LOS ANGELES, CA – November 22, 2008 – Hundreds of high-profile medical and health industry professionals gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel this evening to honor three individuals for their role in the ongoing battle to prevent and treat kidney disease, which affects more than 13% of the population.

The event benefited University Kidney Research Organization (UKRO), a non-profit entity dedicated to identifying the causes of, improved treatments for, and the prevention and eradication of all forms of kidney disease. In association with the Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California (USC), UKRO intends to establish in Los Angeles the premier center on the West Coast for research relating to kidney disease.

“With 1 in 8 adults afflicted with some form of kidney disease, it is imperative that the nation make kidney research a major priority,” said UKRO president Kenneth Kleinberg, “and we were delighted to honor Shaul, Tom and Kent for their numerous extraordinary professional contributions and personal commitments towards making this happen.”

The individuals honored were:

* Shaul G. Massry, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine at USC with the Leadership Award in Nephrology;
* Tom Mone, CEO, OneLegacy, the nonprofit, federally-designated transplant donor network serving 18 million people in seven Southern California counties, with the Spirit of Life Award; and
* Kent J. Thiry, Chairman/CEO of DaVita, the largest independent provider of dialysis services in the United States, for Outstanding Achievement in Business and Industry.

In addition, Li Yang, M.D., Ph.D., was presented with UKRO’s John McKay Fellowship in Renal Research (in honor of USC’s great football coach John McKay, who succumbed to kidney disease).

Guests at the dinner were entertained by top comedy star, Craig Ferguson, host of “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” on CBS; Mistress of Ceremonies was actress and multi-platinum singer/songwriter Deana Carter, who also performed two acoustic songs.

Dean Carmen Puliafito, dean of USC’s Keck School of Medicine, addressed the audience with the USC Trojan Marching Band by his side.

Other speakers and presenters included John McKay, Jr., son of USC football coach John McKay; Phillip Palmer, local news anchor for KABC Eyewitness News; and Reg Green, founder of The Nicholas Green Foundation.

In addition, Vito M. Campese, M.D. shared details about the high-quality, intense research that is currently taking place within the division of nephrology at the Keck School of Medicine. Dr. Campese spoke about how UKRO envisions a great expansion of these efforts, beginning with a focus on renal proteomic research.


Shaul G. Massry, M.D. is Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine at USC and served as Chief of its Division of Nephrology from 1974 to 2000. He has received honorary doctorates from fourteen universities across Europe, including the oldest and prestigious Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic). Dr. Massry is an honorary member of the Belgian, Polish, Russian and Bulgarian Academies of Science, as well as the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Thailand and London. He is past President of the National Kidney Foundation, American Society of Renal Biochemistry and Metabolism, in addition to being the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Nephrology. He is past Chairman of the National Kidney Foundation’s National Medical Advisory Board and has been a frequent guest speaker at national and international meetings and a visiting professor at many universities across the globe. Dr. Massry has published over 600 scientific papers, 111 chapters in books and edited 32 books. UKRO is most honored to present Dr. Massry with its Leadership Award in Nephrology.

Tom Mone is the CEO of OneLegacy, the largest organ recovery agency in the United States, serving 19 million people, 220 hospitals and 15 transplant centers. Mr. Mone has overseen a 40% increase in organ donors and lives saved through organs recovered for transplant; a 15% consent rate improvement; an 11% increase in organs per donor; the creation of the OneLegacy Tissue Services program; the world’s first web-based organ offer system; and the “Donate Life” Rose Parade Float. Mr. Mone is President-Elect of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations and has published “The Business of Organ Procurement.” UKRO is honored to present Mr. Mone with the Spirit of Life Award.

Kent J. Thiry has been Chairman and CEO of DaVita, Inc. since October 1999. DaVita is the largest independent provider of dialysis services in the U.S. for patients suffering from chronic kidney failure. DaVita’s approximately 1,400 outpatient dialysis centers, located in 42 states and the District of Columbia, serve approximately 104,000 patients in the U.S. every week, almost one out of every three patients in America. Current annual revenues are over $5 billion. Mr. Thiry received his BA in Political Science with Distinction and Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 1978. He earned his MBA with Honors from Harvard Business School in 1983. He serves on the Board of Directors of Varian Medical Systems, the world’s leading manufacturer of integrated radiotherapy systems for treating cancer, and is a member of the Harvard Business School Board of Advisors. UKRO is honored to present Kent Thiry its award for Outstanding Achievement in Business and Industry.

