Tulane University Doctor to Receive Prestigious 2021 David M. Hume Memorial Award

Dec. 15, 2020, New York, NY —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 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 and the 1 in 3 people who are at risk. 

Among those honored this year will be Paul K. Whelton, MB, MD, MSc, of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, who will receive NKF’s 2021 David M. Hume Memorial Award. The award was created in memory of one of the NKF’s most distinguished members. 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 who exemplifies the high ideals of scholarship and humanitarianism in an outstanding manner. 

“It is a very special honor to receive this award,” Dr. Whelton said. “Dr. Hume was an extraordinary role model whose innovations and contributions transformed care for patients with advanced kidney disease. He was an inspiration to me and others of my generation. I feel very privileged and fortunate to receive the NKF award that bears his name.”

Dr. Whelton, is a medical graduate of University College Cork, Ireland, with a master’s degree in clinical epidemiology from University of London and a prevention research doctorate from the National University of Ireland. He spent 26 years at Johns Hopkins, where he founded the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research. Subsequently, he was Tulane University Dean, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine; Dean, School of Medicine; and Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. Later, he was President/CEO, Loyola University Health System and Medical Center before returning to Tulane as Show Chwan Health System Endowed Chair in Global Public Health.

“As an academic nephrologist on the faculty at Johns Hopkins, I was drawn to the potential of clinical epidemiology and prevention sciences to transform the care of patients with kidney disease and reduce the ever-expanding kidney disease burden in the general population,” Dr. Whelton said. “One of my earliest national presentations was at an NKF meeting and I have always had great admiration for the contributions of the organization to kidney disease patients and kidney disease professionals.”

Dr. Whelton’s interests include blood pressure-related cardiovascular/renal disease epidemiology, prevention, clinical trials, and global health. He chaired the Trials of Hypertension Prevention (TOHP), Trial of Nonpharmacologic Interventions in the Elderly (TONE), Antihypertensive and Lipid Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT), Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) and the 2017 ACC/AHA Blood Pressure Guideline Writing Committee. 

“Dr. Whelton has advanced our understanding of the epidemiology and treatment of high blood pressure and the critical role of treating high blood pressure in the prevention of kidney disease,” said NKF’s President Dr. Paul Palevsky. “Dr. Whelton is highly deserving of this award in Dr. Hume’s name. His contributions, in particular his focus on public health and his leadership of numerous studies of the treatment of high blood pressure, aligns perfectly with the standards set by Dr. Hume.”

A recipient of the AHA Population Research Prize (2007), Blood Pressure Council Excellence in Hypertension Research Award (2018), and Distinguished Scientist Award (2019), Dr. Whelton has published more than 500 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 70 books/chapters, supplements or monographs.


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: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, 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 www.kidney.org