NKF Taps VA, Yale Nephrologist with Hume Award

March 7, 2022, New York, NY — The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) takes time out of the annual NKF Spring Clinical Meetings, 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 Hume award is the highest honor given by the Foundation 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 (VA) 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. 

“One of my duties I most enjoy as the president of NKF is to award the David M. Hume award, especially to this year’s winner Dr. Crowley,” said NKF President Paul Palevsky, MD. “I have worked closely with Dr. Crowley for many years and am thrilled that she is being recognized for all that she does for individuals with kidney disease, and particularly for her advocacy for the care Veterans with kidney disease. Susan exemplifies the same dedication as Dr. Hume was and I can think of no one better to be named as this year’s winner.”

Dr. Crowley is an experienced Site Private Investigator (PI) and Planning and Steering Committee member for VA Cooperative Studies targeting kidney disease. She serves on the Data and Safety Monitoring Board for a National Institute of Health (NIH) funded pragmatic trial in chronic kidney disease (CKD) management and as Co-PI for National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) HOPE study examining novel chronic pain interventions for people undergoing hemodialysis. Dr. Crowley contributes to the redesign of kidney health services that aim to improve the lives of people with kidney disease.

“I am grateful for being surrounded by wonderful colleagues and for the privilege of caring for our nation’s Veterans,” Dr. Crowley said. “Kidney medicine is broad and seemingly all-encompassing. Practicing it requires a holistic perspective and approach to the care of people with kidney disease. 

“My nephrology career in the Veteran Health Administration has been enriched by the opportunity to reflect on the ideals of healthcare,” she said. “By practicing in a health system where socioeconomic disparities are mitigated, long-term affordability is the rule, quality care is broadly accessible, and advocacy for the patient’s best interest is a welcome obligation. I‘ve become convinced that healthcare, including comprehensive kidney healthcare, must be a common good for all.”

Dr. Crowley manages the delivery of kidney health services to Veterans locally and advises VA executive leadership on national policy to promote best practices in the care of Veterans with kidney disease.

She has expertise in dialytic therapy and in driving national safety initiatives for the end-stage renal disease (ESRD) population. She is the co-chair of the VA Kidney Health Committee, which fosters broad collaboration between VA operational and policy offices. Dr. Crowley also established and leads the VA Nephrology Community of Practice Network, comprised of VA nephrology and dialysis nurse manager leaders from the 125 VA facilities (74 VA outpatient dialysis units) offering kidney health services. 

“I would like to express my gratitude to the NKF not only for this extraordinary award, but for the organization’s support throughout my career,” Dr. Crowley said. “As a National Kidney Foundation Fellow, I benefited from the tutelage of the incomparable Dr. Detlef Schlondorff, who taught me among many things, the value of research, resilience, resourcefulness, and to embrace the path less taken. I am also grateful to my local NKF affiliate- the NKF of Connecticut- where I cut my teeth in executive skills training and recognized the critical role of non-profit partnerships and private sector philanthropy in the acceleration of medical discovery.” 

“In addition to colleagues across the VA and at my academic home at Yale, I am grateful to the Veteran patients who have entrusted me with their care, and with altruism and alacrity supported VA kidney research for the benefit of the broader kidney community,” Dr. Crowley said. 

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