The Division of Nephrology and Hypertension Center of the Keck School of Medicine at USC has a training program of fellows (specialists) both in clinical nephrology as well as in clinical and basic research. UKRO annually awards a fellowship in renal research at the Keck School of Medicine at USC in the name of John McKay, USC’s great football coach, who succumbed to kidney disease. This year Li Yang, M.D., Ph.D. is the recipient of the John McKay Fellowship in Renal Research at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. Dr. Yang received her medical degree from Beijing Medical University in Beijing, China and spent an additional four years there as a biophysics research associate studying protein-lipid interactions. Driven by a desire to actively pursue a career in research parallel with clinical medicine, Dr. Yang chose to matriculate in the Ph.D. program in physiology and biophysics at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Alicia A. McDonough, a member of the UKRO Medical Scientific Advisory Board, she developed a keen interest in renal disease and the causes of hypertension. Dr. Yang has been trained at NIH-funded O’Brien center in Indiana as well as in two-photon microscopy at the USC lab of Dr. Janos Peti-Peterdi, who is also a member of UKRO’s Medical Scientific Advisory Board.


Richard J. Glassock, M.D. is one of the most eminent physicians in the field of nephrology and Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles. Dr. Glassock is certified in Internal Medicine and Nephrology as a physician and surgeon. Dr. Glassock presented the Leadership Award in Nephrology to Shaul G. Massry, M.D.

Reg Green is founder of The Nicholas Green Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the cause of organ and tissue donation around the world. This organization was founded in honor of Mr. Green’s son, Nicholas Green, who was seven years old in 1994 when he was fatally shot in Italy as the result of a botched robbery. When the Green family decided to donate Nicholas’ organs to seven different recipients, this led to a worldwide increase in awareness of the organ donation shortage. This moving story inspired the motion picture Nicholas’ Gift. Reg Green presented the Spirit of Life Award to Bryan Stewart, OneLegacy’s Director of Communications, who accepted on Tom Mone’s behalf, as he was out of town due to a death in the family.

John McKay, Jr. is the son of the great football coach John McKay. Mr. McKay Jr. played wide receiver for the USC Trojans from 1972-1975 and later played in the NFL for the Buccaneers from 1976-1979. Mr. McKay Jr. presented the John McKay Fellowship to Dr. Li Yang.

Ben Lipps is CEO and Chairman of the Board of Fresenius Medical Care, a global health care company with products and services for dialysis, hospitals and ambulatory medical care. In 1966, Mr. Lipps joined Dow Chemical Company where he led the research team that developed the first commercial Hollow Fiber Artificial Kidney. Mr. Lips presented the Outstanding Achievement in Business and Industry Award to Kent J. Thiry.


Vito M. Campese, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics and the Chief of the Division of Nephrology at the LAC-USC Medical Center. He is also the Director of the Hypertension Center at the Keck School of Medicine, and the Chairman of UKRO’s Medical Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Campese has extensive editorial experience, authoring over 240 scientific articles and 167 abstracts, serving as a reviewer for over 25 peer-reviewed medical journals, and currently sitting on many editorial boards for publications. He has also lectured extensively worldwide.

Kenneth Kleinberg, a graduate of UCLA and UCLA’s School of Law, is president of UKRO and senior partner at Kleinberg Lopez Lange Cuddy & Klein, a Los Angeles lawfirm. He is one of the nation’s leading entertainment attorneys.

Dennis L. Kogod is DaVita, Inc.’s President-West, and will become the company’s Chief Operating Officer effective January 1, 2009. Mr. Kogod also serves on UKRO’s board of directors.

Phillip Palmer is a morning news anchor for KABC Eyewitness News and the 2007 recipient of UKRO’s Humanitarian Award. Mr. Palmer donated a kidney to a friend in March of 2007.

Dean Carmen Puliafito is the Dean of the Keck School of Medicine at USC. An ophthalmologist who earned his medical degree at Harvard University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Dean Puliafito also serves at USC as Professor of Ophthalmology and Health Management and is the holder of the May S. and John Hooval Dean’s Chair in Medicine.