In July 2019, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to launch the Advancing American Kidney Health (AAKH) initiative, creating an unprecedented focus on kidney disease, while also shifting the focus to kidney health. The executive order articulates a unified strategy that will guide the efforts of ASN and the kidney community to improve every aspect of kidney care, research, and education.
For more than a decade, ASN has worked to build bipartisan support throughout all parts of the U.S. government—including the White House, all relevant agencies, and both chambers of Congress—for people with kidney disease, their caregivers, and researchers aiming to eradicate it. As part of this effort, ASN has worked closely with countless professionals at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which demonstrated a commitment to ASN’s mission and sense of responsibility to the 37 million Americans living with kidney diseases. Together, we partnered to establish the Kidney Health Initiative in 2012, Nephrologists Transforming Dialysis Safety in 2016, and KidneyX in 2018. With the president’s Executive Order, our work continues.
The ASN President’s 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 AAKH initiative, ASN is presenting the President’s Medal to the administration officials listed here 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.
Alex M. Azar II was sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services on Jan. 29, 2018. Mr. Azar has spent his career working in both the public and private sectors, as an attorney and in senior leadership roles focused on advancing healthcare reform, research, and innovation.
From 2001 to 2007, Mr. Azar served at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—first as its General Counsel (2001–2005) and then as Deputy Secretary. During his time as Deputy Secretary, Mr. Azar was involved in improving the department’s operations, advancing its emergency preparedness and response capabilities as well as its global health affairs activities, and helping oversee the rollout of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.
In 2007, Mr. Azar rejoined the private sector as senior vice president for corporate affairs and communications at Eli Lilly and Co. From 2012 to 2017, he served as president of Lilly USA LLC, the company’s largest affiliate.
Mr. Azar clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia prior to practicing law for several years. He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics and government from Dartmouth College and earned his law degree from Yale University.
Eric D. Hargan is Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS is dedicated to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the American people, and as the largest department in the federal government has an annual budget in excess of $1.3 trillion and over 80,000 employees across 26 divisions. As Deputy Secretary, he is the Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations and management of the department in addition to leading policy and strategy development.
Mr. Hargan was sworn into office as Deputy Secretary on October 6, 2017. He immediately served as Acting Secretary of HHS from October 2017 to January 2018.
From 2003 to 2007, Mr. Hargan served at HHS in a variety of capacities, including Acting Deputy Secretary. During his tenure at HHS, Mr. Hargan also served as the department’s Regulatory Policy Officer, where he oversaw the development and approval of all HHS, CMS, and FDA regulations and guidances.
He received his B.A. cum laude from Harvard University, and his J.D. from Columbia University Law School, where he was senior editor of the Columbia Law Review. Between his tours of duty at HHS, Mr. Hargan taught at Loyola Law School in Chicago, focusing on administrative law and healthcare regulations.
Adam Boehler is Senior Advisor, HHS Secretary; Deputy Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; and Director, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.
Widely regarded as an innovative leader in the private sector, Mr. Boehler founded and was CEO of several successful large businesses and was a leader at two international investment firms.
Mr. Boehler was the founder and CEO of Landmark Health. Landmark is the largest home-based medical group in the country, with over 1000 employees across 20 locations in the United States and India and 80,000 chronic patients under management. He co-founded Imagine Health, Landmark’s wholly owned subsidiary in India.
Mr. Boehler was an Operating Partner at Francisco Partners, a $14 billion global investment firm with offices in San Francisco and London. He focused on new and existing investments both domestically and abroad.
He was a Principal at Accretive, LLC, a private equity firm based in New York. Prior to joining Accretive, Mr. Boehler was Executive Vice President and General Manager at MedeAnalytics, a leading global provider of SaaS analytics. He started and managed Mede’s European operations, headquartered in London, and led product innovation with over 200 engineers in Ukraine and Hungary.
Mr. Boehler worked at Battery Ventures, a global technology–focused venture capital firm with over $2 billion under management and offices in Boston, Silicon Valley, London, and Israel. He focused on investments in software and emerging technologies in the United States and Israel.
Mr. Boehler graduated magna cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Admiral Brett P. Giroir, MD, was sworn in as Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on February 15, 2018. He leads development of HHS-wide public health policy recommendations and oversees 11 core public health offices—including the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
Dr. Giroir is a physician, scientist, and innovator. He serves as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Opioid Policy. In this capacity, he is responsible for coordinating HHS’s efforts across the administration to fight America’s opioid crisis.
From 2014 to 2015, Dr. Giroir chaired the Veteran’s Choice Act Blue Ribbon Panel to reform the U.S. Veterans Health Administration. During the Ebola emergency, he directed the Texas Task Force on Infectious and Disease Preparedness Response.
He was executive vice president and CEO of Texas A&M’s Health Science Center from 2013 to 2015, having earlier served as vice chancellor of strategic initiatives (2011–2013) and vice chancellor for research (2008–2011) for the entire Texas A&M University system. A pediatric critical care physician and a former member of the American Board of Pediatrics, Dr. Giroir cared for critically ill children for 14 years and was the first chief medical officer of Children’s Medical Center of Dallas (now Children’s Health).
Dr. Giroir has authored or co-authored almost 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications and holds patents on a number of biomedical inventions. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the U.S. Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service and the American Heart Association’s President Lyndon Baines Johnson Research Award.
He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard University in 1982 and a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas) in 1986.
