JUNE 6-10, 2022

Welcoming Remarks from the American Kidney Fund

2:00 p.m. ET

LaVarne A. Burton

President & Chief Executive Officer, American Kidney Fund

LaVarne Burton is President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Kidney Fund (AKF). She has led AKF since 2005, propelling the organization to many notable milestones to support the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, with programs addressing early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy.

Ms. Burton previously served as Executive Secretary to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she managed policy development and regulations and was advisor to the Secretary of the federal government’s largest domestic agency. Before that, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget Policy at HHS and as Senior Analyst to the Budget Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. She also was President of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), the national trade association representing pharmacy benefit managers.

Ms. Burton received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and Master of Arts from George Washington University.

Home Dialysis: What to Know and What to Ask

2:30 p.m. ET

Eric Weinhandl, PhD

Senior Director of Analytics and Home Therapies, Satellite Healthcare

Eric Weinhandl is the Senior Director of Analytics and Home Therapies at Satellite Healthcare.

Eric’s deep and rich background researching chronic kidney disease, in particular dialysis and related pharmaceuticals, will advance our home dialysis analytics capabilities and contribute to advancing clinical initiatives. Eric is recognized internationally for his deep knowledge of home dialysis and unique expertise in home data analytics. He is a sought-after speaker at national and international meetings and is widely published in the field of ESRD.

Eric will be an integral part of Satellite’s focus on innovation and advancing the company’s analytics and quality strategies. He will work closely with Sumi Sun, Vice President of Analytics and Quality, Dr. Brigitte Schiller, as well as the Medical Clinical Affairs, Research and Operations teams across the organization.

Eric has significantly influenced the organizations for which he has worked, including the United States Renal Data System (USRDS), NxStage/Fresenius Medical Care, and, most recently, Chronic Disease Research Group, where he served as Director of Home Dialysis Research. He has conducted studies in partnership with Amgen, Baxter, DaVita, NxStage, and the Peer Kidney Care Initiative among many others.

Eric graduated from St. Olaf College as valedictorian with a B.A. in Mathematics and attained an M.S. degree in biostatistics and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. He will join Satellite Healthcare on December 1, 2021.

Maria Camila Bermudez, MD

Nephrologist, Geisinger Medical Center

Dr. Maria Camila Bermudez is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Associate Program Director of Nephrology Fellowship and Director of Acute Dialytic Therapies and Home Dialysis Program at Geisinger Medical Center. Her work focuses on optimizing care of patients requiring dialysis by promoting home therapies, educating, and empowering patients and health care professionals.

John R. B. Bayton

American Kidndey Fund Ambassador, Kidney Transplant Recipient

John Bayton is an accomplished project and marketing professional. Diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in 2003, John Bayton has undergone two transplants, with his most recent on February 27, 2019, at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute. John has experience with every modality of ESRD treatment including In-Center hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, nocturnal dialysis, and home hemodialysis.

His experience with kidney disease inspired him to become a patient advocate for the kidney community. Due to his experience with ESRD, John is truly able to speak to the patient experience.

John is an ambassador and subject matter expert (SME) for the American Kidney Fund (AKF), and the Coalition for Supportive Care. He currently serves as a member and SME for ESRD Network 5 Patient Advisory Committee (PAC) and the ESRD National Coordinating Council (NCC) National Patient and Family Engagement Learning and Action Network (NPFE-LAN). John is also a member of the American Society of Transplantation (AST) Transplant Community Advisory Council (TCAC) and the first patient advocate to join AST’s Public Policy Committee. John is also a frequent panelist and guest speaker on matters related to ESRD, dialysis, and transplantation.

John attended Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, VA, and majored in political science and technical theater. John is the Director of Development for Proust Partners LLC and specializes in marketing, event planning, and strategic business development. He is very involved in the District of Columbia’s events and restaurant industry. John is a passionate advocate for social change, and keen on addressing the disparities that exist in our society. John enjoys amateur photography, is a bit of a foodie, and loves to indulge in science fiction and technology.

Kyle K. Chang

American Kidney Fund Ambassador, Living with Kidney Disease

Kyle K. Chang was diagnosed with ESRD in 2013, started with in center hemodialysis, performed peritoneal dialysis (PD) for 5 1/2 years on his own, and now does solo home hemodialysis (home HD) treatments post-recovery from a double nephrectomy in September 2018. Kyle thanks his deceased kidney donor and their survivors, who provided him with the kidney transplant he received in December 2019. You can often find him administering and moderating various home modality support groups, including the Home Dialysis Central Facebook (FB) Discussion Group, his own FB support and advocacy page, and his YouTube channel at all hours of the day. Kyle’s professional experiences are varied and focused on large and small companies including his own companies in real estate/property management, investment, or large-scale special events. He also enjoys traveling around the world, and home dialysis modalities offer him the flexibility to do all of the things he loves.

Clinical Trials: Why Your Participation Makes a Difference

4:00 p.m. ET

Kirk Campbell, MD

Professor of Medicine/Nephrology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Kirk Campbell is a Professor of Medicine, Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Director of the Nephrology Fellowship Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. In addition to treating patients with kidney disease, Dr. Campbell leads an NIH-funded research program focused on podocyte cell biology, experimental glomerular disease and clinical trials in the rare kidney disease space. The work centers on advancing the understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in glomerular disease progression while identifying potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Dr. Campbell is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is a Past-President of the New York Society of Nephrology, a member of the Board of Directors of the Nephcure Foundation, a standing member of the Pathobiology of Kidney Disease (PBKD) study section at the National Institutes of Health.

Glenn M. Chertow, MD, MPH

Norman S. Coplon Satellite Healthcare Professor of Medicine and Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health Associate Chair, Department of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine

Glenn M. Chertow, MD, MPH is the Norman S. Coplon Satellite Healthcare Professor of Medicine and (by courtesy) of Epidemiology and Population Health, and Associate Chair (Fellowship Programs), Department of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Chertow completed his undergraduate education at University of Pennsylvania (1985) and his MD (1989) and MPH (1995) degrees at Harvard. He completed residency in internal medicine and fellowship in nephrology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital before joining the Harvard faculty, where he remained until 1998. He then joined the faculty at University of California San Francisco, where he served as Director of Clinical Services in the Division of Nephrology and was promoted through the academic ranks to full Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics until joining the Stanford faculty as Professor and Division Chief in 2007, a position he held until 2021. In addition to an active clinical practice, administrative responsibilities, teaching and mentoring, Dr. Chertow has developed and maintained a robust clinical research program. He has served or is currently serving in leadership roles for multiple NIDDK-, NHLBI-, and VA-sponsored clinical trials, including HEMO, DAC, ATN, FHN, SPRINT, PRESERVE, ISCHEMIA CKD, CURE-GN and TiME, and for several industry-sponsored clinical trials including TREAT, EVOLVE, BEACON, SYMPLICITY, REPRISE, CREDENCE, INNO2VATE, PRO2TECT, FIDELIO, FIGARO, and DAPA-CKD. He has served in an advisory capacity to the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee and the National Quality Forum on issues related to the ESRD program, on NIH study sections, and in multiple roles with the American Society of Nephrology, including the Public Policy Board, Quality Metrics Taskforce, and as Associate Editor of the society’s leading journal. He is Co-Editor of Brenner and Rector’s The Kidney. Dr. Chertow was honored by the American Kidney Fund with the National Torchbearer Award (2007) and the Nephrologist of the Year Award (2011) in recognition of his contributions to the care of persons with kidney disease. Dr. Chertow received the Belding H. Scribner Award from the American Society of Nephrology for outstanding contributions that have substantially changed the practice of nephrology (2015) and the David M. Hume Memorial Award (2018), the highest honor given by the National Kidney Foundation to a distinguished scientist-clinician in the field of kidney and urologic diseases. Dr. Chertow is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (2004), Association of American Physicians (2015), and National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine) (2015).

Alison Rascher

Caregiver and Mother

In 2018 Alison’s eight year old son was rushed to the ER with severe abdominal pain, only to learn that he had a kidney stone. Thus began a journey with the rare genetic kidney disease, cystinuria. Her son ultimately lost one kidney due to the effects of cystinuria. As an orphan disease, Alison and her family have learned that along with their medical team, they need to also be advocates for their son’s health and any and all research opportunities that are available to help him.

Jeanne B. Charleston, PhD

Director of Clinical Research Operations, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Charleston is a faculty member in The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health (Department of Epidemiology), the School of Medicine (Division of General Internal Medicine), and the School of Nursing. In her role as the Director of Clinical Research Operations at Johns Hopkins ProHealth, she has over 20 years of experience in the conduct of CVD clinical trials with an emphasis on community-based recruitment and retention and appropriate staff training. Dr. Charleston has played a key role in the conduct of several landmark trials, including the Trials of Hypertension Prevention (TOHP), Trials of Non Pharmacologic Intervention in the Elderly (TONE), Diabetes Prevention Study (DPP), the Weight Loss Maintenance Study, PREMIER, Look AHEAD, POWER and ACHIEVE; as well as smaller feeding and supplementation trials, such as OmniHeart, OmniCarb, and GO-FISH. Her expertise has been recognized nationally and internationally as she has served as a consultant to the NIH to assist in enhancing the recruitment of minority and other participants to trials.

