Recognized Renal Dietitian Award

Karen Greathouse, RD, CCTD

University of Michigan Health System

Karen earned her BS in Dietetics from Mercy College of Detroit’s Coordinated Undergraduate Program in 1986. She fell in love with renal nutrition during her renal rotation and soon began her career as a clinical dietitian. Over her career she has held roles in food service, in long-term care, and in both inpatient and outpatient settings.


In 1994, Karen accepted an opportunity to work in a dialysis unit at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. There, she rediscovered her passion for renal nutrition! She carried that passion forward when she worked as an outpatient dietitian educating people on diabetes and CKD. Karen later returned to dialysis in 2002 at Gambro Dialysis then later at DaVita. In 2014, she left dialysis to become the kidney/pancreas transplant dietitian at the University of Michigan.


Over the years, Karen has built a strong knowledge base and has held leadership roles at both the local and national level of CRN. Notably serving as the Michigan chair for 3-years (2014-2017), region 3 representative for 2-years (2017 to 2020), chair-elect, chair, and immediate past chair (2020 to 2023). She has also presented to the Michigan Council of Renal Nutrition having spoken on topics including transplant, weight loss, and diabetes; as well as being a faculty panel speaker at the 2020 NKF Spring Clinical Meeting discussing weight loss and transplant.


Karen loves to share her knowledge and is devoted to educating healthcare professionals about changes to the kidney diet. She is involved with the Nutrition Education Committee and has developed new handouts while updating existing handouts on the NKF website. Specifically, she has worked diligently in bringing about the Superfood handouts and the “New Normal” handout for people new to dialysis. Karen’s continued contributions include taking part in NKF podcasts focused on health literacy and nutrition & transplant, along with serving as faculty for the NKF Nutrition and Diabetes CKD education series for primary care physicians. She takes pride in being an active member of the planning committee for the soon-to-be-released NKF nutrition app and is enthusiastically involved with NKF of Michigan as a participant in kidney walks and the kidney path program.