National Kidney Registry Presents Three Awards to Leaders in the Transplant Community at 2023 Awards Gala

At its 2023 Awards Gala honoring kidney donors and the achievements of the American transplant industry, the National Kidney Registry presented three awards to exceptional members of the transplant community.

The Terasaki Innovation Award was awarded to Dr. Jeffrey Veale, the Excellence in Physician Leadership Award was awarded to Dr. Raja Kandaswamy, and a Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Ned Brooks, the Founder of the National Kidney Donor Organization (NKDO).

Terasaki Innovation Award: Dr. Jeffrey Veale

Dr. Jeffrey Veale accepting the Terasaki Innovation Award at the 2023 NKR Awards Gala.

The Terasaki Medical Innovation Award is given to an individual or organization that has invented, developed or created breakthrough technologies in transplantation.

Dr. Jeffrey Veale, Director of the Donor Exchange Program at UCLA and Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, was the recipient of the award for 2023 in recognition of his work in enabling transplant recipients to reduce their reliance on immunosuppressive drugs.

“These immunosuppression drugs have been about the same for the last 40 years, and I really feel the next thing we need to do is try to get them off these drugs,” said Dr. Veale in accepting the award. “I think that’s the next frontier for transplantation.”

Excellence in Physician Leadership Award: Dr. Raja Kandaswamy

Dr. Raja Kandaswamy accepting the Excellence in Physician Leadership Award at the 2023 NKR Awards Gala.

The Excellence in Physician Leadership Award is awarded to the physician who, through engagement, teamwork and leadership, significantly improved the practice of kidney transplantation.

Dr. Raja Kandaswamy is the Vice-Chief & Sutherland-Butterfield Professor in Immunology and Transplantation at the University of Minnesota. He is also the Surgical Director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Programs, and Director of the Abdominal Transplant Fellowship Program in the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he has been on the faculty for the last 20 years.

Dr. Kandaswamy was critical in helping the NKR develop the COVID protocols that allowed it to quickly recover after the pandemic shut down transplants in 2020. His center is the world leader in engineering low eplet mismatch transplants to drive better outcomes and he is part of a team that is working to eliminate the need for immunosuppression drugs for transplant recipients.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Ned Brooks

Ned Brooks accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 NKR Awards Gala.

The Lifetime Achievement Award, the first in the history of the NKR, was given to Ned Brooks, the Founder and Chairman of the National Kidney Donor Organization (NKDO), for being the driver behind profound changes in the transplant world.

After donating his kidney to a stranger in 2015, he was inspired to do more and embarked on a journey to help increase living kidney donation in the United States.

He started a small group of kidney donors with the mission to help educate donor candidates on the process of being a living kidney donor. That small group became the NKDO, which has grown into the largest living kidney donation organization in the world, interacting with more than 25,000 donor candidates annually.

About the National Kidney Registry

The National Kidney Registry ( is an organization whose mission is to save and improve the lives of people facing kidney failure by increasing the quality, speed, and number of living donor transplants while protecting all living donors.

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