Dr. Charleston also serves as the Founder and Executive Director of a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Health Freedom, Inc. Health Freedom and its associated, precedent programs, has shared the best health practices in the prevention and treatment of CVD, evidence-based resources, motivation, peer support, and linkage to care with the people of Baltimore and Maryland for more than four decades. Together with her medical partners, health education specialists, nutritionist consultants, and social workers, they have trained over 4,500 volunteers to promote best practices in CVD health. Mrs. Ina Glenn-Smith, Health Freedom’s Program Director, has worked with the program and its precedents since 1979, bringing with her experience, understanding of resources and networks, as well as the trust of the communities that Health Freedom has served over the years. Health Freedom, Incorporated’s Board of Directors consists of representatives of Maryland’s health, education, and faith-based communities. Over the last two decades, more than 600 faith-based and community-based organizations have been established as Health Freedom partners offering free blood pressure/CVD risk screenings, health assessment, and monitoring and health education classes in Maryland.

RE-BROADCAST : Home Dialysis: What to Know and What to Ask

5:30 p.m. ET

Eric Weinhandl, PhD

Senior Director of Analytics and Home Therapies, Satellite Healthcare

Eric Weinhandl is the Senior Director of Analytics and Home Therapies at Satellite Healthcare.

Eric’s deep and rich background researching chronic kidney disease, in particular dialysis and related pharmaceuticals, will advance our home dialysis analytics capabilities and contribute to advancing clinical initiatives. Eric is recognized internationally for his deep knowledge of home dialysis and unique expertise in home data analytics. He is a sought-after speaker at national and international meetings and is widely published in the field of ESRD.

Eric will be an integral part of Satellite’s focus on innovation and advancing the company’s analytics and quality strategies. He will work closely with Sumi Sun, Vice President of Analytics and Quality, Dr. Brigitte Schiller, as well as the Medical Clinical Affairs, Research and Operations teams across the organization.
Eric has significantly influenced the organizations for which he has worked, including the United States Renal Data System (USRDS), NxStage/Fresenius Medical Care, and, most recently, Chronic Disease Research Group, where he served as Director of Home Dialysis Research. He has conducted studies in partnership with Amgen, Baxter, DaVita, NxStage, and the Peer Kidney Care Initiative among many others.

Eric graduated from St. Olaf College as valedictorian with a B.A. in Mathematics and attained an M.S. degree in biostatistics and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. He will join Satellite Healthcare on December 1, 2021.

Maria Camila Bermudez, MD

Nephrologist, Geisinger Medical Center

Dr. Maria Camila Bermudez is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Associate Program Director of Nephrology Fellowship and Director of Acute Dialytic Therapies and Home Dialysis Program at Geisinger Medical Center. Her work focuses on optimizing care of patients requiring dialysis by promoting home therapies, educating, and empowering patients and health care professionals.

John R. B. Bayton

American Kidndey Fund Ambassador, Kidney Transplant Recipient

John Bayton is an accomplished project and marketing professional. Diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in 2003, John Bayton has undergone two transplants, with his most recent on February 27, 2019, at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute. John has experience with every modality of ESRD treatment including In-Center hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, nocturnal dialysis, and home hemodialysis.

His experience with kidney disease inspired him to become a patient advocate for the kidney community. Due to his experience with ESRD, John is truly able to speak to the patient experience.

John is an ambassador and subject matter expert (SME) for the American Kidney Fund (AKF), and the Coalition for Supportive Care. He currently serves as a member and SME for ESRD Network 5 Patient Advisory Committee (PAC) and the ESRD National Coordinating Council (NCC) National Patient and Family Engagement Learning and Action Network (NPFE-LAN). John is also a member of the American Society of Transplantation (AST) Transplant Community Advisory Council (TCAC) and the first patient advocate to join AST’s Public Policy Committee. John is also a frequent panelist and guest speaker on matters related to ESRD, dialysis, and transplantation.

John attended Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, VA, and majored in political science and technical theater. John is the Director of Development for Proust Partners LLC and specializes in marketing, event planning, and strategic business development. He is very involved in the District of Columbia’s events and restaurant industry. John is a passionate advocate for social change, and keen on addressing the disparities that exist in our society. John enjoys amateur photography, is a bit of a foodie, and loves to indulge in science fiction and technology.

Kyle K. Chang

American Kidney Fund Ambassador, Living with Kidney Disease

Kyle K. Chang was diagnosed with ESRD in 2013, started with in center hemodialysis, performed peritoneal dialysis (PD) for 5 1/2 years on his own, and now does solo home hemodialysis (home HD) treatments post-recovery from a double nephrectomy in September 2018. Kyle thanks his deceased kidney donor and their survivors, who provided him with the kidney transplant he received in December 2019. You can often find him administering and moderating various home modality support groups, including the Home Dialysis Central Facebook (FB) Discussion Group, his own FB support and advocacy page, and his YouTube channel at all hours of the day. Kyle’s professional experiences are varied and focused on large and small companies including his own companies in real estate/property management, investment, or large-scale special events. He also enjoys traveling around the world, and home dialysis modalities offer him the flexibility to do all of the things he loves.

Ask “The Cooking Doc:” Q & A with Nephrologist, Dr. Blake Shusterman

11:30 a.m. ET

Melanie Paris, MA, MPH

Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Education,
American Kidney Fund

Melanie Paris, MA, MPH, is Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Education at the American Kidney Fund (AKF), located in Rockville, Maryland. Her focus at AKF is creating awareness of kidney disease, its common causes, and effective prevention among at-risk populations throughout the United States. She leads the creation and development of programs and resources for people living with kidney disease, caregivers and healthcare providers. 

Melanie joined AKF in 2017 with several years of experience in health program implementation, evaluation and analyses with such companies such as Truven Health Analytics, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the American Heart Association. Melanie is both professionally and personally committed to working as an agent of change to improve public health by encouraging the implementation of interventions that are innovative – yet simple, practical and culturally relevant.

Melanie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language Education and Master’s degrees in both African Studies and Public Health, all from The Ohio State University.

Melanie is the mother of two teenagers and resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Blake Shusterman, MD

Nephrologist & The Cooking Doc

Dr. Blake Shusterman is a Greenville, South Carolina-based nephrologist and cooking enthusiast with a passion for helping his patients enjoy healthy, kidney-friendly foods. Dr. Blake, as he is known, is also the creator of The Cooking Doc®, a popular online cooking show and educational site dedicated to helping people manage their kidney disease through delicious meals. He the author of the book, The Cooking Doc’s Kidney-Healthy Cooking – A Modern 10-Step Guide to Preventing and Managing Kidney Disease.

He is the past-president and physician partner at a large nephrology practice in Greenville. Dr. Blake received his medical degree from The Ohio State University and completed his internal medicine residency and nephrology fellowship at the University of Virginia. As a board-certified nephrologist, he also serves as medical director at multiple dialysis centers and is a clinical assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.

Congressional Briefing: The Crisis of Kidney Disease

1:00 p.m ET

LaVarne A. Burton

President & Chief Executive Officer, American Kidney Fund

LaVarne Burton is President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Kidney Fund (AKF). She has led AKF since 2005, propelling the organization to many notable milestones to support the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, with programs addressing early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy.

Ms. Burton previously served as Executive Secretary to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she managed policy development and regulations and was advisor to the Secretary of the federal government’s largest domestic agency. Before that, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget Policy at HHS and as Senior Analyst to the Budget Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. She also was President of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), the national trade association representing pharmacy benefit managers.

Ms. Burton received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and Master of Arts from George Washington University.

Patrick O. Gee, PhD, JLC

Founder & CEHD, iAdvocate

Dr. Patrick Gee graduated from the American University School of Public Affairs in 2012 with a Doctor of Philosophy in Justice, Law, & Criminology. In April 2013, Dr. Gee was diagnosed with Stage 3b End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD). He is a former

Peritoneal/Hemodialysis patient due to suffering from Diabetic Kidney Disease. On April 21, 2017, Dr. Gee received a kidney transplant and, after several complications, his new kidney began functioning on the 47th day post-transplant.

Dr. Gee is a retired Major/Chief of Security from the Virginia Department of Corrections; and currently serves as the Founder & CEHD of iAdvocate, Inc., a non-profit Faith-based Health & Wellness organization. He is also an Ordained Minister at Mountain Movers Ministry in Richmond, VA. As a Patient Representative for the Diabetes Kidney Disease-Collaborative Task Force and an advocate for those living with chronic kidney disease and the morbid conditions that contribute to this disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity, Dr. Gee uses his personal experiences to teach, coach, mentor, and educate others on how best to manage their outcomes. He also ensures that underserved, undervalued, and disenfranchised communities of color have a voice in their quality of life and equitable healthcare access.

Dr. Gee’s mantra is, “I am the Voice for the Voiceless and the Face for the Faceless in the fight against kidney disease.”

Dora Hughes, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer at the CMS Innovation Center, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at HHS

Dora Hughes, M.D., M.P.H., is Chief Medical Officer at the CMS Innovation Center at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. She leads the Center’s work on health equity, provides clinical input on models, liaises with stakeholder groups, and directs CMMI’s clinician community.
Previously, Dr. Hughes served as an Associate Research Professor of Health Policy & Management at George Washington University, where her work focused on the intersection of clinical and community health, health equity, healthcare quality and workforce. Prior to this role, Dr. Hughes was a Senior Policy Advisor at Sidley Austin, where she advised on regulatory and legislative matters in the life science industry. Additionally, Dr. Hughes served as the Counselor for Science & Public Health at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in the Obama Administration, helping to implement the Affordable Care Act and providing guidance to the Public Health Service Act authorized agencies and Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Hughes began her career in health policy as Senior Program Officer at the Commonwealth Fund, and subsequently was Deputy Director for the HELP Committee for the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Health Policy Advisor to former Senator Barack Obama.

Dr. Hughes received a B.S. from Washington University, M.D. from Vanderbilt and M.P.H. from Harvard. She completed an internal medicine residency at Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester
(D-DE)

U.S. Representative

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester represents Delaware in the U.S. House of Representatives and serves as an Assistant Whip for House Leadership. Lisa sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The committee has broad jurisdiction over health care, the environment, commerce and trade, energy policy, telecommunications, manufacturing, and consumer protection.