Sandeep Patel currently serves as the Open Innovation Manager in the Immediate Office of the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he co-founded and led the public-private partnership Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX) to advance innovation and diagnostic and therapeutic tools for kidney disease, and helped craft the administration’s Advancing American Kidney Health initiative.
He has also built a $50 million program to spur innovation through use of prizes and challenges to catalyze new product development in health. Mr. Patel is singularly focused on ensuring that advances in science and technology are utilized for public benefit, leveraging his experience in research, policy, and product development, including his time at the National Academy of Sciences, Thomson Reuters, and several startup companies. He holds a PhD in physical chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BA in chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis.
Murray Sheldon, MD, received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1975. He completed his general surgical residency with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and his cardiovascular fellowships at the University of California, Davis, and the Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center in New York. In 1983, he entered private practice as a staff surgeon in several medical centers in northern California. His career led him to the medical device industry, where he led device development projects and provided expertise to numerous device development firms.
From 2003 to 2009, Dr. Sheldon was medical director for Arbor Surgical Technologies, which developed a unique two-piece, sutureless aortic valve for clinical aortic valve replacement that was sold to Medtronic. Prior to joining FDA, he was the medical director for the minimally invasive surgical program at BioVentrix, Inc., and developed a catheter-based procedure for surgical ventricular reconstruction for heart failure patients. That device recently received two 510(k) clearances.
Dr. Sheldon joined the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2013 as the Associate Director for Technology and Innovation. He oversees the center’s initiatives to proactively facilitate medical device innovation to address unmet public health needs. His primary focus is working with staff, the medical device industry, the clinical community, and other stakeholders on ways to facilitate bringing innovative medical devices to patients. Dr. Sheldon currently leads the Center for Devices and Radiologic Health Payer Communication Task Force, identifying methods to streamline the path from FDA approval to coverage and reimbursement.
Ed Simcox is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As CTO, Mr. Simcox provides leadership and direction to ensure that HHS effectively leverages data, technology, and innovation to improve the lives of the American people and the performance of the operating divisions across the department. Mr. Simcox has been working at the intersection of healthcare and technology for 18 years.
Prior to joining HHS, Mr. Simcox served as the Healthcare Practice Leader at Logicalis, an international IT service provider and consultancy with over 300 healthcare clients in the United States. In this role, he led the strategy, solution development, and consulting for the U.S. healthcare sector.
Prior to joining Logicalis, Mr. Simcox was director of U.S. healthcare strategy, partnerships, and product development for AT&T. Before joining AT&T, he held multiple leadership roles at Indiana University Health, a large U.S. healthcare system with 19 hospitals, 50 physician groups, and annual revenue of over $6 billion. Mr. Simcox served as the CTO at Indiana University, and prior to that, as Director of Business Innovations, an internal innovation incubator and design lab. He was awarded ComputerWorld’s Laureate medal for leading a project that achieved $5 million in savings through the design and implementation of innovative IT solutions in the inpatient healthcare setting. During Mr. Simcox’s time as CTO, Indiana University Health received Hospitals and Health Networks’ “Most Wired Hospital” award based in part on his team’s work with emerging technologies.
As the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Seema Verma oversees a $1 trillion budget, representing 26% of the total federal budget, and administers health coverage programs for more than 130 million Americans. She was nominated by President Trump on November 29, 2016—the seventh nomination by the President-elect—and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 13, 2017.
The Administrator has set a bold agenda to empower patients and transform the healthcare system to deliver better value and results for patients through competition and innovation. CMS will focus all of its efforts on 16 strategic initiatives across Medicare, Medicaid, and the Exchanges to move the healthcare delivery system toward value.
Administrator Verma is a graduate of the University of Maryland and holds a master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in health policy and management from Johns Hopkins University. Her editorial commentaries have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, and Health Affairs, and she also previously served as Vice President of Planning for the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana. Most recently before heading CMS, she was President and CEO of SVC, Inc.
James T. Parker is Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Health Reform, a role he accepted in May 2018. In this capacity, Parker works with Secretary Alex M. Azar II to guide the development and implementation of health policies that will improve America’s health system.
Mr. Parker brings to this role over 30 years of executive-level experience in healthcare and healthcare policy. He spent much of his professional career with Anthem, where he held several senior executive P&L and staff leadership roles. Immediately prior to joining HHS, Mr. Parker led the turnaround of MDwise, an Indiana-based Medicaid managed care organization, and served as President of IU Health Plans, an affiliate of Indianapolis-based IU Health, a top 20 health system headquartered in Indianapolis.
Abe Sutton is currently a student at Harvard Law School. He previously focused on health policy at the White House and served as Secretary Azar’s Advisor for Value-Based Reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Sutton was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he worked with clients in the healthcare sector, and holds a degree in healthcare management and policy from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been named to Forbes 30 under 30 for Law and Policy.
Nicholas Uehlecke is currently an Advisor in the Immediate Office of the Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, he works on issues including Medicare, Medicaid, general insurance issues, and healthcare reform. Prior to this work, he was on the professional staff at the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means for 8 years, working on issues ranging from Medicare Parts A and B, Medicare Advantage and Part D, and commercial insurance and Affordable Care Act reforms. Before his work on Capitol Hill, Mr. Uehlecke spent nearly three years as an analyst for the Marwood group, working on healthcare as well as other market-related issues. He is a graduate of the University of Richmond.