In Case You Missed It: HHS Secretary Alex Azar speaks to open Kidney Week 2019

By ASN Staff

During the first plenary session of Kidney Week 2019, the ASN President’s Medal was awarded by ASN President Dr. Mark E. Rosenberg. The medal recognizes individuals who are not ASN members but who nonetheless have helped to advance ASN’s mission.

In recognition of their work in advancing the Advancing American Kidney Health initiative, ASN presented the President’s Medal to several administration officials for their roles in providing “unprecedented attention and action related to kidney care, research, and innovation within the administration.” Ultimately, without their vision and leadership, the executive order and the national prioritization of kidney health would not have happened. These include:

  • Alex M. Azar II, HHS Secretary
  • Eric D. Hargan, Deputy Secretary
  • Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Adam Boehler, Deputy Administrator for Innovation Policy and Director, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation
  • ADM Brett P. Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health
  • James Parker, Senior Advisor to the Secretary
  • Sandeep Patel, PhD, Open Innovation Manager
  • Murray Sheldon, MD, FDA CDRH, Associate Director of Innovation and Technology
  • Ed Simcox, Chief Technology Officer
  • Abe Sutton, HHS Advisor for Value-Based Reform and White House staff (former)
  • Nick Uehlecke, Advisor


After receiving the awards, Secretary Azar spoke about the AAKH initiative and the historic events that have been put into motion. He stated:

  • In mid-November, “the Health Resources and Services Administration will issue a Request for Information about more effective ways in which modern IT systems may be able to manage allocating organs and handling patient and donor data on a national scale. We especially want to hear from entities that are capable of developing a system that is more effective than the one we have today, and we want to hear from all fields and industries, both non-profit and for-profit.”
  • “Through KidneyX, we’ve made awards to 15 teams across the country to redesign dialysis. We’ve heard from hundreds more teams who are entering the kidney space, recognizing the opportunity to help so many people in need of innovation. Submissions for the second phase of Redesign Dialysis, to bring products to prototype, will open next week... We are issuing [a request for information] about how KidneyX can help bring these advances into human trials. As part of the RFI, we’ve included a new summary of regulatory, coverage, and payment options for a wearable or implantable artificial kidney, including the availability of Fast Track programs at FDA.”
  • “Today, I can also announce that NIH has opened up applications to its small-business innovation research program for the development of new technologies that can further advance us toward this critical goal of an artificial kidney.”
  • “Last week, the FDA awarded a contract to the Kidney Health Initiative for a three-year project that will measure patient preferences and risk tolerance for novel treatments for kidney failure, allowing the FDA to better incorporate patient input into the development and review of new technologies.”


As new programs and efforts are taking shape with support from HHS and the Trump Administration, the outlook of the AAKH initiative and furture innovation in the kidney space is bright.

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ASN Staff
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During the first plenary session of Kidney Week 2019, the ASN President’s Medal was awarded by ASN President Dr. Mark E. Rosenberg. The medal recognizes individuals who are not ASN members but who nonetheless have helped to advance ASN’s mission.

In recognition of their work in advancing the Advancing American Kidney Health initiative, ASN presented the President’s Medal to several administration officials for their roles in providing “unprecedented attention and action related to kidney care, research, and innovation within the administration.” Ultimately, without their vision and leadership, the executive order and the national prioritization of kidney health would not have happened. These include:

  • Alex M. Azar II, HHS Secretary
  • Eric D. Hargan, Deputy Secretary
  • Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Adam Boehler, Deputy Administrator for Innovation Policy and Director, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation
  • ADM Brett P. Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health
  • James Parker, Senior Advisor to the Secretary
  • Sandeep Patel, PhD, Open Innovation Manager
  • Murray Sheldon, MD, FDA CDRH, Associate Director of Innovation and Technology
  • Ed Simcox, Chief Technology Officer
  • Abe Sutton, HHS Advisor for Value-Based Reform and White House staff (former)
  • Nick Uehlecke, Advisor


After receiving the awards, Secretary Azar spoke about the AAKH initiative and the historic events that have been put into motion. He stated:

  • In mid-November, “the Health Resources and Services Administration will issue a Request for Information about more effective ways in which modern IT systems may be able to manage allocating organs and handling patient and donor data on a national scale. We especially want to hear from entities that are capable of developing a system that is more effective than the one we have today, and we want to hear from all fields and industries, both non-profit and for-profit.”
  • “Through KidneyX, we’ve made awards to 15 teams across the country to redesign dialysis. We’ve heard from hundreds more teams who are entering the kidney space, recognizing the opportunity to help so many people in need of innovation. Submissions for the second phase of Redesign Dialysis, to bring products to prototype, will open next week... We are issuing [a request for information] about how KidneyX can help bring these advances into human trials. As part of the RFI, we’ve included a new summary of regulatory, coverage, and payment options for a wearable or implantable artificial kidney, including the availability of Fast Track programs at FDA.”
  • “Today, I can also announce that NIH has opened up applications to its small-business innovation research program for the development of new technologies that can further advance us toward this critical goal of an artificial kidney.”
  • “Last week, the FDA awarded a contract to the Kidney Health Initiative for a three-year project that will measure patient preferences and risk tolerance for novel treatments for kidney failure, allowing the FDA to better incorporate patient input into the development and review of new technologies.”


As new programs and efforts are taking shape with support from HHS and the Trump Administration, the outlook of the AAKH initiative and furture innovation in the kidney space is bright.

Date:
Thursday, November 7, 2019