As the Energy and Commerce Committee’s only former statewide health official, Lisa understands health care from a number of different perspectives – as an implementer at the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, negotiator while serving as State Personnel Director, and advocate as CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League. Lisa is focused on reducing the cost of health care and prescription drugs for middle-class families, addressing the disparity in outcomes for communities of color, and tackling our nation’s opioid and addiction epidemic. She serves as a Member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, comprised of more than 100 members united with the common goal of tackling opioid addiction.

Lisa is a leading voice in Congress on economic and future of work-related issues. As former Secretary of Labor and State Personnel Director, Lisa leverages her professional experience to advocate for legislation that boosts start-up business growth, removes barriers for citizens re-entering society, and addresses college affordability and ballooning student debt. She is a Co-Chair of the New Democrat Coalition’s Future of Work Task Force and serves as the sole Member of Congress on the Aspen Institute’s National Advisory Council for the Future of Work Initiative. She is also the founder of the Congressional Future of Work Caucus.
In the 115th Congress, Lisa was a member of the House Committee on Agriculture – the first Delawarean to serve on the committee in over 120 years. In this role, she helped craft the 2018 Farm Bill, which is a five-year re-authorization that extends U.S. Department of Agriculture programs related to the farm safety net; nutrition programs that feed children, seniors, people with disabilities, and families who rely on the social support programs; land-grant and 1890 universities; and agriculture research.

Mike Spigler, MCHES

Vice President of Patient Support & Education, American Kidney Fund

Mike Spigler has served as vice president of Patient Support and Education for the American Kidney Fund (AKF) since July 2015. Mr. Spigler oversees a spectrum of programs and services: prevention activities, top-rated health educational resources, clinical research and direct financial assistance that enables kidney patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

Mr. Spigler has more than 20 years of experience in creating and managing health education programs for a multitude of chronic health conditions, including kidney disease, cancer, food allergies and anxiety disorders. In 2011, he was among the first group of health educators named Master Certified Health Education Specialists by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

Prior to joining AKF, Mr. Spigler served as vice president of education for Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a nonprofit organization in Northern Virginia that sought to improve the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies.

This is Mr. Spigler’s second time working for the American Kidney Fund. He also served as AKF’s director of public education from 2003–08 before moving to Boston to serve as the program director of the International OCD Foundation.

Mr. Spigler is a proud alumnus of the University of Maryland, College Park in College Park, MD.

Stage 3 CKD: High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease

2:30 p.m. ET

Melanie Paris, MA MPH

Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Education,
American Kidney Fund

Melanie Paris, M.A., MPH, is Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Education at the American Kidney Fund (AKF), located in Rockville, Maryland. Her focus at AKF is creating awareness of kidney disease, its common causes, and effective prevention among at-risk populations throughout the United States. She leads the creation and development of programs and resources for people living with kidney disease, caregivers and healthcare providers.

Melanie joined AKF in 2017 with several years of experience in health program implementation, evaluation and analyses with such companies such as Truven Health Analytics, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the American Heart Association. Melanie is both professionally and personally committed to working as an agent of change to improve public health by encouraging the implementation of interventions that are innovative – yet simple, practical and culturally relevant.

Melanie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language Education and Master’s degrees in both African Studies and Public Health, all from The Ohio State University.

Melanie is the mother of two teenagers and resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Yoshio Hall, MD, MS

Professor of Medicine, University of Washington

Yoshio Hall is Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington. He directs the Kidney Clinic at Harborview Medical Center, King County’s public hospital where he provides care to patients with advanced chronic kidney diseases. He is a former American Kidney Fund Board member and recipient of AKF’s Clinical Scientist in Nephrology award. As a Core Investigator and epidemiologist at the Kidney Research Institute, he has studied the healthcare structure, utilization and outcomes of patients with chronic kidney diseases from traditionally underserved populations.

Kathy Wong, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, DaVita Kidney Care

Kathy Wong, RDN is a real dietitian working with adult patients on in-center hemodialysis. She has worked for DaVita Kidney Care for over 4 years. She also provides education to CKD patients prior to starting dialysis regarding kidney disease, how to optimize their health by collaborating with their healthcare team, and treatment modalities available. Her passion in helping people navigate their diet and how to work with their healthcare team began with her personal journey with Crohn’s.

Life with In-Center Dialysis

4:00 p.m. ET

Delphine Tuot, MD

Interim Division Chief of Nephrology at ZSFG, Associate CMO of Specialty Care and Diagnostics at ZSFG, and Director of the UCSF Center for Innovation in Access and Quality at ZSFG

Delphine S. Tuot, MDCM, MAS, is an Associate Professor of Medicine in UCSF’s Division of Nephrology at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), Associate Chief Medical Officer for Specialty Care at Diagnostics at ZSFG and Director of the UCSF Center for Innovation in Access and Quality. She obtained her undergraduate degree at Stanford University, medical degree from McGill University Faculty of Medicine, and completed residency and fellowship at the University of California San Francisco, where she also obtained a Master of Clinical Science with a focus on Implementation and Dissemination Science. Her research projects are focused on the development, implementation and evaluation of interventions that increase patient self-efficacy and self-management of CKD as well as health system innovations that translate evidence into practice for safety-net populations, as they are at greatest risk of CKD-associated morbidity and mortality.

Carolyn Evans-Howard, RN

Registered Nurse, Iredell Health System

Carolyn Evans-Howard is a native of Fort Mill, South Carolina. After graduating high school, Carolyn attended Winthrop University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education. She decided not to pursue a career in education but to become a flight attendant for one of the four major US airlines. After traveling the world, she decided to settle down in Keene, New Hampshire. While here, she completed odds and ends jobs and met influential mentors that guided her career path towards nursing. In support of her personal relationship with her now husband Carolyn moved south to Mooresville, North Carolina. She attended Rowan-Cabarrus Community college pursuant of a two year degree in nursing. While in school she began working as a certified nursing assistant in the dialysis unit. In December 2002 she graduated with honors and accepted an RN position with the dialysis unit at the community hospital. She is now pursuing her master’s degree in nursing education with a graduation date of December 2022. Working in the dialysis unit afforded opportunities to learn and advocate for the best quality of life for patients living with End Stage Renal Disease. Carolyn currently lives in Statesville, North Carolina with her husband and their five year old son and dog, Cooper.

Kristi Keller, RN, BSN, CDN

Assistant Director of Hemodialysis for Iredell Health System

Kristi Keller comes from an air force family. She moved to Statesville NC at age 13 and has lived there ever since. Wanting to become a nurse since childhood, Kristi attended Mitchell Community College in Statesville NC and earned an associate’s degree in nursing in 2005. She started her career at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem NC in intensive care, and moved to outpatient dialysis nursing in 2007. Becoming a certified dialysis nurse in 2010, she worked as a full-time outpatient dialysis nurse at West Iredell Dialysis Center for 12 years as the charge nurse before taking the role of assistant director of acute hemodialysis at Iredell Health Systems in 2019. She finished a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Gardner-Webb University in 2021 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in nursing administration at Gardner-Webb and hopes to graduate later this year. She adores dialysis nursing, and continues to work PRN at the outpatient clinic in addition to her hospital role. She also is employed by Mometrix, where she is currently writing new study materials for nurses looking to sit for their certified dialysis or certified nephrology nursing exams. Kristi lives in Statesville NC with her fiancé, their two children, and beloved dog Sonic.

Shanice Lattimore, RN

Registered Nurse, Iredell Health System

Shanice Lattimore was born and raised in the small town of Statesville, North Carolina. She attended West Iredell High School and graduated in 2006. She had her first child the same year and worked in a factory until she realized she needed to go back to school. She then decided to pursue a career in nursing and attended Mitchell Community College. In 2012 she received her Associate degree in Science and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to begin her career. She started working at Fresenius Kidney Care in an outpatient clinic and trained to become a dialysis nurse. She worked there for 2 years and felt as if she needed to work in the hospital for medical/surgical experience, since she was a new nurse. It was then that she started working at Atrium Health as a Bone Marrow Transplant nurse. Working in the hospital was very knowledgeable for her and a lot of experience was gained. Shanice became pregnant with her second child and went back to pursuing dialysis. Upon her return, it was then that she realized dialysis was where she needed to be. She was able to get experience from both inpatient and outpatient dialysis settings. She worked with companies such as DSI, U.S. Renal, Novant health and the V.A. In 2019 she moved back home to Statesville, North Carolina, and settled in with her two boys. Since then she has continued to work in dialysis as an inpatient nurse at Iredell Memorial Hospital.

Veterans Health Administration and American Kidney Fund Coffee Chat

5:30 PM ET

Mike Spigler, MCHES

Vice President of Patient Support & Education, American Kidney Fund

Mike Spigler has served as vice president of Patient Support and Education for the American Kidney Fund (AKF) since July 2015. Mr. Spigler oversees a spectrum of programs and services: prevention activities, top-rated health educational resources, clinical research and direct financial assistance that enables kidney patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

Mr. Spigler has more than 20 years of experience in creating and managing health education programs for a multitude of chronic health conditions, including kidney disease, cancer, food allergies and anxiety disorders. In 2011, he was among the first group of health educators named Master Certified Health Education Specialists by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

Prior to joining AKF, Mr. Spigler served as vice president of education for Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a nonprofit organization in Northern Virginia that sought to improve the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies.

This is Mr. Spigler’s second time working for the American Kidney Fund. He also served as AKF’s director of public education from 2003–08 before moving to Boston to serve as the program director of the International OCD Foundation.

Mr. Spigler is a proud alumnus of the University of Maryland, College Park in College Park, MD.

