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Dr. Paul Whelton to receive National Kidney Foundation’s prestigious 2021 David M. Hume Memorial Award

December 18, 2020 2:00 PM

Photo of Dr. Paul Whelton

Dr. Paul K. Whelton, Show Chwan Health System Endowed Chair in Global Public Health at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, will receive the National Kidney Foundation’s 2021 David M. Hume Memorial Award.

Each year the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) considers the work of hundreds of specialists in the field of nephrology and selects among them those who most exemplify the relentless efforts of NKF to enhance the lives of patients through action, education and accelerating change.

Their work is vital to the 37 million adults in the U.S. affected by kidney disease and the 1 in 3 people who are at risk.

Dr. Paul K. Whelton, an epidemiology professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, will receive NKF’s 2021 David M. Hume Memorial Award, an award  created in memory of one of the foundation’s most distinguished members. The Hume award is the highest honor given by NKF to recognizea distinguished scientist-clinician in the field of kidney and urologic diseases. Hume awardees exemplify the high ideals of scholarship and humanitarianism in an outstanding manner.

“It is a very special honor to receive this award,” Dr. Whelton said. “Dr. Hume was an extraordinary role model whose innovations and contributions transformed care for patients with advanced kidney disease. He was an inspiration to me and others of my generation. I feel very privileged and fortunate to receive the NKF award that bears his name.”

Dr. Whelton is a medical graduate of University College Cork, Ireland, with a master’s degree in clinical epidemiology from University of London and a prevention research doctorate from the National University of Ireland. He spent 26 years at Johns Hopkins, where he founded the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research. He went on to serve as dean of Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and dean of the university’s School of Medicine, then named senior vice president for health sciences. Later, he became president/CEO of Loyola University Health System and Medical Center before returning to Tulane as Show Chwan Health System Endowed Chair in Global Public Health.

“As an academic nephrologist on the faculty at Johns Hopkins, I was drawn to the potential of clinical epidemiology and prevention sciences to transform the care of patients with kidney disease and reduce the ever-expanding kidney disease burden in the general population,” Dr. Whelton said. “One of my earliest national presentations was at an NKF meeting and I have always had great admiration for the contributions of the organization to kidney disease patients and kidney disease professionals.”

Whelton’s interests include blood pressure-related cardiovascular/renal disease epidemiology, prevention, clinical trials, and global health. He chaired the Trials of Hypertension Prevention (TOHP), Trial of Nonpharmacologic Interventions in the Elderly (TONE), Antihypertensive and Lipid Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT), Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), and the 2017 ACC/AHA Blood Pressure Guideline Writing Committee.

“Dr. Whelton has advanced our understanding of the epidemiology and treatment of high blood pressure and the critical role of treating high blood pressure in the prevention of kidney disease,” said NKF’s President Dr. Paul Palevsky. “Dr. Whelton is highly deserving of this award in Dr. Hume’s name. His contributions, in particular his focus on public health and his leadership of numerous studies of the treatment of high blood pressure, aligns perfectly with the standards set by Dr. Hume.”

A recipient of the AHA Population Research Prize (2007), Blood Pressure Council Excellence in Hypertension Research Award (2018), and Distinguished Scientist Award (2019), Whelton has published more than 500 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 70 books/chapters, supplements or monographs.