©2016 TRANSPLANTFIRST ACADEMY: A Non-Profit 501c3 Organization

Our Team

  • Risa Simon

    Risa Simon, CMC is the founder/CEO of the TransplantFirst Academy and a certified management consultant, motivational speaker and author of “In Pursuit of a Better Life – The Ultimate Guide to Finding Living Kidney Donors.” As a preemptive (live-donor) kidney transplant recipient, she  intuitively discovered her life’s best work within the renal community. You can find Risa’s enthusiastic spirit serving on program and advocacy committees, such as American Association of Kidney Patients, the National Kidney Foundation and Waitlist Zero. Risa also serves as a Patient Advocate Liaison Learn More

    and Peer Mentor for National Kidney Foundation and is also a Peer Mentor for the American Transplant Foundation and the kidney patient’s best life coach for The Proactive Path.  For the past 8 years, Risa’s been laser-focused on “Bridging the gap between proactive patient self-advocacy and traditional CKD education.” Her self-help books, In Pursuit of a Better Life and Shift Your Fate have become powerful resource guides for kidney patients across America. 
  • Melissa Blevins Bein

    Melissa Blevins-Bein, RN, MS is Executive Director of Transplant Programs at the University of California, Davis. She also served as the Vice President of Clinical Affairs for Nevada Donor Network, Transplant Administrator for Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona and Executive Director of Donate Life, South Carolina.  As a Registered Nurse with a Masters in Science from Clemson University and a Bachalor’s of Science from Lynchburg College, her background includes working as a Transplant Nurse Coordinator with Liver, Kidney and Pancreas transplant Learn More

    teams.  Her responsibilities include managing several teams in the Transplant Department, as well as the Divisions of Hepatology, Nephrology and Hypertension.Melissa is frequently asked to speak at national organ donor and transplant events. As a living kidney donor herself, she often speaks on her experience, the importance of organ donation and the benefits of living donation in the community.
  • Bhupinder Singh

    Bhupinder Singh, MD, FASN is ABIM Board Certified in Nephrology and Internal Medicine, as well as an ASH Specialist in Clinical Hypertension. Currently Dr. Singh is the Executive Director of Research and Medical Affairs at ZS Pharma and the President of the Cardio Renal Society of America. Dr. Singh is also the Vice President of Twinepidemic, and a Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology and the National Kidney Foundation. Serving on the clinical faculty of Midwestern University and Creighton University School of Medicine as Assistant Professor, he also serves Learn More

    on the Advisory Board of Imaging Endpoints Core Labs and various pharmaceutical companies. As the former Medical Director and Principal Investigator of Research—and one of the core founders of Southwest Kidney Institute, Dr. Singh developed important research for the Institute’s Chronic Kidney Disease programs. Dr. Singh is also one of the founding board members of the Cardio Renal Society of America and serves in a collaborate effort to bridge the knowledge and management gap between cardiac and renal specialties. Dr. Singh also serves as Vice President of the Board of Twin Epidemic, a non-profit organization engaged in raising awareness about heart disease and diabetes among South Asians; as well as the Board of the International Alliance for the Prevention of AIDS. Graduating from one of the top Medical Schools in India (Armed Forces Medical College), Dr. Singh was involved in research and clinic time at the Post Graduate Institute in India and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Dr. Singh completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, followed by a Fellowship in Nephrology at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
  • Nicole Harr

    Nicole Harr is the national Education Chapter Manager for the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation. In this role, Nicole manages over 60 volunteers and assists the volunteer leadership as they support the mission of the PKD Foundation in their local communities in the areas of education, support, awareness and advocacy. Nicole has a passion for education and began her professional career as an elementary education teacher before moving on to lead the Kansas City Chapter of the PKD Foundation. Learn More

    Holding expertise as a well-respected Webinar host and facilitator—she is known for her skills in developing educational support materials and managing community forums.
  • Kati Walker

    Kati Walker comes to the TransplantFirst Academy with 20 years of marketing background in the financial, automotive and healthcare industries. After donating a kidney to her kids’ elementary school principal in January 2014, Kati became a passionate advocate for living kidney donation (LKD). Kati also serves as a Peer Mentor for the National Kidney Foundation to help those seeking living kidney donation to talk to someone who has walked that path. She collaborates Learn More

     with the Public Affairs Director at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix Arizona, on speaking events regarding LKD, works with the Donor Network of Arizona as an Ambassador for the MVD and promotes awareness through radio and TV interviews and public speaking engagements. Kati is also the co-chair of the 2016 National Kidney Foundation of Arizona Walk.
  • Michelle Fulcher

    Michelle Fulcher, CMP joins the TransplantFirst Academy with over 25 years of experience in strategic development and logistical management of key initiatives for corporate, community and government meetings and events. She is a Certified Meeting Professional and the founder of Organized Affair, LLC. Michelle is also an enthusiastic living kidney donor. Her kidney donation was involved one of the largest “paired exchange” programs in Arizona. Her selfless act allowed her Learn More

    husband to end the wait, discontinue dialysis and receive the best possible match. 


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