LaVarne A. Burton

President & Chief Executive Officer, American Kidney Fund

LaVarne Burton is President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Kidney Fund (AKF). She has led AKF since 2005, propelling the organization to many notable milestones to support the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, with programs addressing early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy.

Ms. Burton previously served as Executive Secretary to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she managed policy development and regulations and was advisor to the Secretary of the federal government’s largest domestic agency. Before that, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget Policy at HHS and as Senior Analyst to the Budget Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. She also was President of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), the national trade association representing pharmacy benefit managers.

Ms. Burton received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and Master of Arts from George Washington University.

Erica M. Scavella, MD, FACP, FACHE

Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Clinical Services, Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

Erica M. Scavella, M.D., FACP, FACHE, as Assistant Under Secretary for Health (AUSH) for Clinical Services, is the Chief Medical Officer of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), serving over 9 million enrolled Veterans annually at over 1,700 sites of care in the nation’s largest integrated healthcare system. She previously served as the Associate Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Oversight, Risk and Ethics, executing the duties of the Chief Health Risk Officer. In this role, Dr. Scavella provided executive leadership for five aligned National Program Offices – the Office of Integrity and Compliance, the Office of Internal Audit, the National Center for Ethics in Health Care, the Office of Research Oversight, and the Office of the Medical Inspector. She was also responsible for VHA Enterprise Risk Management, healthcare-related oversight and accountability and VHA Centers of Excellence. Prior to serving as the Associate Deputy Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Scavella served as The Medical Inspector, conducting over 150 clinical investigations and overseeing over 100 more. In this role, Dr. Scavella and her team implemented impactful clinical care improvements across the system.
Dr. Scavella is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, was elected Fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP) in 2005 and Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) in 2012. She is a member of the Leadership VA (LVA) Class of 2009 and served as the 2015-2017 LVA Alumni Association Membership Chair. She completed the VHA Healthcare Leadership Development Program in 2012 and the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellows Program in 2017.

Kidney Transplant: Navigating the Waitlist

11:30 p.m. ET

Shayla Harris

Associate Director of Administration, American Kidney Fund

Shayla Harris is a kidney transplant recipient, the Associate Director of Administration at the American Kidney Fund and a proud advocate for the 37-million Americans with kidney disease.
Shayla was diagnosed with end stage renal disease in October 2009 with 15-20% kidney function and in need of dialysis or a kidney transplant. Fortunately, her sister was a perfect match and on February 24th, 2010 Shayla was given the gift of life by receiving a kidney transplant. Shayla calls her sister a real-life superhero.

Shayla is a proud AKF Ambassador and has testified numerous times at the Maryland state capital in Annapolis, Maryland and on Capital Hill in Washington, DC on legislation such as:
• Living Donor Protection Act
• Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA)
• Improving Social Determinants Act of 2020
• Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act
It has been 12 years since her kidney transplant and everyday Shayla lives her life to the fullest due to her gift of life and will continue to be the voice for the 37-million Americans with Kidney disease.

Mary Baliker, BS

Healthcare Consultant

Mary Baliker lives in Wisconsin and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, in Public Health and Psychology. Mary has been a healthcare advocate most of her life. Having been diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of nine, living with chronic disease, having been on hemodialysis and four kidney transplants has given her an opportunity to cherish life and given her a strong interest to help improve healthcare.

Mary has also written her story “Maria Never Gives Up” to help children and their families in their personal struggle with the emotional and physical rollercoaster that is brought on by a chronic illness. The books are in many transplant and dialysis centers across the country and available on Amazon.

She is honored to serve as an ambassador for the American Kidney Fund. She is also a member of NephCure Kidney International, Co- Leader of Midwest Region, the National Kidney Foundation’s, Peer Mentoring Program, Kidney Advocacy Committee & Region #6 Leader, Public Policy Committee and various workgroups. American Association of Nephrology: Kidney Health Initiative’s (KHI) Patient and Family Partnership Council, The National Forum of ESRD Networks; Kidney Patient Advisory Council, American Association of Kidney Patients Field Ambassador, Chronic Disease Coalition Ambassador, Midwest Kidney Network (ESRD Network #11) Board of Directors, and Consumer Committee, the National Patient/Family Engagement Learning & Action Network Health Services, Legacy Advisory Group. United Network for Organ Sharing, Pediatric Kidney Advisor, UW (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Health Patient and Family Advisory Committee, and Friends of UW Health, Board of Directors.

Mary’s professional work experience includes the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, and Long Beach Memorial Hospital. Positions that she has held include Organ Procurement Coordinator, Clinical Research Transplant Coordinator, Outreach Transplant Education Coordinator, Transplant Ambassador, and Healthcare Administration in Asthma, Pulmonary Disease, and the Carbone Cancer.

Hannah Graves, LMSW

Transplant Outreach Social Worker, Piedmont Transplant Institute

Hannah Graves is a native of Milwaukee, WI. Attending school in the community, Hannah found her calling in psychology and then pursued social work. Graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Hannah decided to attend Graduate School for Social Work at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee at the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. While here, Hannah met influential professors and mentors who guided her career path. After graduating in 2011 with her Master’s Degree in Social Work, Hannah began working for United Way of Greater Milwaukee. Life called Hannah to Atlanta, GA in 2013 where she worked in hospice, short-term rehab and then finally dialysis from 2016 to 2019 afforded opportunities to learn and advocate for the best quality of life for patients living with ESRD. Now in 2022, Hannah has the greatest opportunity of all serving with the talented and dedicated professionals at Piedmont Transplant Institute offering second chances to patients through transplant.

Velma Scantlebury-White, MD, FACS

Professor of Surgery at TCU and UNTHSC

Dr. Velma Scantlebury-White is a Barbadian-born American transplant surgeon. She was the first African American woman transplant surgeon of the United States. She has received many honors in her career, having been named to both the “Best Doctors in America” and “Top Doctors in America” lists multiple times.

Dr. Scantlebury has been awarded the Woman of Spirit Award for inspiring others and the “Gift of Life Award” from the National Kidney Foundation. In addition to recognition by the Caribbean American Medical and Scientific Association, she received the Order of Barbados Gold Crown of Merit, for her efforts to educate minorities about organ transplant. She has performed over 2,000 transplants and published many peer-reviewed papers and the recent author of “Beyond Every Wall – Becoming the First Black Female Transplant Surgeon.”

She completed her fellowship in multi-organ transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. After 15 years, she moved to the University of South Alabama (USA) as Professor of Surgery and Director of the USA’s Gulf Coast Regional Transplant Centre. She relocated to Delaware in 2008 to join the ChristianaCare Health System, as Associate Director of the Kidney Transplant Program and Director of Outpatient Services. In 2020, Dr. Scantlebury retired from ChristianaCare to pursue an academic career and is currently a Professor of Surgery at Texas Christian University and medical school.
Dr. Scantlebury has been passionate about educating minority communities regarding the need for more organ donors and the rising number of patients in need of transplantation. As a board member of National MOTTEP (Minority Organ and Tissue Transplant Educational Program), she continues to promote education regarding the higher incidence of renal failure and the need for dialysis within the African American community.
She has also served on the Board of Donate Life America, the Medical Advisory Board of the Gift of Life, in Philadelphia PA., and current serves on the NKF Health Equity Task Force, as well as the ASTS Boldly Against Racism Task Force.

Dr. Scantlebury continues to mentor young students and is actively involved in her community through her volunteer work with the Wilmington Chapter of the Links, Inc, as well as an Honorary Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

Stage 3 CKD: Diabetes and Kidney Disease

1:00 p.m. ET

Ryan Woolley, MSPH, RDN

Director of Public Education, American Kidney Fund

Ryan Woolley, MSPH, RDN is the Director of Public Education at the American Kidney Fund. She provides strategic oversight in developing and managing evidence-based kidney disease education programs and resources. In her role she conducts formative research, contributes to proposal development, oversees project implementation, and leads outcomes evaluations.
Ryan is an experienced public health professional and a registered dietitian nutritionist and has an extensive background in both public health research and program evaluation. Prior to coming to the American Kidney Fund, Ryan was the Director of Program Evaluation and Design at the American Diabetes Association. She led the evaluation of the Association’s cross-departmental programs and strategy for the design and piloting of interventions. Her research measured health, behavioral, and psychosocial outcomes associated with national patient-targeted programs, professional education, research funding, and advocacy activities.

Ryan previously conducted research on community-based nutrition and physical activity interventions while at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also gained clinical research experience and contributed to 5 peer reviewed publications while working at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Patrick O. Gee, PhD, JLC

Founder & CEHD, iAdvocate

Dr. Patrick Gee graduated from the American University School of Public Affairs in 2012 with a Doctor of Philosophy in Justice, Law, & Criminology. In April 2013, Dr. Gee was diagnosed with Stage 3b End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD). He is a former Peritoneal/Hemodialysis patient due to suffering from Diabetic Kidney Disease. On April 21, 2017, Dr. Gee received a kidney transplant and, after several complications, his new kidney began functioning on the 47th day post-transplant.
Dr. Gee is a retired Major/Chief of Security from the Virginia Department of Corrections; and currently serves as the Founder & CEHD of iAdvocate, Inc., a non-profit Faith-based Health & Wellness organization. He is also an Ordained Minister at Mountain Movers Ministry in Richmond, VA. As a Patient Representative for the Diabetes Kidney Disease-Collaborative Task Force and an advocate for those living with chronic kidney disease and the morbid conditions that contribute to this disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity, Dr. Gee uses his personal experiences to teach, coach, mentor, and educate others on how best to manage their outcomes. He also ensures that underserved, undervalued, and disenfranchised communities of color have a voice in their quality of life and equitable healthcare access.
Dr. Gee’s mantra is, “I am the Voice for the Voiceless and the Face for the Faceless in the fight against kidney disease.”

