Celeste Lee Award

Glenda V. Roberts

Patient Activist

This award was established in honor of Celeste Castillo Lee, a longtime advocate for patient-centered care and empowerment.  It is the highest honor given by the National Kidney Foundation to a distinguished kidney patient who exemplifies NKF’s mission and Celeste’s legacy of putting patients at the center of all aspects of healthcare through their involvement with NKF and community partners.


Glenda V. Roberts has first-hand knowledge of the challenges faced by people living with kidney diseases. For four decades she slowed the progression of her disease using diet and exercise. After experiencing hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis in 2010, she received a transplant. 


A seasoned Information Technology executive who worked for Fortune 100 companies, in 2018, she joined the University of Washington Center for Dialysis Innovation and the Kidney Research Institute as the Director of External Relations & Patient Engagement. Her role expanded to include Chief Operations and Strategy Officer for UW’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Center for Transformative Research. 


A passionate patient activist, Glenda’s involved in myriad regional, national, and international, transformative kidney health initiatives and patient advisory groups. She was one of two patients on the revolutionary National Kidney Foundation(NKF) – American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Taskforce Reassessing the Use of Race in Diagnosing Kidney Disease. Glenda involved in myriad kidney-related  initiatives, including the Kidney Precision Medicine Project, APOLLO, the Kidney Health Initiative Board of Directors,  numerous NKF committees/ working groups and she’s author/co-author of  35+ publications, This Kidney Week 2021 Celeste Castillo Lee Memorial Lecturer received the 2022 ASN President’s Medal, and the US President’s Volunteer Service Awards in 2020 and 2022.  


Glenda lives in Woodinville, Washington with her supportive husband, Calvin Sturdivant.


View full press release here

Past Celeste Lee Award Recipients:

  • 2023: Maria Elena Grijalva 
  • 2022: Cari Maxwell
  • 2021: Curtis Warfield
  • 2020: Erich Ditschman
  • 2019: Mary Baliker
  • 2018: Risa Simon
  • 2017: Derek L. Forfang