National Kidney Foundation honours Johns Hopkins’ Tanjala Purnell for transplantation research


Next month, Tanjala S Purnell (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA) will receive the National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF) Excellence in Transplantation Award at the 2023 NKF Spring Clinical Meetings in Austin, USA. This award recognises the scientist or clinician scientist whose exceptional research has contributed novel insights to improved access to kidney transplantation.

“I am truly honoured to receive this tremendous award for my research to advance equity in kidney transplantation,” 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.”

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 USA. She is an associate professor of epidemiology and surgery at Johns Hopkins University, where she serves as the founding director of the BOLD 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.

“Purnell’s research work has not only highlighted inequities in transplantation but identified modifiable factors such as referral to transplant or distance from transplant centres where there is still work to be done. She is also dedicated to the education of future scientists,” said NKF President Sylvia E Rosas (Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, USA). “Achieving equity in kidney transplantation is an important initiative of the NKF.”

She is a member of the NKF’s 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, 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. 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 Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS) Minority Affairs Committee.

Each year the 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 the NKF to enhance the lives of patients through action, education, and accelerating change. The prestigious awards will be presented to the recipients during the annual gathering of clinicians and kidney health professionals at the 2023 NKF Spring Clinical Meetings (11–15 April, Austin, USA).


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