Amanda Lane, MS, RD, CDCES

Renal Dietitian, Healthful Lane

Amanda Lane received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Kansas State University and Master of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition and Dietetic Internship from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Amanda has worked with adult and pediatric dialysis patients receiving both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Currently based in Minneapolis, MN, Amanda sees clients with CKD through a virtual private practice and is the founder of Healthful Lane Nutrition where she aims to provide easy to understand, science-based nutrition information to individuals with kidney disease. She also serves on the Dietitian Advisory Group for American Kidney Fund where she contributes to educational content including Ask a Dietitian. Amanda values the links between food, culture and health and enjoys seeing patients thrive while enjoying their preferred foods and feeling empowered to manage their CKD.

Margaret Yu, MD, MS

Clinical Associate Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine

Margaret K. Yu, M.D., M.S. is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at Stanford University and the chief of the Kidney Clinic at Stanford Health Care. She completed medical school at Stanford, internal medicine residency at Northwestern, and nephrology fellowship at the University of Washington, where she also received a Master of Science in Epidemiology. Dr. Yu’s research interests include clinical trials for diabetic kidney disease, health disparities in chronic kidney disease, and dialysis-related decision-making. She currently receives research funding from the National Institute of Health and the George Institute for Global Health.

The Past, Present and Future of Testing for Kidney Disease

2:30 p.m. ET

Julie Wright Nunes, MD, MPH

Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Health System

Dr. Wright Nunes is a nephrologist and researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is the UM Associate Vice Chair of Quality and Innovation and Medical Director of the Taubman Center Medical Specialties Ambulatory Care Unit, with the Department of Internal Medicine.

She is on the board of the American Kidney Fund, the AKF Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee, Chair of the Clinical Scientist in Nephrology program and Vice Chair of AKF Kidney Patient Education and outreach committee. Her research focuses on systems engineering to improve CKD care, health literacy and optimizing patient education and support across the continuum of CKD care. This is particularly relevant not only clinically but for the AKF mission of fighting kidney disease on all fronts. Her work strives to improve the health of patients living with CKD and creating primary and secondary interventions to slow or stop complications and risk associated with CKD. She also has developed a more recent research platform educating youth about kidney disease within science curriculums, shown to improve student health literacy.

Lesley A. Inker, MD, MS, FRCP ©

Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and Medical Director of the Kidney And Blood Pressure Center

Dr. Inker is a Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM), an attending physician in the William B. Schwartz, MD Division of Nephrology at Tufts Medical Center (Tufts MC), and Medical Director of the Kidney And Blood Pressure Center at Tufts MC. Dr. Inker’s primary research interests are in kidney function measurement and estimation, alternative endpoints for clinical trials of kidney disease progression, and epidemiology and outcomes related to CKD.

O. Alison Potok, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of California San Diego

Dr. Potok grew up in Paris, France, she pursued her medical education at the Université Paris V and was trained as a primary care physician in France. After completing an observership and working on a research project at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Dr. Potok then moved to the US permanently and completed a residency in internal medicine within the University of Pennsylvania Health System, in Philadelphia, PA. Following this, she pursued a nephrology fellowship at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Her research was supported by a T32 grant for a couple years before Dr. Potok was awarded the American Kidney Fund Clinical Scientist in Nephrology fellowship grant. She is now funded by an NIH career development K23 award and was recently appointed as assistant professor of clinical medicine at UCSD.

We All Should Care About APOL1-Mediated Kidney Disease

4:00 p.m. ET

Silas Norman, MD, MPH

Clinical Associate Professor, University of Michigan Health

Dr. Silas Norman was born and educated in Detroit. He attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, graduating with a degree in psychology. He then attended Wayne State University School of Medicine, graduating with honors, and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. After completing an internal medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Dr. Norman returned to the University of Michigan to pursue nephrology and transplant nephrology fellowships.

Dr. Norman has been on staff at the University of Michigan since 2002 working as a nephrologist in the transplant program. Dr. Norman helped create a program to transplant HIV-positive individuals and the development of outreach satellite clinics to allow patients greater access to transplant opportunities. Dr. Norman currently serves as the Medical Director of the Transplant Clinics and the Co-Medical Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation. Dr. Norman’s research interests include kidney transplantation in HIV-infected patients, improving access to transplantation and the evaluation of medical frailty in kidney transplant candidates.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Norman volunteers with a number of well-regarded organizations. Dr. Norman has served on the Board of the American Kidney Fund for the last several years and is a member of the American Society of Transplantation IDEAL taskforce. He serves on the American Board of Internal Medicine Nephrology Exam Committee. He served for over a decade on a number of committees of the United Network for Organ Sharing and served for several years on the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, and is currently a member of the NKFM the Board of Directors. In addition, Dr. Norman is also active with the Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP) Detroit Foundation Board.

Maggie E. Freese, MS, LGC

Licensed Genetic Counselor, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics

Maggie Freese is a licensed genetic counselor at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics specializing in nephrology and cardiology. She received her master’s degree from Indiana University School of Medicine and was certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling in 2017. At the University of Iowa, she works with patients and family members in the Renal Genetics Clinic and Organ Transplant Center to discuss how genetics may contribute to their kidney disease. As our knowledge of genetics continues to grow, she believes it’s important that patients understand how genetics can be incorporated into their healthcare and facilitate personalized medicine.

Opeyemi Olabisi, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Duke University

Dr. Opeyemi Olabisi is a Physician-Scientist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Duke School of Medicine. He practices adult nephrology and conducts NIH-funded research that leverages patient-derived stem cell models to elucidate mechanisms underlying APOL1 nephropathy. He is a recipient of several awards including NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Whitehead scholar and Albert Einstein College of Medicine Alumni Rising Star-Investigator Award. Dr. Olabisi received a bachelor’s degree from The City College of New York, MD-PhD degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, internal medicine residency at MGH and nephrology fellowship with postdoctoral research fellowship at Harvard Medical School.

RE-BROADCAST: The Past, Present and Future of Testing for Kidney Disease

5:30 p.m. ET

Julie Wright Nunes, MD, MPH

Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Health System

Dr. Wright Nunes is a nephrologist and researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is the UM Associate Vice Chair of Quality and Innovation and Medical Director of the Taubman Center Medical Specialties Ambulatory Care Unit, with the Department of Internal Medicine.

She is on the board of the American Kidney Fund, the AKF Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee, Chair of the Clinical Scientist in Nephrology program and Vice Chair of AKF Kidney Patient Education and outreach committee. Her research focuses on systems engineering to improve CKD care, health literacy and optimizing patient education and support across the continuum of CKD care. This is particularly relevant not only clinically but for the AKF mission of fighting kidney disease on all fronts. Her work strives to improve the health of patients living with CKD and creating primary and secondary interventions to slow or stop complications and risk associated with CKD. She also has developed a more recent research platform educating youth about kidney disease within science curriculums, shown to improve student health literacy.

Lesley A. Inker, MD, MS, FRCP ©

Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and Medical Director of the Kidney And Blood Pressure Center

Dr. Inker is a Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM), an attending physician in the William B. Schwartz, MD Division of Nephrology at Tufts Medical Center (Tufts MC), and Medical Director of the Kidney And Blood Pressure Center at Tufts MC. Dr. Inker’s primary research interests are in kidney function measurement and estimation, alternative endpoints for clinical trials of kidney disease progression, and epidemiology and outcomes related to CKD.

O. Alison Potok, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of California San Diego

Dr. Potok grew up in Paris, France, she pursued her medical education at the Université Paris V and was trained as a primary care physician in France. After completing an observership and working on a research project at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Dr. Potok then moved to the US permanently and completed a residency in internal medicine within the University of Pennsylvania Health System, in Philadelphia, PA. Following this, she pursued a nephrology fellowship at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Her research was supported by a T32 grant for a couple years before Dr. Potok was awarded the American Kidney Fund Clinical Scientist in Nephrology fellowship grant. She is now funded by an NIH career development K23 award and was recently appointed as assistant professor of clinical medicine at UCSD.

Health Insurance and the Impact of Kidney Disease on Finances

11:30 a.m. ET

Mike Spigler, MCHES

Vice President of Patient Support & Education, American Kidney Fund

Mike Spigler has served as Vice President of Patient Support & Education for the American Kidney Fund (AKF) since July 2015. Mr. Spigler oversees a spectrum of programs and services: prevention activities, top-rated health educational resources, clinical research and direct financial assistance that enables kidney patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

Mr. Spigler has more than 20 years of experience in creating and managing health education programs for a multitude of chronic health conditions, including kidney disease, cancer, food allergies and anxiety disorders. In 2011, he was among the first group of health educators named Master Certified Health Education Specialists by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

Prior to joining AKF, Mr. Spigler served as vice president of education for Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a nonprofit organization in Northern Virginia that sought to improve the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies.

This is Mr. Spigler’s second time working for the American Kidney Fund. He also served as AKF’s director of public education from 2003–08 before moving to Boston to serve as the program director of the International OCD Foundation.

Mr. Spigler is a proud alumnus of the University of Maryland, College Park in College Park, MD.

Rochelle Blum, MS

Licensed Clinic Social Worker, Johns Hopkins Hospital

I obtained my Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore in 2002 and eventually became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Most of my work has been in healthcare with a specialty in transplant. I got my start as a Social Work intern at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the Emergency Department. After graduating I took a position as an inpatient Social Worker in Cardiology doing discharge planning.

In 2005 I left JHH for a position at Living Legacy Foundation as a Family Advocate which was my first experience in transplant. When I eventually returned to JHH I became a social worker in the transplant department working with kidney transplant recipients.

