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Community Advisory Council

The APOLLO Community Advisory Council (CAC) is composed of living kidney donors, kidney recipients, and their family members who worked with kidney doctors, transplant physicians, researchers, and ethicists from around the country to develop the APOLLO study.

Meet the Members of the CAC

Darry Burden
CAC Member since 2023

"My name is Darry Burden and a transplant recipient. I am post 10 years as of this past April 13 2023 and have been grateful since being donated a kidney. It has allowed me to continue my profession in behavioral healthcare. I am a Licensed Psychotherapist and have been in the field for the past 40 years. IT has been an honor to be a part of the CAC when asked to join by my MD at Emory University. This allows me to give something to others that was given to me and to educate people of color on understanding the transplant in a humble way."

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Lori A. Cooper
CAC Member since 2017

"It is my honor and privilege to work with APOLLO on the CAC.  My family (including myself)  has been affected  by kidney disease for many years. I realized the need for more research in the realm of kidney disease when so many of my questions went unanswered not because my Doctors didn’t care but because there simply were no answers. To be a part of something that has the potential to make a difference in peoples lives is truly rewarding."

Ernie Covington
CAC member since 2019


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James DuBois, DSc, PhD
CAC member since 2018


Patrick Gee, PhD
CAC member since 2017

Also serves on the Recruitment Committee

“I received the gift of life on April 21, 2017 from a deceased kidney donor. After four surgeries and  33 days hospitalized, on the 47th day, my new kidney began to function.  The number 40 represents Trials, Tribulations, and Probation. The number 7 represents completeness and perfection. I now live because someone died and gave me another chance to serve my community."

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Ana Iltis, PhD
CAC member since 2018

Also serves as co-Chair of the CAC

"I've had the privilege of working with the CAC since its inception. I have learned so much by working alongside the CAC members who have brought their lived experience of kidney disease, donation, and transplantation along with their many other talents and skills to strengthen APOLLO. I've been grateful for the collaborative spirit among APOLLO CAC members and investigators - we all want APOLLO to be an ethical, rigorous study that can improve kidney transplantation and work together to achieve that goal."

Nichole Jefferson

CAC member since 2017

Founding CAC Co-Chair

"Because APOL1 genetic variants are associated with increased kidney disease risk, concerns persist about the health of recipients of kidneys donated by people of African descent (African Americans, Afro Caribbeans, Latinos of African descent, etc.) and long-term outcomes in living kidney donors of African descent.” I want to be a voice for our community."

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Heather Johnson
CAC member since 2018

Ms. Johnson is a living kidney donor, donating a kidney to her father.

“I am grateful to be a part of APOLLO and the CAC in part to share my wonderful experience with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Transplant Institute, but also to honor my dad’s memory and the additional time we shared together. I intend to continue advocate the benefits of living kidney donation, and the importance of APOLLO.”

Lance Mason 

CAC Member Since 2023

Chronic Kidney Disease and The APOLLO Community Advisory Council is the perfect intersection of passion and service for me. Over the course of my life I have been involved with CKD as a family member, patient, and professional. I received a kidney transplant at the age of 22 after seeing both of my parents battle kidney disease for two decades. My goal is to have an impact on the lives of millions of CKD patients, and I know this council is a great opportunity to accomplish that! 

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Danette Ragin
CAC member since 2022

"My name is Danette Ragin and I am a registered ORGAN DONOR. I am also a 2x kidney recipient (2008 & 2016) First from a deceased donor and the 2nd given to me by my youngest daughter. I am also a 3x Donor family member.
"I serve on the  Apollo CAC committee which allowed us to enlighten the need for assistance of the many African Americans who are in need of kidney transplantation. "

Glenda V Roberts
CAC member since 2019

Also serves as the CAC co-Chair, Steering Committee, Recruitment Committee and Dissemination Working Group

“There is a national call for the re-evaluation of the use of race, a social construct, in biological algorithms associated with kidney assessments. APOLLO will contribute to a more accurate assessment of kidney function. I’m involved with the CAC so that I can advocate for research that’s safe, equitable and optimized for patients in order to increase participant engagement and retention in the APOLLO study.”

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Norman Scott
CAC member since 2018


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