The American Kidney Fund has bestowed one of its highest honors to a doctor and nurse from East Providence. Both are considered pioneers in the dialysis community, the organization said.
At a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 29, Dr. Joseph Chazen of Nephrology Associates in East Providence, and Lucille Pono, who has worked with Dr. Chazen since 1970, received the “Caregivers of the Year” Award for helping thousands of Rhode Islanders over the years cope with kidney disease.
“We are delighted to recognize Dr. Chazan and Ms. Pono for their extraordinary contributions to the health and well-being of people living with kidney disease in the greater Providence Area,’’ LaVarne A. Burton, the president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund, said in a statement.
The American Kidney Fund is a nonprofit organization that provides financial help to dialysis patients.
Burton called the pair “true pioneers” for opening a dialysis clinic in Providence in 1973, before Medicare’s End Stage Renal Disease Program went into effect. Their “…continued innovation over the past four decades has improved the lives of thousands of patients under their care,’’ Burton said.
Dr. Chazan operates 11 dialysis clinics in the greater Providence area, including the Dialysis Center of Providence at 19 Plenty Street. He is believed to be the first nephrologist to practice in Rhode Island and has mentored and trained many nephrologists over the years. Ms. Pono served as Director of Nurses at one of the state’s first clinics and also has trained hundreds of nursing staffers in her career. They have been a team for 43 years.