My role includes completing psychosocial assessments to determine whether someone is a candidate for transplant, problem solving barriers and providing ongoing support. I also continue to follow patients after transplant in the community.

Grace M Settle, LCSW-C, MSW

Kidney Transplant Clinical Social Worker II, Johns Hopkins Hospital

Grace Settle is a Kidney Transplant Social Worker at Johns Hopkins Hospital Comprehensive Transplant Center. In this position, Mrs. Settle implements comprehensive bio-psychosocial assessments with each patient in order to provide support and appropriate referrals to community resources during their evaluation for Kidney Transplant and post-surgical recovery. Mrs. Settle is passionate about Social Work as she believes each patient can benefit from feeling heard and having an advocate throughout their heath care journey navigating Kidney Disease. In 2020, Mrs. Settle acquired the Maryland State licensure of Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical. She completed her Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work in 2018. In 2016, Mrs. Settle completed a Bachelors of Science in Sociology and Social Work from North Carolina State University. In her free time, Mrs. Settle enjoys hiking and kayaking with her husband and dog.

COVID-19: Returning to Normal for the Immunocompromised

1:00 p.m. ET

Melanie Paris, MA MPH

Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Education,
American Kidney Fund

Melanie Paris, MA, MPH, is Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Education at the American Kidney Fund (AKF), located in Rockville, Maryland. Her focus at AKF is creating awareness of kidney disease, its common causes, and effective prevention among at-risk populations throughout the United States. She leads the creation and development of programs and resources for people living with kidney disease, caregivers and healthcare providers.

Melanie joined AKF in 2017 with several years of experience in health program implementation, evaluation and analyses with such companies such as Truven Health Analytics, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the American Heart Association. Melanie is both professionally and personally committed to working as an agent of change to improve public health by encouraging the implementation of interventions that are innovative – yet simple, practical and culturally relevant.

Melanie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language Education and Master’s degrees in both African Studies and Public Health, all from The Ohio State University.

Melanie is the mother of two teenagers and resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Sapna Mehta, MD, FIDSA

Director, Transplant Infectious Diseases NYU Langone Transplant Institute

Dr. Sapna Mehta is a transplant infectious diseases physician and Associate Professor of Medicine at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Dr. Mehta received her MD from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas where she also completed her internal medicine residency followed by an infectious diseases fellowship at NYU. She established and directs the Transplant Infectious Diseases program in the NYU Langone Transplant Institute since 2017 which provides clinical care for hematopoietic stem cell and organ transplant recipients. Dr. Mehta’s research activities include serving as the site principal investigator for the NIH-funded HOPE in Action trial which supports transplantation of organs from HIV positive donors to HIV positive recipients and collaborative clinical studies in the areas of epidemiology and COVID-19 in the transplant population. Dr. Mehta is also the Clinical Director for the NYU Langone Transplant Institute in which she oversees the clinical enterprise of the solid organ transplant programs in partnership with Dr. Robert Montgomery.

Robert A. Montgomery, MD, DPhil, FACS

H. Leon Pachter Chair and Professor of Surgery; Director, NYU Langone Transplant Institute, NYU Langone Health

Dr. Robert A. Montgomery is the H. Leon Pachter, MD Professor of Surgery; the Chair of the Department of Surgery at NYU Langone Health; and Director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute. He received his Doctor of Medicine with Honor from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He received his Doctor of Philosophy from Balliol College, The University of Oxford, England in Molecular Immunology. Dr. Montgomery completed his general surgical training, multi-organ transplantation fellowship, and postdoctoral fellowship in Human Molecular Genetics at Johns Hopkins. For over a decade, he served as the Chief of Transplant Surgery and the Director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Montgomery was part of the team that developed the laparoscopic procedure for live kidney donation, a procedure that has become the standard throughout the world. He and the Hopkins team conceived the idea of the Domino Paired Donation (kidney swaps) as well as the Hopkins protocol for desensitization of incompatible kidney transplant patients and performed the first chain of transplants started by an altruistic donor. He led the team that performed the first 2-way domino paired donation, 3-way paired donation, 3-way domino paired donation, 4-way paired donation, 4-way domino paired donation, 5-way domino paired donation, 6-way domino paired donation, 8-way multi-institutional domino paired donation, and co-led the first 10-way open chain. He is credited in the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records with the most kidney transplants performed in 1 day. He is considered a world expert on kidney transplantation for highly sensitized and ABO incompatible patients and is referred the most complex patients from around the globe. On September 25, 2021, he led the team that performed the first successful pig-to-human kidney xenotransplant.

Dr. Montgomery has had clinical and basic science research supported by the NIH throughout his career. He has authored over 300 peer-reviewed articles, cited 30,000 times and has an h-index of 92. His academic interests include HLA sensitization, tolerance protocols including simultaneous solid organ and bone marrow transplantation, bioartificial organs and xenotransplantation. He has received important awards and distinctions including a Fulbright Scholarship and a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and memberships in the Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha academic honor societies. He has been awarded multiple scholarships from The American College of Surgeons and The American Society of Transplant Surgeons. Among his accolades the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland recognized his contributions to the field of transplantation with the Champion of Hope Award, the National Kidney Registry awarded him the Terasaki Medical Innovation Award, the Greater New York Hospital Association recognized him with the Profile in Courage Award, the 2022 Medal of Excellence Award from the American Association of Kidney Patients and Newsweek named him among America’s Top 50 Disruptors in 2021 for his breakthrough xenotransplantation of a genetically modified pig kidney into a recently deceased human. In 2018, he became a recipient of a heart transplant from a Hepatitis C positive donor, became infected with the virus and was cured as part of a clinical trial his transplant team initiated. He has worked to try to promote this practice throughout the world.

ADPKD: How to Work with Your Doctor, Talk to Your Family and Find Support

2:30 p.m. ET

Mike Spigler, MCHES

Vice President of Patient Support & Education, American Kidney Fund

Mike Spigler has served as Vice President of Patient Support & Education for the American Kidney Fund (AKF) since July 2015. Mr. Spigler oversees a spectrum of programs and services: prevention activities, top-rated health educational resources, clinical research and direct financial assistance that enables kidney patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

Mr. Spigler has more than 20 years of experience in creating and managing health education programs for a multitude of chronic health conditions, including kidney disease, cancer, food allergies and anxiety disorders. In 2011, he was among the first group of health educators named Master Certified Health Education Specialists by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

Prior to joining AKF, Mr. Spigler served as vice president of education for Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a nonprofit organization in Northern Virginia that sought to improve the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies.

This is Mr. Spigler’s second time working for the American Kidney Fund. He also served as AKF’s director of public education from 2003–08 before moving to Boston to serve as the program director of the International OCD Foundation.

Mr. Spigler is a proud alumnus of the University of Maryland, College Park in College Park, MD.

Olufunke ‘Funke’ Oujuri

Peer Ambassador, Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation

Olufunke Ojuri is a Civil Engineer based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. She currently serves as the Chief of Design Branch with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working on water resources projects. She received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and a M.S. in Civil (Structural) Engineering from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA. Outside of work, she is working on an initiative to provide resources for patients living with PKD. Olufunke had a double nephrectomy in April 2019 followed by a kidney transplant in January 2020 and is enjoying her new lease on life. During her free time, Olufunke enjoys traveling abroad, running marathons, cooking, and spending time with loved ones. Olufunke is married and has two children.

Chris P. Rusconi, PhD

Chief Research Officer, Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation

Chris serves as the Chief Research Officer of the PKD Foundation, and in this role leads the Foundation’s research, education, and advocacy efforts. Additionally, he serves as the Principal Investigator of the Foundation’s ADPKD Registry, and as a Co-Director of the PKD Outcomes Consortium. Chris brings over 20 years of private and public biotechnology executive experience to this current role, with a strong technical background and extensive global pharmaceutical development and regulatory experience. Before joining the PKD Foundation, Chris served as the Chief Scientific Officer for both public and private biotechnology companies in multiple therapeutic areas.

He received his B.S. with honors from the University of Kansas and earned his Ph.D. in molecular cell biology from the University of Colorado as an NSF Graduate Fellow. He completed his training as a Jane Coffin Childs Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Surgery Department at Duke University Medical Center.

Tamara Y. Walker

American Kidney Fund Ambassador, Living with Kidney Disease

Tamara Y Walker, a mother of 2 adult sons, is an Advocate and Ambassador with a number of organizations in the kidney and transplant community.

Tamara was Uprooted from her hometown in Virginia (over 300 miles away) to her family’s hometown in Georgia because of the effects of hereditary Polycystic Kidney Disease and kidney failure.

As an American Kidney Fund Ambassador and Kidney Health Coach, Georgia Transplant Foundation PEER MENTOR, New Beginning Kidney Foundation EDUCATION ASSISTANT, and an Author of her first published book, MEDICAL BILL FROM HEAVEN by T.Y. Walker (discussing ADPKD and Transplant experience), Tamara shares her experiences with:
1. Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease,
2. 2 years of Dialysis,
3. a diagnosis of Kidney cancer, and
4. Receiving a Successful deceased donor Kidney Transplant

Tamara is a graduate of Braxton School of Business

All About Kidney Stones: Causes, Types, Treatment and Prevention

4:00 p.m. ET

Mike Spigler, MCHES

Vice President of Patient Support & Education, American Kidney Fund

Mike Spigler has served as Vice President of Patient Support & Education for the American Kidney Fund (AKF) since July 2015. Mr. Spigler oversees a spectrum of programs and services: prevention activities, top-rated health educational resources, clinical research and direct financial assistance that enables kidney patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

Mr. Spigler has more than 20 years of experience in creating and managing health education programs for a multitude of chronic health conditions, including kidney disease, cancer, food allergies and anxiety disorders. In 2011, he was among the first group of health educators named Master Certified Health Education Specialists by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

Prior to joining AKF, Mr. Spigler served as vice president of education for Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a nonprofit organization in Northern Virginia that sought to improve the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies.

