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Dr. Johansen Receives NKF J. Michael Lazarus Award for Dedication to Kidney Health

Each year the National Kidney Foundation (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.

NKF presents this award each year to honor Dr. J. Michael Lazarus for his major contributions to the clinical science and care of dialysis patients, and to recognize individuals whose research has yielded novel insights related to renal replacement therapy.

This year’s recipient is Kirsten L. Johansen, MD, FASN, Nephrology Division Director, Hennepin County Medical Center, Co-Director, Chronic Disease Research Group, Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota, for her focus on physical function among patients with end-stage kidney disease and interventions to improve it, and epidemiology of kidney disease with an emphasis on racial and ethnic disparities in progression of chronic kidney disease and access to kidney transplantation.

“I am extremely honored to have even been considered for this award, no less to receive it,” Dr. Johansen said. “I am as ever before committed to making a difference to patients with kidney disease and honestly, to make sure that someday I am deserving of this recognition.”

Dr. Johansen received her medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine and completed her residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and her fellowship training at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the 11th recipient of this top honor.

“Dr. Johansen’s research has direct impact on how we can improve the care of patients with kidney disease, to decrease the effects of debility and improve their physical function and quality of life,” said NKF President Dr. Paul Palevsky. “She is also committed to mentoring the next generation of nephrology investigators. Her ebullient personality and enthusiasm for her work impacts everyone who works with her. I am honored to present Kirsten this lectureship in Dr. Lazarus’ name.”

NKF will honor all award winners at the 2021 Spring Clinical Meetings, which will be held virtually April 6-10.

“I really enjoy attending these meetings. Being involved with the planning committee many years ago gave me a close-up view of the creativity that goes into developing the content,” Dr. Johansen said. “The Spring Clinical Meetings are consistently excellent, with presentations that integrate the latest clinical science and are timely and relevant to my practice. I also enjoy this meeting because of the attendance of trainees at the residency and fellowship levels. This is a wonderful way to introduce them to nephrology, and it makes me happy to participate in that process in any way I can.”

Kidney Disease Facts

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. is at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People who are Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black or African American people are almost 4 times more likely than Whites to have kidney failure. Hispanic or Latino people are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic or non-Latino people to have kidney failure.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S.

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