Public Release: 

Advocates in fight against kidney diseases receive ASN medal at Kidney Week 2017

American Society of Nephrology

New Orleans, LA (Nov. 2, 2017) -- Two longtime advocates for the 40 million Americans affected by kidney diseases recently received national recognition from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) during Kidney Week 2017 for ongoing efforts in the fight to end this serious public health crisis.

Paul T. Conway of Virginia and Richard Knight of Maryland, both longtime kidney disease patients, received ASN's 2017 President's Medal for significantly bettering the lives of kidney patients via years of leadership in numerous patient organizations, in support of professional medical associations. and engagement with both government and industry. Mr. Conway is the President and Mr. Knight is the Vice President and Chair of Public Policy of the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP).

"Both gentlemen are tireless, effective champions passionate about raising public awareness for kidney diseases," said ASN President Eleanor D. Lederer, MD, FASN. "Their contributions to the ASN mission in the advocacy and policy arenas are substantial and consequential, specifically regarding the Kidney Health Initiative, Nephrologists Transforming Dialysis Safety, and annual congressional visits."

Paul T. Conway

Mr. Conway combines a patient's perspective with his substantial career experience. Personally, he's managed kidney disease for more than 36 years -- including peritoneal dialysis treatment, and since 1997 as a kidney transplant recipient. His experiences as a patient make him a well-spoken advocate on issues ranging from access to treatment, provider payment models, and quality of care. He participates as a board member in multiple patient and consumer groups including the Kidney Health Initiative, the United Network for Organ Sharing Kidney Committee, the Center for Dialysis Innovation at the University of Washington and is the Chair of the national Patient Access to Pain Relief Coalition.

Professionally, Mr. Conway's work includes the development of government regulatory policies and legislative implementation strategies. He was recently named by the Food and Drug Administration as the Chair of the new FDA Patient Engagement Advisory Committee (PEAC). He has served under four U.S. presidents and three governors, with past federal posts including Chief of Staff at both the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and as an agency Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he received the DHS Secretary's Silver Medal for exceptionally meritorious service to America. He also worked as a Special Assistant in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and in several high-level posts for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Richard Knight

Mr. Knight is a former hemodialysis patient and kidney transplant recipient. In his professional public policy and Congressional operations career, he served in various roles on Capitol Hill, in communications, as a legislative director, and a liaison to the Congressional Black Caucus. Mr. Knight currently is a Washington, DC, area small business owner and consultant for healthcare organizations and businesses.

Like Mr. Conway, Mr. Knight combines his patient perspective and professional expertise on numerous technical panels, including CMS's panel focusing on Emergency Department Hospital Readmissions. He is a founding member of the End Stage Renal Disease Health Information Technology Project administered by the National Renal Administrators Association and the End Stage Renal Disease Forum. Among his other council positions, Mr. Knight's most recent appointments are to the National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Advisory Council and the Steering Committee of the NIDDK Kidney Precision Medicine Project. He is vice president of the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) and chair of the Public Policy Committee.

ASN Executive Director Tod Ibrahim notes that this dynamic pair more than deserves the 2017 President's Medal, "for redefining the role of patient advocate." He lauded their efforts to keep the topic of kidney disease at the forefront of conversations among the public, policymakers, politicians, and the press. Ibrahim added, "Their leadership bolsters the kidney community's efforts regarding quality care -- which includes increasing much-needed funding for important kidney research and treatment innovations."

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Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has nearly 17,000 members representing 112 countries. For more information, please visit http://www.asn-online.org or contact the society at 202-640-4660.

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