This is Mr. Spigler’s second time working for the American Kidney Fund. He also served as AKF’s director of public education from 2003–08 before moving to Boston to serve as the program director of the International OCD Foundation.

Mr. Spigler is a proud alumnus of the University of Maryland, College Park in College Park, MD.

Kim Hollander

Executive Director, Oxalosis & Hyperoxaluria Foundation

Kim Hollander has a track record of success in orphan disease that spans over 20+ years of leadership. As Executive Director of the Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation (OHF), she is responsible for driving the vision, strategy and innovative thinking, as well as overseeing daily operations. Ms. Hollander specializes in research strategies and building relationships with advocacy groups, regulatory agencies, bio-tech, professional and patient communities to improve the care and treatment for all forms of Hyperoxaluria. In addition, Kim manages expansion of OHF initiatives into international markets and creates programming to enhance development efforts. Kim is the recipient of multiple awards for her co-production Primary Hyperoxaluria Children’s Video Series titled, PH1ofaKind. Ms. Hollander served on the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) from 2013-2016.
Ms. Hollander graduated with honors and earned a BS from West Virginia University.

John C. Lieske, MD

Nephrologist & Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic Division of Nephrology and Hypertension

Dr. Lieske is a nephrologist and Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Lieske has a long-standing interest in urinary stone disease and urinary proteomics and the evaluation of kidney function. Over the last decade he has completed clinical trials evaluating the effect of diet, probiotics, phosphate binders, vasopressin antagonism, and small inhibitory RNA in groups of urinary stone disease patients with and without primary or enteric hyperoxaluria. In addition to his active nephrology practice, Dr. Lieske is medical director of the Nephrology Program in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic that coordinates all kidney related testing, including those related to the diagnosis and treatment of kidney stone patients. Dr. Lieske is director of the Rare Kidney Stone Consortium and site PI for the NIH-funded United States Urinary Stone Disease Research Network Mayo Clinic site.

David Sas, DO, MPH

Pediatric Nephrologist, Mayo Clinic

Dr. David Sas is a Pediatric Nephrologist at Mayo Clinic who specializes in urinary stone disease, especially rare, genetic forms of urinary stone disease. At Mayo Clinic, he is also the Co-Director of the Renal Laboratory, Co-Director of Pediatric Program in the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Director of Patient Experience for Pediatrics, and Director of the Patient and Family Advisory Council. In 2014, he joined the faculty at Mayo Clinic and further established his expertise in urinary stone disease and genetics.

LeighAnn Saylor

Founder & Executive Director of Mulligans Living Kidney Donors, American Kidney Fund Ambassador

LeighAnn Saylor is the Founder and Executive Director of Mulligans Living Kidney Donors. A non-profit located in Louisville, Kentucky dedicated to helping individuals living with Terminal End Stage Renal Failure (ESRD) get their lives back through Living Kidney Donor Transplantation.
LeighAnn grew up in the Louisville, Kentucky and attended The University of Louisville and went on to a successful career in Real estate.

While attending the University of Louisville, she met her husband, Michael, and they were married in 1987.

She was determined to have a “NORMAL” adult life but learned right away that what she thought of as NORMAL, was not going to be in the plans. Mike broke his neck just 3 weeks after they were married in a car accident and LeighAnn had to grow up overnight. Miraculously, he made a full recovery after 6 months and they went on to raise 3 amazing sons.

In 2009, Mike was diagnosed with ESRD (end stage renal failure) at 42 years old and given 5 to 10 years to live on dialysis. This shook the family to the core right in the middle of the best years of their lives. LeighAnn took Mike to the Mayo Clinic where she learned that a Living Kidney Donor Transplant would save his life and keep him off of dialysis. She quickly found out that navigating through the Transplant journey is extremely difficult as there was no guidance available. LeighAnn had to figure out how to navigate the road to finding a Living Donor and get approved for Transplant on her own.

LeighAnn knew God had been preparing her and making her strong her entire life for a purpose. He put Soldiers in her path that if not for them, Mike would not have survived. Not believing in coincidences, it was now up her to use her knowledge to help the Voiceless. She has dedicated the rest of her life to eradicating the waiting list for Kidneys through Living Donation. In nine years, she and her organization have helped to facilitate 75 + Kidney Transplants.

LeighAnn is a public speaker and educates on the importance of Living Kidney Donors across the country. She was awarded the Prestigious Bell Award by WLKY & The Spirit of Louisville. She is an Ambassador for the American Kidney Fund, a coach for the National Kidney Registry and has received the commission of Kentucky Colonel (the highest title of honor bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky). She is currently writing her Memoire.
LeighAnn and her husband Mike are very active in their church. Mike is The Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Chapter that he started at St, Margaret Mary Catholic Church. They are also both involved with Habitat for Humanity, Hand in Hand Ministries, Special Olympics, Knights of Columbus, and other local volunteer organizations.

LeighAnn was a competitive dancer, swimmer and diver while growing up and she loves to sew as a hobby.

LeighAnn and Mike share a love for football and travel. They now enjoy spending all of their free time with their family and grandbabies. None of which would be possible if it weren’t for his Living Donor Kidney.

Jamie Lynn Schmitt

Parent & Patient Advocate, Oxalosis & Hyperoxaluria Foundation

Parent Advisor for the Oxalosis & Hyperoxaluria Foundation, Caregiver/ Parent of two Son’s with Primary Hyperoxaluria Type 2. Working to drive engagement, conversation and improvements to treatment surrounding all things Hyperoxaluria!

RE-BROADCAST: Ask “The Cooking Doc:” Q & A with Nephrologist, Dr. Blake Shusterman

5:30 p.m. ET

Melanie Paris, MA MPH

Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Education,
American Kidney Fund

Melanie Paris, MA, MPH, is Senior Director of Health Initiatives and Education at the American Kidney Fund (AKF), located in Rockville, Maryland. Her focus at AKF is creating awareness of kidney disease, its common causes, and effective prevention among at-risk populations throughout the United States. She leads the creation and development of programs and resources for people living with kidney disease, caregivers and healthcare providers.

Melanie joined AKF in 2017 with several years of experience in health program implementation, evaluation and analyses with such companies such as Truven Health Analytics, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the American Heart Association. Melanie is both professionally and personally committed to working as an agent of change to improve public health by encouraging the implementation of interventions that are innovative – yet simple, practical and culturally relevant.

Melanie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language Education and Master’s degrees in both African Studies and Public Health, all from The Ohio State University.

Melanie is the mother of two teenagers and resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Blake Shusterman, MD

Nephrologist & The Cooking Doc

Dr. Blake Shusterman is a Greenville, South Carolina-based nephrologist and cooking enthusiast with a passion for helping his patients enjoy healthy, kidney-friendly foods. Dr. Blake, as he is known, is also the creator of The Cooking Doc®, a popular online cooking show and educational site dedicated to helping people manage their kidney disease through delicious meals. He the author of the book, The Cooking Doc’s Kidney-Healthy Cooking – A Modern 10-Step Guide to Preventing and Managing Kidney Disease.

He is the past-president and physician partner at a large nephrology practice in Greenville. Dr. Blake received his medical degree from The Ohio State University and completed his internal medicine residency and nephrology fellowship at the University of Virginia. As a board-certified nephrologist, he also serves as medical director at multiple dialysis centers and is a clinical assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.

Veterans, Kidney Disease and Diabetes: The Mounting Mental Health Burdens of Managing Chronic Diseases

11:30 a.m. ET

Mike Spigler, MCHES

Vice President of Patient Support & Education, American Kidney Fund

Mike Spigler has served as Vice President of Patient Support & Education for the American Kidney Fund (AKF) since July 2015. Mr. Spigler oversees a spectrum of programs and services: prevention activities, top-rated health educational resources, clinical research and direct financial assistance that enables kidney patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

Mr. Spigler has more than 20 years of experience in creating and managing health education programs for a multitude of chronic health conditions, including kidney disease, cancer, food allergies and anxiety disorders. In 2011, he was among the first group of health educators named Master Certified Health Education Specialists by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

Prior to joining AKF, Mr. Spigler served as vice president of education for Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a nonprofit organization in Northern Virginia that sought to improve the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies.

This is Mr. Spigler’s second time working for the American Kidney Fund. He also served as AKF’s director of public education from 2003–08 before moving to Boston to serve as the program director of the International OCD Foundation.

Mr. Spigler is a proud alumnus of the University of Maryland, College Park in College Park, MD.

Angela Giles DBH, LCSW

National Project Coordinator & Veteran Health Administration Social Work Progrm

Dr. Angela Giles, DBH, LCSW is a National Project Coordinator on special assignment, for the VA National Social Work in Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT) Staffing Program, in the National Social Work Program Office, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She graduated from the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University with a Doctor of Behavioral Health degree. Her clinical focus is behavioral health, evidenced-based interventions, mental health, chronic disease, and health outcomes for the Veteran population. She has worked for the VA for 15 years and has served as a Behavioral Health Consultant with the Primary Care Mental Health Integration Program.

In addition to the VA, Dr. Giles has been a faculty member in the Doctor Behavioral Health program at Arizona State University for 7 years.

