HDU Advisory Board

HDU’s Advisory Board — Who They Are

The Honorable Karen Thurman, Advocacy and Policy. Hon. Karen Thurman has a personal interest in kidney disease and treatment, including dialysis. Two in her family suffer from Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). As a Member of Congress from Florida from 1993-2003, Karen Thurman worked for many kidney issues, especially in the area of immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant patients. She was also a member of the board of directors of NKF for 6 years. A partner in TG&C Group, LLC, Karen Thurman continues her work on behalf of kidney disease patients by representing the PKD Foundation.


Eric Weinhandl, Research and Education. Eric is an epidemiologist, finishing his PhD in the field earlier in 2015, after having finished a master’s degree in biostatistics in 2004. His first project was a study of death rates in peritoneal dialysericis and matched in-center hemodialysis patients. Since then, he has worked on many interesting projects and written papers for medical journals, including the advent of Medicare Part D, which has brought better insight into medication useamong dialysis patients than ever before. He is also an adjunct assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota.




Elleellenn Griffith Cohen, Policy. Ellen Griffith Cohen retired in August 2012, after 11 years as a press officer in the national office of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Her experience with CMS has been invaluable to the HDU Policy committee, helping to write and edit comments to CMS and GAO. She is currently predialysis and pre-transplant. She is planning to undergo a living donor transplant in January.



Beth Gore, Vascular. Beth is a sought-after keynote speaker and a National Patient Advocate with a background in Training, Communications and Business. She has a BA in Psychology, a BA in Theology, an MA in Educational Psychology and PhD in Training and Development with a minor in Statistics. She thinks, “How can we improve the system?” She currently works as the Association for Vascular Access (AVA) Director of Outreach. Her primary role is to partner with key organizations and create collaborative partnerships in helping provide safe vascular access and venous preservation. She is also on numerous national task forces and boards centered around patient safety.

Her personal mission statement is, “Speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.” Beth, her husband of 22 years and their 6 children (all adopted with special needs) live in Tampa, Florida. Their youngest son Manny (age 8) will be central line dependent for life. Their oldest son Jacob (age 19) was diagnosed with FSGS at age 12. It was expected he would require dialysis by age 13 and will eventually need a transplant. As of yet, he has still not progressed to requiring dialysis, but his family is already educating themselves about this world.

Beth hopes to bring the currently separate worlds of vascular access and dialysis closer together for better patient outcomes, especially related to preventable patient harm.



Remembering Celeste Castillo Lee, Education, read the In Memoriam post