Northwest Kidney Centers will present the 2015 Clyde Shields Distinguished Service Award to U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Kidney Caucus.

The award will be presented Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, at Northwest Kidney Centers Seattle dialysis clinic. A reception is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m., with the ceremony at 1:30 p.m. The public is welcome for the ceremony, which will include light refreshments and tours of the home dialysis training and support area.

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“There is no more long-term, vocal, loyal and patient-centered Congressional supporter of kidney patients than Rep. McDermott,” said Joyce F. Jackson, Northwest Kidney Centers president and CEO.

In 2002, McDermott co-founded the bipartisan Congressional Kidney Caucus, and he continues to co-chair it. The caucus aims 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.

He has authored many letters of support to Congressional colleagues, co-sponsored kidney legislation, and reached out to Medicare, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and others to advocate for programs that support patients, especially those on home dialysis. He has visited Northwest Kidney Centers facilities multiple times and he has spoken often to kidney patient groups in Seattle.

A psychiatrist, McDermott trained with and became a friend of Dr. Belding Scribner in the early days of dialysis. Scribner invented a device to make long-term dialysis possible, and Clyde Shields, namesake for the award, was the first patient to use it.

McDermott serves as senior member of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, ranking member of its subcommittee on health, and senior member of the House Budget Committee. In his 12th term, his seniority enables him to play an influential role in a wide range of issues, including Medicare.

McDermott provided early support for the Kidney Health Initiative and frequently serves as host of congressional briefings on kidney disease research. He has supported home dialysis patients by encouraging the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to update training payments for home dialysis. He requested a Government Accountability Office report on the key factors that affect home dialysis use.

Clyde Shields, first long-term dialysis patient

The award is named for machinist Clyde Shields, who in March 1960 became the first person in the world to receive dialysis on an ongoing basis. Mr. Shields received the first Scribner shunt, a breakthrough dialysis delivery method developed in Seattle. Although Mr. Shields’ kidneys had failed – a death sentence before the innovation – the shunt and regular dialysis helped him survive another 11 years. His courage as a research subject made possible great advances in kidney treatment.

His sons Jim and Tom Shields will make the presentation.