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AAKP President Paul T. Conway Selected to Serve on OPTN/UNOS Kidney Transplant Committee


April 3, 2017                                               

Deborah Pelaez
Marketing and Communications Manager
dpelaez@aakp.org / (813) 400-2394

AAKP President Paul T. Conway Selected to Serve on OPTN/UNOS Kidney Transplant Committee 

Conway offers decades of public policy experience in an effort to help meet both new and existing challenges in organ transplantation and increase transplant and survival rates for patients

Washington D.C. – Today, the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), the oldest independent patient-led kidney advocacy organization, announced Paul T. Conway, AAKP President, has been selected to serve on the OPTN/UNOS Kidney Transplantation Committee. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) serves as the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation. The OPTN brings together leading medical professionals, transplant recipients and donor families to develop the nation’s organ transplantation policy.

With the primary focus on patients, the goals of the OPTN are to increase the number of and access to transplants, improve survival rates after transplantation, and to promote patient safety and efficient management of the system. The Kidney Transplantation Committee’s responsibilities include policy development, research and data analysis educational and information projects, and providing input and advice to the board of directors and other relevant committees. The appointment is a three-year term beginning on July 1, 2017 and extending to June 2020.

“It is an incredible honor to be selected to serve on the OPTN/UNOS Kidney Transplantation Committee. The work this committee does to directly and indirectly increase both access to and the number of organ transplants has immediate and long-term effects on the lives of patients, their loved one and their caregivers,” stated Conway. “The opportunities we currently have to offer patients more hope by shortening the waiting list while simultaneously increasing safety for each and every kidney patient should be a focus for every individual committed to greater improvements in and patient outcomes from our health care system.”

More than 118,000 people in the U.S. are waiting to receive a life-saving organ transplant. The OPTN is a public-private partnership that connects professionals involved in the extensive U.S. donation and transplantation system. Individuals who sign organ donor cards, people who comment on policy proposals and countless volunteers who support donation and transplantation are a critical part of this network. The OPTN creates policies that govern operation of all member transplant hospitals, organ procurement organizations (OPOs) and histocompatibility labs in the U.S. and include allocation policy for each organ.

Conway seeks to use his issue-specific and broad policy development and implementation expertise in service to the mission of this important committee. Currently, Conway serves as the President of AAKP and as a board member on both the Kidney Health Initiative (a U.S. Food and Drug Administration/American Society of Nephrology public private collaborative) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) contracted End Stage Renal Network 5 Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition. As a kidney patient, Conway has managed kidney disease for thirty-six years, including more than two years on dialysis and, for the past nineteen years, as a kidney transplant recipient.

Conway has an expansive career in public service, including service under four U.S. presidents and three governors and multiple political transitions. His federal posts have included Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, an agency Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and as a Special Assistant in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

In addition, Conway has served the Commonwealth of Virginia as the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources and as an appointed member of the Board of Health Professions and the Commonwealth Protection Panel, a board charged with homeland security planning and coordination. Conway has also served as an external reviewer of Virginia health and disability agencies and key initiatives including public health and mental health modernization.

As a patient advocacy leader and policy professional, Conway has used his extensive knowledge of executive branch agencies and congressional process to elevate an independent patient voice on issues ranging from innovations in medical treatment and devices, improved access to treatment modalities, provider payment models, quality of care and quality measurements and ratings.  He deals extensively with Congressional leaders and their staffs as well as Federal appointed and career civil service officials across the Federal government including the White House, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 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), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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. In the 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.