The American Society of Nephrology will award the President’s Medal to Congressional Kidney Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., and Rep. Jim McDermott, MD, D-Wash. The two members of Congress will receive the award in a ceremony at the society’s annual meeting, ASN Kidney Week 2014, Saturday, Nov. 15. This honor recognizes their contributions to championing the cause of patients with kidney disease and raising awareness of the need for more research funding to develop needed cures.
Both Congressmen have deep personal interests in kidney conditions. Rep. Marino is a three-time survivor of kidney cancer and has had multiple nephrectomies. Rep. McDermott is not only a medical doctor, but he trained with his friend the legendary Belding Scribner, MD, in Seattle when dialysis was being developed in that city. Rep. McDermott co-founded the Congressional Kidney Caucus in 2002 to educate members of Congress and the public about the problem kidney disease poses for society and the federal government’s role in providing access to life-sustaining treatment for those with severe disease.
“ASN applauds the work of the Congressional Kidney Caucus and its leadership,” said ASN President Sharon M. Moe, MD, FASN. “Rep. McDermott and Rep. Marino have made enormous contributions to improve the lives of patients with kidney disease and we are grateful to their commitment to the kidney community.”
As co-chairs of the Congressional Kidney Caucus, Reps. Marino and McDermott have raised awareness of kidney disease and the importance of increased investment in kidney research on Capitol Hill. They provided crucial early support for the Kidney Health Initiative and frequently serve as honorary co-hosts of ASN congressional briefings on kidney disease research. Both have supported home dialysis patients by encouraging the Secretary of Health & Human Services to update training payments for home dialysis and Rep. McDermott requested a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the key factors that affect home dialysis use. Rep. Marino recently supported ASN’s research advocacy efforts by requesting a GAO report assessing the adequacy of the federal investment in research to combat kidney disease compared to the cost of care.
“By sharing my personal experiences with other members of Congress, I hope to increase the awareness and understanding of the circumstances that face millions of Americans who suffer from kidney disease,” said Rep. Marino. A former U.S. attorney with a background in manufacturing. He joined Congress in 2010.
“Given my longstanding personal interest in kidney disease and that I represent Seattle, the birthplace of dialysis, I am honored to be receiving this important award from ASN. I commend the society and its members for their commitment to treating, researching, and advocating to improve the lives of those affected by kidney disease.” After completing his medical training, Rep. McDermott joined the U.S. Navy before specializing in psychiatry at the University of Washington Medical Center. He was soon elected to the state legislature, and split his time to continue to practice medicine. Rep McDermott joined Congress in 1988 and is serving his 12th term. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, enabling him to play an influential role in a wide range of issues, including Medicare.