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June 13, 2018

Deborah Pelaez,


Key Influencers in Policy, Science, Medicine and Federal Civil Service Recognized

Tampa, FL – The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) formally announced 2018 recipients of their highly competitive national awards. AAKP is the nation’s oldest and largest independent kidney patient organization and works across the renal community, alongside the private sector and research community and within the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch to advance greater innovation and to increase the availability of life-saving treatments for kidney disease.

AAKP’s awards encompass three major categories: The first includes Legacy Awards – awards that AAKP has extended to organizations and individuals for several decades. The second category encompasses Patient Engagement and Advocacy Awards – awards created over the course of the past several years through AAKP’s Center for Patient Engagement and Advocacy as a means of recognizing the increased influence patients have on national policy-makers and healthcare deliberations and the third category – Public Service and Congressional Awards recognize Federal policy-makers and association representatives who make a transformative impact on kidney policy and care through the course of their career.

“Our national strategy to positively impact patient outcomes, drive innovation and protect patient choice in treatment options has been successful due to the unwavering support of America’s finest influencers in kidney health policy and care. AAKP national awards recognize individuals who are personally committed to substantive patient engagement and the fundamental right of patients to make a choice on what treatment best aligns to their individual aspirations,” stated Paul T. Conway, President of AAKP and a twenty-one year kidney transplant recipient.

The awards were presented at the 2018 AAKP National Patient Meeting, the largest kidney patient meeting in America, June 8-10, 2018 in St. Petersburg Florida http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/medicine/In-St-Pete-kidney-patients-gather-for-science-and-solidarity_168980006 . Over 200 people attended the meeting in person and others attended online, meeting sessions can be watched on YouTube at any time.

Legacy Awards

President’s Award

Mr. Tod Ibrahim, Executive Director, American Society of Nephrology

Samuel J. Orenstein Award

Joyce Jackson, President and CEO, Northwest Kidney Centers

Peter Lundin, MD Award

Samh Abul-Ezz, MD (posthumous)

Lifetime Academic and Professional Achievement Award

Stephen Fadem, MD, FASN, FACP; Chairperson of AAKP Medical Advisory Board; and AAKP Historian

Dominick Gentile, MD Memorial Award

Quality Insights Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition

Kidney Patient Support Group of the Year

All Kidney Patients Support Group

Patient Engagement and Advocacy Awards

National Social Media Education and Advocacy Award*

William Murray, AAKP National Board Member and Ambassador (posthumous)

*(renamed in honor of Bill Murray to the National Patient Voice Award)

National Patient Engagement and Advocacy Award

Patrick Gee, PhD, AAKP National Ambassador

Brian Hess, AAKP National Board Member

Public Service and Congressional Awards

National Public Service Award

Elena Balovlenkov, MS, RN, CHN, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Robert Star, MD, National Institute of Health, Section Chief, Renal Diagnostics and Therapeutics UnitKidney Diseases Branch

Congressional Advocacy Award

Peggy Tighe, Principal, Powers law firm and representative of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons

Rachel Meyer, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, American Society of Nephrology


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 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.

Follow AAKP on social media at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kidneypatient

Twitter and Instagram: @kidneypatients