Tufts Medical Center, Boston and is a pioneering researcher in renal nutrition and past President of NKF as well as chair of the work group that developed the original Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) clinical practice guideline on Nutrition in Chronic Renal Failure.  

“I am honored to contribute my work to the field of renal nutrition and research,” Han said. “I feel that it is my lifetime achievement. I credit this award to the many people I have worked with in the past and present, including Tufts Medical Center’s Dr. Johanna Dwyer, Ms. Kelly Kane, Dr. Ronald Perrone, Division Nephrology at Tufts, Atrius Health’s Dr. Bradley Denker, Nephrology Team and of course my family, including my late parents who supported me throughout my life and my sister, Jiwon and her husband, Michael.”

She is the program director of the Master of Science/Dietetic Internship program at the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University and is involved in several renal research projects with students. She works with the renal teams at both Atrius and Tufts Medical Center to provide appropriate diet education for all renal patients and teach young dietitians and graduate students.  

Bernard Jaar, MD: The Garabed Eknoyan Award was created to recognize an individual who has promoted the mission of NKF in making lives better for people with kidney disease through exceptional contributions to key initiatives of NKF such as the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) or clinical research in the field of kidney disease. This year’s recipient is Bernard Jaar, MD, of the Nephrology Center of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

“It is an extraordinary privilege to be recognized with this award in honor of Dr. Eknoyan, a giant in the field of nephrology,” Dr. Jaar said. “I am very thankful to the NKF for this recognition. I would like to dedicate this award to my mentors—people who have helped shape my career and opened doors to new opportunities.”

Dr. Jaar is a practicing nephrologist on the part-time Faculty in the Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine with Joint Appointment in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is also an Associate Faculty member of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. He practices medicine at the Nephrology Center of Maryland in Baltimore.

 Cari Maxwell, kidney patient: This year’s Celeste Castillo Lee Patient Engagement Award, which was established in honor of Celeste Castillo Lee, a longtime chair of NKF’s Patient and Family Council and leading advocate for patient-centered care and empowerment, goes to Cari Maxwell of Lancaster, PA, a member of the National Kidney Foundation's Kidney Advocacy Committee, and champion for patient education, early detection, and patient-centered clinical research. 

Cari was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) in 1989. Through healthy living, she managed her disease on her own for many years following the example of her father, who experienced ESRD in the early 1980s. A registered organ donor provided a near-perfect matching kidney to him, and that gift of life granted Cari and her family 31 additional years with him before he passed away in October of 2018.  

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honor,” Cari said. “It's truly humbling to be recognized among the other fantastic advocates who have received this award. It validates our collective hard work and dedication to those living with kidney disease, their caregivers, and those we've lost to kidney disease.”

Advancements in treatment for PKD patients are very close to Cari’s heart, not only for herself but also for her two siblings and oldest child, who have ADPKD. She was fortunate to be able to participate in the clinical trial for the first-ever FDA-approved treatment for PKD – a treatment she still benefits from today.

Sumit Mohan, MD, MPH: NKF’s recipient of the Excellence in Transplantation Award, which recognizes the scientist or clinician scientist whose exceptional research has contributed novel insights to improved access to kidney transplantation, is Columbia University’s Sumit Mohan, MD, MPH. 

Dr. Mohan’s research findings have informed federal public policy affecting patients with kidney disease, improved access to outpatient dialysis for people with acute kidney injury, caused the withdrawal of some regulatory measures with unintended consequences for transplant centers and aided ongoing efforts to lower waste of deceased-donor kidneys in the United States.

“I am honored to accept the excellence in kidney transplantation award from NKF, particularly given the contributions of the previous winners of this award in kidney transplantation,” Dr. Mohan said. “This award represents a recognition of the efforts of my colleagues, collaborators, and my team. Together, we continue to work to reduce disparities in care and contribute to the field of kidney transplantation by improving access to care, long-term outcomes and advocating for public policies that benefit patients with kidney disease.”

Dr. Mohan is an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University, the director of clinical research in the Division of Nephrology, and the director of quality and outcomes research for the transplant initiative at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

J. Kevin Tucker, MD: NKF evaluates the work of those who dedicate their careers to the 37 million adults in the United States affected by kidney disease and selects among them the educator, researcher, and clinical nephrologist to receive the prestigious Donald W. Seldin Award. 

The award was established to recognize excellence in the tradition of one of the foremost teachers and researchers in the field, the late Dr. Seldin who was known as the intellectual father of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The award will be presented at the NKF Spring Clinicals Meeting in April to J. Kevin Tucker, MD, of Massachusetts.  

“It is one of the highlights of my career as a nephrologist and an educator to receive this award named in honor of one of the luminaries in the field and to join such a distinguished group of colleagues who have received this award over the years,” Dr. Tucker said. “Kidney disease disproportionately affects people of color and economically disadvantaged populations. I am passionate about providing care to these populations and working to eliminate disparities.” 

Dr. Tucker is vice-president for education at Mass General Brigham and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also co-director of Harvard Medical School’s Master’s in Clinical Service Operations program. His clinical appointment is at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he focuses on the management of chronic kidney disease patients, hemodialysis patients, and peritoneal dialysis patients. He was named program director for the Brigham and Women’s Hospital-Massachusetts General Hospital Nephrology Program in 2007 and served in that capacity for 10 years. 

Daniel E. Weiner, MD: Daniel E. Weiner, MD, a nephrologist at Tufts Medical Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, will be presented the award in honor of Dr. J. Michael Lazarus Award for his major contribution to the clinical science and care of dialysis patients. 

“Dr. Lazarus is one of the leaders in making dialysis safer and widely available to people with kidney failure in the United States,” Dr. Weiner said. “So, to receive this award, is an amazing honor. This award highlights how far we, as a community, have come in improving kidney care but it also highlights how much more we can do to help people with kidney disease be able to achieve their life goals.” 

Dr. Weiner’s clinical interests include home and in-center dialysis, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease (CKD). His research has focused on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease in CKD; clinical trials in CKD, dialysis, and hypertension; decision-making in advanced CKD; and policy. He works closely with the American Society of Nephrology on kidney disease policy. He is DCI's medical director of clinical research, and he is the editor-in-chief of the NKF's journal, Kidney Medicine, and the NKF's Primer on Kidney Diseases, the 8th edition of which will be published in early 2022.

  Amy Wilson, MD: NKF highlights the work of a kidney health professional for their community service and educational activities in promoting NKF’s mission on a local level and presents that person with the Medical Advisory Board Distinguished Service Award.  

This year, NKF presents this award to Amy Wilson, MD, of Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Children’s Hospital. Dr. Wilson is a pediatric nephrologist, a National Kidney Foundation of Indiana (NKFI) medical advisory board member, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a member of the AAP Section of Nephrology Executive Committee. 

Dr. Wilson joined the faculty at Indiana University in the division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension in 2010, after completing pediatrics residency and pediatric nephrology fellowship training at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. She earned her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She earned her Master of Science degree in clinical research at the University of Cincinnati.  

NKF Spring Clinical Meetings

For the past 30 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 event will be held in Boston, April 6-10.

About Kidney Disease

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People of Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black/African American people are more than 3 times as likely as White people to have kidney failure.  Hispanics/Latinos are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.

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.  

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.