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AAKP Participates in Kidney Innovation Summit at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Deborah Pelaez
Marketing & Communications Manager

AAKP Vice President Richard Knight discusses AAKP’s Veterans Health Initiative

Washington DC – On February 9-10, 2017, the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), the oldest and largest independent patient-led kidney advocacy organization, participated in the Kidney Innovation Summit at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The event was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation, the American Society of Nephrology and Booz Allen Hamilton under the auspices of their Innovation Center. AAKP participated with over 60 expert stakeholders from across the country, including Federal health program directors, professional medical organizations and patient advocates, leading experts in nephrology and top medical research institutions including George Washington University, University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, Texas A&M and the University of Washington.

“AAKP was honored to participate in this important summit, as the nation’s leading voices in nephrology collaborate to identify and explore opportunities to transform the areas of chronic kidney disease, dialysis and transplantation,” stated Richard Knight, AAKP Vice President and Chair of Public Policy, who presented at the summit. “AAKP knows full well that kidney disease has a devastating impact on patients and families and that as united community we have the power and capacity to drive innovations that will improve and extend the lives of those who suffer,” Knight added. Knight, a former Capitol Hill staffer, spent several years on hemodialysis and received kidney a transplant ten years ago.

AAKP President Paul T. Conway recognized the commitment of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs leadership to leverage private sector and non-profit experts to help drive health care transformation and innovation. “AAKP welcomes every opportunity to collaborate with Federal government, private sector and non-profit partners in a combined effort to change the status quo in kidney disease treatment, especially for our nation’s heroes. We look forward to working even more closely to support the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs through our Veterans Health Initiative and as a part of our larger national strategy to educate and engage kidney patients on how to make certain they are getting the best care possible.” Conway has managed kidney disease for thirty-six years.

AAKP worked alongside professionals at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in planning for the 2016 White House Organ Summit and recently partnered with CareerEco Virtual Events to offer a virtual education fair allowing veterans, active duty personnel, and dependents to connect with over 45 graduate schools in the Yellow Ribbon Program to discuss programs, admissions criteria, and military educational benefits.  AAKP will be issuing a white paper in 2017 aimed at educating policy-makers and kidney patients on the importance of staying employed, including while on dialysis, and avoiding disability when possible.

AAKP is involved with several other non-profit and private sector organizations committed to educating, at no cost, veterans and their families on employers and universities with job and educational opportunities that align with their veteran benefits and entitlements. AAKP is proud to count thousands of veterans and their families as members, including AAKP Board Member and kidney transplant recipient Dave White, a veteran of the U.S. Army. White is a recipient of the AAKP National Patient Engagement and Advocacy Award and serves as the interim chair of the Kidney Health Initiative’s Patient and Family Partnership Council.

The Veterans Health Initiative builds upon the AAKP’s national strategy for patient engagement and is driven out of its Center for Patient Engagement and Advocacy.   The Center’s guiding principles are: 1) Elevate patient voice in national policy debates and throughout drug, diagnostic and device development; 2) Protect the unique relationship between patients and their doctors; 3) Educate patients and preserve their choices as informed consumers of healthcare; 4) Maintain AAKP independence in all national policy and operational decisions; and 5) Operate on the policy of “no surprises” among trusted allies and government officials.

AAKP is bipartisan in their relationships and non-partisan in their operations.  Within the Executive Branch, AAKP works closely with Federal agencies with both direct indirect impact on health and kidney policy. These agencies the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Assistance (CMS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the CMS Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation (CMMI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Within the U.S. Congress, AAKP elevates kidney disease policy issues with individual Senators and Congressional leaders, key Senate and House Committees as well as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

For more information about AAKP and its programs, visit www.aakp.org or call 1-800-749-2257.


Founded in 1969, AAKP is the largest and oldest independent kidney patient organization in America. Governed by a patient-majority Board of Directors, AAKP conducts national education programs designed to better inform kidney patients, care-givers and policy-makers about the true impacts of kidney disease, prevention efforts and treatment methods. AAKP publishes RenalLife Magazine which has a circulation of over 20,000 and appears in over 5,000 dialysis centers. The organization executes a national advocacy strategy in conjunction with allied kidney organizations designed to insert the patient voice into proposed policies, research efforts and care deliberations before the Executive Branch and the U.S. Congress.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title="Download Release" color="black" link="url:https%3A%2F%2Faakp.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F02%2FUS-Department-of-Veterans-Affairs-02-2017.pdf||target:%20_blank|"][/vc_column][/vc_row]