NKF to Present Prestigious Joel D. Kopple Award to California Doctor

Connie Rhee, MD, MSc, will be honored at NKF’s 2020 Spring Clinical Meetings
New York, NY – January 22, 2020 – Each year the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) considers the work of hundreds of specialists in the field of nephrology and selects among them those who most exemplify the relentless efforts of the NKF to enhance the lives of patients through action, education and accelerating change.
Among those who will be honored at the NKF 2020 Spring Clinical Meetings in New Orleans March 25-29, will be Connie Rhee, MD, MSc, of the University of California Irvine School of Medicine. NKF will present Dr. Rhee the Joel D. Kopple Award, made to an individual who has contributed significantly to the field of renal nutrition.
“I am tremendously honored to receive this award named in recognition of Dr. Joel Kopple’s seminal contributions to the field of renal nutrition,” Dr. Rhee said. “Dr. Kopple and past recipients of the Joel D. Kopple Award have truly been major role models for me based on their pioneering work in renal nutrition and metabolism and their patient-centered approach to both research and clinical care.
“I am also deeply grateful to the National Kidney Foundation and Council of Renal Nutrition to receive this prestigious award, and for their enormous dedication and efforts to support the renal community.”
“This opportunity further inspires me to serve my patients, mentees, and colleagues as we strive together to promote the importance of nutritional management in patients with kidney disease and other metabolic complications.”
Dr. Rhee is a practicing nephrologist, physician-scientist, educator, and Assistant Professor of Medicine and Public Health at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine. Dr. Rhee pursued her clinical nephrology fellowship and postdoctoral research training at the combined Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital nephrology fellowship program, and also completed a Master of Science in Epidemiology degree program at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Rhee joined the University of California Irvine Division of Nephrology, Hypertension, and Kidney Transplantation as faculty in 2013, and she currently serves as the Division’s Director of Clinical and Translational Research; Director of Dialysis Quality Improvement and Associate Director of Outpatient Hemodialysis; Associate Fellowship Program Director; and Acting Associate Chief.
“She shows tremendous interests in nutrition and CKD, both pre-dialysis and dialysis management,” said Dr. Holly Kramer, NKF President. “She understands how important nutrition is for late stages of CKD and ESRD and that makes a difference in thousands of patients’ lives. We are grateful for her devotion to this work.”
Dr. Rhee’s research is focused on endocrine and metabolic disorders in CKD, specifically thyroid dysfunction in CKD, as well as diabetic kidney disease. Thyroid functional disease is common in CKD patients,  and has important implications on their energy metabolism, body mass, nutrition, and survival, particularly in the maintenance dialysis population.
Recently, Dr. Rhee has been working with Dr. Kalantar-Zadeh at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine, and she has been conducting renal nutrition-related research, including low protein diet implementation in CKD patients, mineral bone disorders including dietary phosphorus management, and optimal dietary patterns in dialysis patients.  
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 held March 25-29 in New Orleans.
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— and more than 90% aren’t aware of 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 kidney disease (kidney failure).
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.