Next month, Johns Hopkins University Associate Professor Tanjala S. Purnell, PhD, MPH, FASN will receive the National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF) Excellence in Transplantation Award at the 2023 NKF Spring Clinical Meetings in Austin, TX. This award recognizes the scientist or clinician scientist whose exceptional research has contributed novel insights to improved access to kidney transplantation.
“I am truly honored to receive this tremendous award for my research to advance equity in kidney transplantation,” Dr. Purnell said. “I dedicate this award to family members I have lost due to kidney failure, and I promise to continue working to promote kidney health equity for all.”
Dr. Purnell is an epidemiologist and health services researcher with more than a decade of experience focused on promoting equity in kidney health, transplantation, and organ donation in the United States. She is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Surgery at Johns Hopkins University, where she serves as the Founding Director of The B.O.L.D. Health Equity Initiative; Director of Education for the Brancati Center for the Advancement of Community Care; and Executive Director of the Health Freedom Path to Wellness Program.
“Dr. Purnell’s research work has not only highlighted inequities in transplantation but identified modifiable factors such as referral to transplant or distance from transplant centers where there is still work to be done. She is also dedicated to the education of future scientists,” said NKF President Sylvia E. Rosas, MD, MSCE. “Achieving equity in kidney transplantation is an important initiative of the National Kidney Foundation.”
She is a member of the National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF) Transplant Advisory Committee, which is a leadership council comprised of clinicians, healthcare leaders, patients, and living donors dedicated to improving processes and finding solutions to accelerate kidney donation and transplantation for anyone that needs it. In addition, Dr. Purnell is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP), and a member of the Governing Board for the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland. She is also Co-Chair of the Education Workgroup for the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Health Care Justice Committee. Dr. Purnell is the Immediate Past Chair of the American Society for Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and was the inaugural recipient of the ASTS Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. She also served as the Region 2 Representative on the OPTN/UNOS Minority Affairs Committee.
Each year NKF considers the work of hundreds of specialists in the field of Nephrology and selects among them those who most exemplify the relentless efforts of NKF to enhance the lives of patients through action, education, and accelerating change. The prestigious awards are presented to the recipients during the annual gathering of clinicians and kidney health professionals at the 2023 NKF Spring Clinical Meetings, which will be held from April 11-15, in Austin, TX.
NKF Spring Clinical Meetings
For the past 31 years, nephrology healthcare professionals from across the country have come to NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings to learn about the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice; network with colleagues; and present their research findings. The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are designed for meaningful change in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams’ skills, performance, and patient health outcomes. It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on translating science into practice for the entire healthcare team.
About Kidney Disease
In the United States, more than 37 million adults are estimated to have kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it. About 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black or African American people are about four times as likely as White people to have kidney failure. Hispanics experience kidney failure at about double the rate of White people.