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‘A Great Way to Give Back’

One patient’s gratitude for world-class care advances the fight against kidney disease

In the late 1990s, Peggy Katz’s doctor in Philadelphia sat her down for a frank talk: She should start thinking about getting a kidney transplant. Katz had polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and could expect to live seven to 10 more years at most without a transplant.

Fortunately, she sought treatment at the Miller School of Medicine and saw David Roth, M.D., the William W. Anderson Professor of Nephrology and David Roth Endowed Chair in Transplant Nephrology.

“He’s the best doctor in the world,” Katz said.

In 2003, she received a new kidney, thanks to another Miller School physician, George W. Burke III, M.D., professor of surgery, and the team at the Miami Transplant Institute, a partnership between the University of Miami and Jackson Health System. Seventeen years later, she still feels “fantastic.”

The giving spirit runs deep in the Katz family. Her daughter, Sarah, was the kidney donor. Katz’s other daughter, Jacquelyn, also suffers from polycystic kidney disease, and is involved with fundraising for PKD Foundation and other causes related to kidney disease.

Leadership Participation

In 2017, Peggy and Harold Katz made a gift of $10 million to the Miller School Division of Nephrology and Hypertension to drive advances in research, clinical care and education. The Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension was named in their honor to transform the treatment of kidney disease.

“Our ultimate hope is that one day scientists will find a cure for PKD to eradicate this disease that affects 600,000 people in the U.S.,” Peggy Katz said. “In the meantime, we want to help develop medications to slow the disease, and improve the transplant process.”

To that end, the Katzes helped establish The Peggy and Harold Katz Family Drug Discovery Center, which contributes to groundbreaking research to improve the lives of patients with kidney disease. It has also supported the work of talented researchers, like Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and molecular and cellular pharmacology, who was honored with the Peggy and Harold Katz Family Chair. Dr. Fornoni is chief of the Katz Family Division of Nephrology and director of the Katz Family Drug Discovery Center.

“Some people are fortunate enough that they can donate,” Peggy Katz said. “I hope they see what we’ve done and that it catches on. We believe this is a great way to give back.”