FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
November 2, 2017
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NEW ORLEANS, LA – The leadership of the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), President Paul T. Conway and Vice President and Chair of Public Policy Richard Knight, were honored together as recipients of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) 2017 President’s Medal. The Medal was presented by ASN President Eleanor D. Lederer, MD, FASN in New Orleans at Kidney Week, the world’s premier and largest nephrology meeting on November 2, 2017.
“Both gentlemen are tireless, effective champions passionate about raising public awareness for kidney diseases,” said ASN President Eleanor D. Lederer, MD, FASN. “Their contributions to the ASN mission in the advocacy and policy arenas are substantial and consequential, specifically regarding the Kidney Health Initiative, Nephrologists Transforming Dialysis Safety, and annual congressional visits.”
Conway and Knight were recognized for significantly bettering the lives of the 40 million Americans affected by kidney diseases through their years of leadership in numerous patient organizations, in support of professional medical associations, and their encouragement of greater patient engagement with the Federal government and the United States Congress. Mr. Conway has managed kidney disease for the past 37 years, including two years of peritoneal dialysis and, for the past 20 years, with a kidney transplant that he received in 1997 from a non-living donor via life-saving transplant surgery at the Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia (VCU/MCV) Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.
Mr. Knight has been dealing with renal disease since 1996. He was diagnosed in 2004 as a mid-career professional, and after two years of hemodialysis, he received his life-saving kidney transplant surgery at the Washington Hospital Transplant Center in Washington, D.C.
Prior ASN President’s Medal recipients have included Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino and former Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington state in recognition of their respective roles as Co-Chairs of the U.S. Congressional Kidney Caucus and their efforts as champions of kidney-related legislation. Comedian and ABC and HBO television star George Lopez, a kidney transplant recipient, has also received the ASN President’s Medal for his efforts to raise awareness about kidney disease and the need for more organ donors.
“Paul T. Conway and Richard Knight are tireless advocates for the millions of people with kidney diseases, their families, and their caregivers,” said ASN Executive Vice President Tod Ibrahim. “This dynamic duo takes every opportunity to raise awareness about kidney diseases among the public, policymakers, politicians, and the press. In addition, they help lead the kidney community’s efforts to advocate for the highest quality care possible—including increased funding for kidney research—among the legislative and regulatory branches of the U.S. government.”
Established in 1966, and with more than 17,000 members from around the globe, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) is the world’s largest organization of kidney health professionals. ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients.
Upon acceptance of the award, AAKP President Paul T. Conway said “The ASN President’s Medal is recognized throughout the world and among kidney professionals as a distinct and high professional honor, and I am sincerely humbled by the decision of ASN leadership. Every life has purpose and meaning and I am forever grateful to the brave organ donor whose selfless act saved my life. The fight to advance policies that facilitate, as opposed to inhibit, innovations aimed at aiding kidney patients is noble because the pre-existing and chronic conditions they suffer interfere with the innate human desire to pursue opportunity and to achieve aspiration.”
Richard Knight stated, “I am humbled and honored to receive the President’s Medal from ASN. This award represents the gold standard all over the world for service to renal patients. I am blessed with an excellent quality of life because of the work done by the professionals within ASN. I am grateful to be able to contribute to the improvement in the life of the millions of patients who suffer from this disease. We are all focused on making patient centered care a reality. The professionals within the healthcare community are dedicated to helping patients exceed the limits placed on them by this disease. I can do no less. We must go forward together – ASN’s leadership truly matters.”
Under Conway and Knight’s leadership, AAKP has greatly expanded its national reach and capacity to positively impact public policies through the creation of the Center for Patient Engagement and Advocacy and the Center for Patient Research and Education. The two centers leverage AAKP national relationships with key influencers and facilitate greater online and grassroots patient involvement in policy, government, patient-centric innovation efforts, clinical trials, focus groups and research studies. AAKP has emerged as a key ally and central player for professional medical societies, providers, developers and researchers seeking to involve more patients in the design of new diagnostics, devices and biologics.
Paul T. Conway – AAKP President
Mr. Conway is a Virginia resident and alumnus of the University of Maine and maintains deep roots in Maine. As a national policy and communications consultant, he combines his patient experience with a substantial career in national and state public service and advocacy. He has served under four U.S. presidents and three governors and in support of five presidential transitions. He was recently named by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the Chair of the new FDA Patient Engagement and Advocacy Committee (PEAC) and just appointed by the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) as a Patient Voice Editor. His past Federal posts includes service as a Chief of Staff at both the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and as an agency Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At DHS, he was awarded the DHS Secretary’s Silver Medal by former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff for exceptionally meritorious service to America. He has also worked as a Special Assistant in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and in several appointed posts in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources. He serves as a board member in multiple patient and consumer groups including the Kidney Health Initiative (KHI), the United Network for Organ Sharing Kidney Committee (UNOS) the Center for Dialysis Innovation (CDI) at the University of Washington is the Chair of the national Patient Access to Pain Relief Coalition (PAPR). He has co-chaired several technical evaluation panels on health quality measures and metrics for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Richard Knight, MBA – AAKP Vice President and Chair of Public Policy
Mr. Knight is a Maryland resident and an alumnus of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and Hampton University. He is a Washington, DC, area small business owner and consultant for healthcare organizations and health-related organizations and businesses. In addition to his experience as a kidney patient and transplant recipient, Mr. Knight has a deep background in public policy. He was recently appointed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH/National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Advisory Council and the Steering Committee of the NIDDK Kidney Precision Medicine Project (KPMP). His past policy roles have included posts on Capitol Hill where including service as a legislative director, a liaison to the Congressional Black Caucus and as a legislative and communications strategist. He has served on numerous Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) technical evaluation panels, including CMS’s panel focusing on Emergency Department Hospital Readmissions. He is a founding member of the End Stage Renal Disease Health Information Technology Project administered by the National Renal Administrators Association and the End Stage Renal Disease Forum. Among his other council positions, Mr. Knight’s most recent appointments are to the National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Advisory Council and the Steering Committee of the NIDDK Kidney Precision Medicine Project.
Founded in 1969, AAKP is the largest and oldest independent kidney patient advocacy and education organization in America. Governed by a patient-majority Board of Directors, AAKP conducts national education programs designed to better inform kidney patients and policy-makers about the true impacts of kidney disease. AAKP executes a national advocacy strategy to raise the patient voice before the Executive Branch and the U.S. Congress. Tax-deductible contributions can be made through AAKP’s website, www.aakp.org.
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