The National Renal Administrators Association has appointed Valerie Okrend as director of education. In this role, she will work with the NRAA Education Council.

The NRAA said the decision to hire a director of education was unanimous and came as a result of a needs assessment and survey that identified the educational needs of NRAA members and kidney professionals. The survey identified several educational gaps that needed to be filled.

“Her proven track record in developing education for health care trade associations and professional societies makes her a valuable asset to the NRAA.” Said Debbie Cote, president of NRAA. “I am delighted to work alongside Valerie and am confident she will implement effective measures to ensure the NRAA’s vision for its members is realized.”

Okrend will work to enhance current educational offerings and develop innovative learning opportunities and professional resources for those working in the dialysis community. She will be working closely with the Education Council to ensure that NRAA provides quality educational experiences to its members and all programs align with the NRAA strategic plan, according to the organization.

Okrend has more than 15 years of experience managing education programs for physicians, nurses and other health professionals, both nationally and internationally. Prior to joining NRAA, Okrend served as the Director of Continuing Medical Education (CME) for the American College of Rheumatology. She has  planned and managed educational workshops, symposiums and continuous professional development activities, ranging from meetings of up to 25,000 attendees to online activities for the individual learner.

Okrend received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French Language and Culture and a minor in Italian from the University of Maryland, College Park. She went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Education and Human Development from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. She also has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Technology in Warsaw, Poland.  

“A priority in my role as Director of Education is to listen to the needs of our members and those in the greater ESRD community so that the NRAA can be established as the premier educational resource for dialysis providers,” said Okrend. “I come from a family of educators and profoundly believe education is the key to improving lives, especially as it pertains to medical professionals and patients. The knowledge and skills honed through my previous experiences have prepared me for this exciting and challenging role.”