Understanding IgA Nephropathy (IgAN)

1:00 p.m. ET

Tamara Ruggiero, MEd

Vice President of Communications and Marketing, American Kidney Fund

Since 2005, Tamara Ruggiero has developed and led the American Kidney Fund’s marketing and communications team. After growing up with a father on dialysis, she is passionately dedicated to ensuring that AKF’s external communications and marketing campaigns are informed by the authentic patient voice and perspective. Under her leadership, AKF has developed an authoritative, top-tier kidney website with nearly 18 million annual page views; launched a nationwide patient Advocacy Network that today numbers more than 16,000 members; created an engaging, supportive social media platform that reaches 1.5 million people monthly; instituted creative new programs such as the Living Donor Protection Report Card; and created a media relations program generating more than 2 billion annual media impressions. Ms. Ruggiero is honored to lead a talented and dedicated team who have partnered with colleagues across the organization to produce campaigns and materials that received 26 national awards in 2020.

A journalist by training, Ms. Ruggiero held a range of communications and marketing positions before joining AKF, working for a large DC-area hospital system, a national human resources association, major textbook publishers, and a daily newspaper where she was a reporter and editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University and a master’s degree in education from Mount Saint Mary’s University.

Johnathan Barratt, PhD, FRCP

Professor of Renal Medicine, University of Leicester, UK

My research is focused on a bench to bedside approach to improving our understanding of the pathogenesis of IgA nephropathy a common global cause of kidney failure. I am the IgA nephropathy Rare Disease Group lead for the UK National Registry of Rare Kidney Diseases (RaDaR) and a member of the steering committee for the International IgA Nephropathy Network. I work closely with pharmaceutical companies interested in new treatments for IgA nephropathy, and am Chief Investigator for a number of international randomized controlled Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials in IgA nephropathy. I was a member of the FDA and American Society of Nephrology Kidney Health Initiative: Identifying Surrogate Endpoints for Clinical Trials in IgA Nephropathy Work group. I am a co-Chair of the UK Glomerulonephritis Clinical Study Group and was IgA nephropathy lead for the recent revision of the KDIGO Clinical Practice Guidelines for Glomerular Diseases.

Joseph Michael Byrne

Health promotion Project Officer, US Army Public Health Center

Joseph Byrne is a Husband, Father, Friend and two-time kidney transplant recipient. He is a US Army combat veteran who served as a Combat Engineer and continues to serve as a Health Promotion Project Officer with the Army Public Health Center. He was diagnosed in 1998 with IgA Nephropathy and subsequently undergone peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis as well as two transplants at the National Institutes of Health. Those challenges, along with the support of his family and friends, have helped him to appreciate the opportunities that lie ahead. Spending time outdoors and competing in triathlons, swimming, traveling abroad and enjoying nature are all driving forces in his life. Over the past 20+ years he has been fortunate to live a rigorous and fulfilling life due to the many achievements and advancements in medicine. He has spent the past five years living in Germany leading resiliency and quality of life initiatives for Soldiers, families, and civilians stationed in Europe.

Stuart Miller

Director of Strategic Planning & Government Affairs, IgAN Foundation

Stuart Miller is an advocate and ambassador for many kidney organizations. Recently, he was appointed as the Director of Strategic Planning and government affairs for the IGAN Foundation. He was diagnosed with IGA Nephropathy in May of 2008. Making some lifestyle changes and with good care from his doctors Stuart was able to manage his IgA until July of 2018. Thanks to his wife Carole and the Paired Kidney Donor Exchange Stuart was able to have a preemptive transplant at Emory Hospital in Atlanta. Stuart and his wife own a Wholesale home décor business. When is not working he enjoys spending time with friends, cooking, and his two dogs (Theodore & Oliver) and following his favorite sports teams from his hometown, Boston. He became an ambassador to help spread the word about organ donation and to encourage patients to become the own advocates and to help work on legislation that will improve the lives of others who live with kidney disease.

What is Hyperkalemia? : Treatment and Management

2:30 p.m. ET

Janelle Gonyea, RDN, LD, FNKF

Clinical Dietitian

Janelle Gonyea received her Dietetics degree from Michigan State University and completed her dietetic internship at Mayo Clinic Hospital – Saint Mary’s Campus in Rochester, Minnesota. She has 30 years of experience as a renal dietitian at the Mayo Clinic, working with all stages of chronic kidney disease and its treatment options. She has authored numerous articles and often speaks on various topics related to renal nutrition. Currently she serves as a committee member for the update of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ National Kidney Diet, co-editor for the 3rd edition of the Clinical Guide to Nutrition Care in Kidney Disease, Medical Review Committee member for the Midwest Kidney Network, member of the American Kidney Fund’s Dietitian Advisory Group and co-editor for the AAKP Delicious! recipe series. Janelle has had a lifelong passion for all things related to Nephrology and enjoys collaborating with others to promote patient advocacy and advancement of care for CKD.

Nieltje Gedney

Executive Director, Home Dialyzors United

Nieltje is the current Executive Director of Home Dialyzors United (HDU), having been past Treasurer and Vice President of HDU for over 5 years. She comes to HDU as an 8-year solo home hemodialyzor, and 20 years of pro-actively managing CKD due to AKI. Active in the Policy and Advocacy Committee, she has spoken at numerous events including the Alliance for Home Dialysis, American Kidney Fund, National Kidney Foundation, SONG, Annual Dialysis Conference, The Kidney Project and Kidney Health Initiative (KHI), ANNA and Kidney Week. She is a contributor at Kidney Views Blog, CJASN, and Seminars in Nephrology as well.

Nieltje’s patient advocacy stems from experience on Capitol Hill beginning at 16, where she learned that power in numbers can bring about change.

Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, MD, MPH, PhD, FACP, FASN, FAAP, FAHA, FNKF

Professor and Chief of Nephrology & Hypertension at the University of California, Irvine

Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, (a.k.a. Dr. Kam Kalantar) is a triple board-certified physician who studied medicine in Germany and received his MPH and PhD degrees in Epidemiology from the University of California Berkeley, School of Public Health. He trained at SUNY Brooklyn and UCSF, and is board certified in Internal Medicine, Nephrology and Pediatrics.

Dr. Kalantar is currently professor and chief of Nephrology & Hypertension at the University of California, Irvine. He has authored over 600 publications and has had several grants from the National Institutes of Health. He is a member of the international steering committee of the World Kidney Day and immediate past president of the International Society of Renal Nutrition & Metabolism.

My Journey Living with Kidney Disease: Patient Perspectives

4:00 p.m. ET

Jemetra Collins

Director of Professional Education, American Kidney Fund

Jemetra Collins, is Director of Professional Education at the American Kidney Fund (AKF). Jemetra joined AKF in 2016, with more than 10 years of combined experience in healthcare administration at local and state government, private and non-profit organizations.
In her role at AKF, she supervises the development, operations, and external relations of AKF’s professional education programs, resources, and activities.

Jemetra holds a Bachelor of Science degree in healthcare administration from Langston University.

Charlie Ball

American Kidney Fund Ambassador, Living Kidney Donor

Charlie Ball donated his kidney to a high school classmate 4 years ago and joins us in this session to share his story. This transplant story all starts with an email Charlie received from his classmate, Kenny. sharing information about living donation and his need for a kidney at the time. This experience has changed Charlie’s life and he is passionate about sharing his story with others. Charlie lives in California and is an advocate for living donation through Donate Life Organization.

Dennis Harris

Previous Peritoneal Dialysis Patient, Kidney and Pancreas Transplant recipient

I am Dennis Harris, a previous peritoneal dialysis patient and the recipient of a living donor kidney (7/11/12 from my wife) and a pancreas recipient (12/10/15). I am a lifelong educator (health and physical education teacher 22 years) and high school football coach. I am very passionate about raising awareness of kidney disease, organ donation and transplantation.

Kristal Higgins

American Kidney Fund Ambassador, Living with Kidney Disease

My kidney transplant failed in 2017 and it changed my life. I resumed hemodialysis and began spending more time in the hospital. I was let go from a job that I loved. I lost my job, my kidney transplant and my private health care coverage but I did not lose hope. I decided to take a break from working and focus on myself and my family. I got married and moved from New York to Mississippi to get a fresh start. I went back to school and got a new job in Mississippi. I sought flexibility in my dialysis treatment schedule and decided to give home hemodialysis a try. I have been happy on home hemodialysis since. I have more time, energy and strength to do the things I love.

Julie K. Spears

Kidney Health Coach

Julie Spears has lived with stage 3 kidney disease for 20 years, an experience that has shaped her career as an educator and advocate for kidney patients.

She worked with DaVita for 17 years under the DVP. Her focus was on advocacy, early awareness, community & patient education.
Now Julie works as a certified health coach. She combines years of kidney knowledge with life experience and her lessons from living daily in trauma and grief.

She is doing what she wishes was available for every patient starting the CKD journey. “I work with patients as individuals. We sit down – one-on-one – to identify what they need and can achieve daily to improve their health.

She guides others toward desired change to step into the boldest version of themselves by sharing tools and resources for understanding healthcare needs and planning for next steps with the healthcare team.

She received her undergraduate in social work from Troy State University and attended the Health Coach Institute.

Closing Remarks from the American Kidney Fund

5:30 p.m. ET

LaVarne A. Burton

President & Chief Executive Officer, American Kidney Fund

LaVarne Burton is President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Kidney Fund (AKF). She has led AKF since 2005, propelling the organization to many notable milestones to support the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, with programs addressing early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy.

Ms. Burton previously served as Executive Secretary to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she managed policy development and regulations and was advisor to the Secretary of the federal government’s largest domestic agency. Before that, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget Policy at HHS and as Senior Analyst to the Budget Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. She also was President of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), the national trade association representing pharmacy benefit managers.

Ms. Burton received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and Master of Arts from George Washington University.

Thank you to our Kidney Action Week Sponsors!

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Fighting on All Fronts

AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with and at risk for kidney disease. From prevention to life after a transplant, AKF supports people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease.

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