Excellence in Kidney Transplantation Award

Tanjala Purnell, PhD, MPH

Johns Hopkins University 

This award was established to recognize a scientist or clinician scientist whose exceptional research has contributed novel insights in or resulted in improved access to kidney transplantation. The award embodies the dedication of the National Kidney Foundation to help people navigate the challenges of kidney disease, organ donation and transplantation. 


Tanjala S. Purnell, PhD, MPH, FASN is an epidemiologist and health services researcher with over a decade of experience focused on promoting equity in kidney health, transplantation, and organ donation in the United States. She is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Surgery at Johns Hopkins University, where she serves as Director of Education for the Brancati Center for the Advancement of Community Care; Executive Director of the Health Freedom Path to Wellness Program; Co-Director of the Investigator Development Core at the Mid-Atlantic Center for Cardiometabolic Health Equity; and Founding Director of the Faith-Based Alliance for Kidney Health Equity and The B.O.L.D. Health Equity Initiative. She has received several national and international research honors and has published findings from her work in leading medical journals, including JAMA, Health Affairs, American Journal of Kidney Diseases, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, and American Journal of Transplantation. She is the recipient of multiple Teaching Excellence Awards from Johns Hopkins University.


Nationally, Dr. Purnell is the Immediate Past Chair of the American Society for Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and was the inaugural recipient of the ASTS Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. Dr. Purnell is also a member of the Board of Directors for the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP), a member of the Governing Board for the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, and a member of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Transplant Advisory Committee.


View press release here


Past Excellence in Transplantation Award Recipients:

  • 2022: Sumit Mohan, MD, MPH
  • 2021: Krista Lentine, MD, PhD
  • 2020: Gabriel Danovitch, MD
  • 2019: Matthew Cooper, MD