Inaugural Outstanding Renal Social Worker Awards

The Missouri Kidney Program is pleased to announce its first annual award for outstanding dialysis social worker, and transplant social worker.

The award is launched to recognize social workers who put forth exceptional effort to partner with MoKP.

Through public recognition, we hope to inspire and encourage social workers to deepen their partnership with MoKP to improve the lives of Missourians with kidney disease.

The inaugural recipients are Lisa Parnell, winner of the Outstanding Dialysis Social Worker Award, and Deanna Sybert, winner of the Outstanding Transplant Social Worker Award.

The Missouri Kidney Program team developed the award criteria and then identified candidates for internal evaluation and selection. We also sought input from our MODSS eligibility specialist, Melissa Krapf, and our centralized drug program partner, Kilgore’s Medical Pharmacy.

Criteria included:

  • knowledge and use of MoKP financial assistance for their patients, including the Centralized Drug Program and Kilgore’s
  • their reliance on MoKP as a partner to help improve the lives of their patients
  • the compassion and advocacy they offer when engaged with MoKP about their patients
  • their engagement in MoKP webinars, on the MoKP listserv, and utilizing MoKP educational resources
  • their MoKP applications are complete and timely
  • their knowledge and effective use of Medicare, MO HealthNet, and other insurance programs


Lisa Parnell



We are delighted to announce that Lisa Parnell has been honored with the Outstanding Dialysis Social Worker Award. This recognition is a testament to Lisa’s journey and unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in the field of social work.

Lisa’s journey to becoming a dialysis social worker is both unique and inspiring. Before embarking on her career in social work, Lisa demonstrated her creativity as a cake decorator and her people skills as a bartender. However, it was a personal tragedy that reshaped the course of her personal and professional life. The loss of many friends to the AIDS epidemic ignited a deep-seated desire within Lisa to contribute meaningfully to the medical field.

Her transformative journey began with a single social work class, where, within just 15 minutes, Lisa knew she had found her true calling. Post-graduation, she started her career by writing grants for research projects at SLUH, recognizing that her path lay elsewhere. This realization led her to St. Luke’s Hospital, where she discovered her passion for dialysis. She worked at St. Luke’s for 16 years before moving on to US Renal Care where she remains today.

Lisa has dedicated herself to providing compassionate care to those undergoing dialysis treatment. Her commitment to the well-being of her patients and her advocacy for their needs have set her apart as an exemplary professional in the field. In the twilight of her career, Lisa Parnell remains a beacon of inspiration for her colleagues and an unwavering advocate for those in need. This is a well-deserved recognition of Lisa’s dedication, compassion, and significant contributions to the field of social work.


Deanna Sybert



It is with immense pleasure and admiration that we announce Deanna Sybert as the recipient of the Outstanding Transplant Social Worker Award. Deanna, a dedicated renal transplant social worker at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, embodies the true spirit of patient care, education, and empowerment.

Deanna’s journey in social work began at St. John’s Hospital in Lebanon, which has now transformed into Mercy Hospital. Her early experiences laid the foundation for her passion for helping others. However, it was her introduction to the world of transplant that marked a pivotal moment in her career. Joining the University of Missouri transplant team, Deanna found her calling in supporting individuals through the intricate process of organ transplantation.

Her commitment to patient education and empowerment has set her apart in the field. Deanna’s impact extends beyond state borders, as she briefly worked in Colorado, contributing to a Renal Diabetic Acute Hospital setting. Now, she has returned to her roots, serving the people of Missouri at Research Medical Center in Kansas City.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Deanna wears another hat with equal dedication – that of a mother to twins. Balancing the demands of a challenging career and the joys of motherhood, Deanna exemplifies resilience, compassion, and unwavering dedication.

This award is a celebration of Deanna Sybert’s outstanding contributions to the transplant social work community. Her ability to navigate the complexities of transplant care with empathy and expertise is truly commendable.

There are so many dedicated social workers in dialysis facilities and transplant programs around the state. This made it hard for the MoKP team to select just one in each category. We did want to acknowledge some runners-up because they also stood out as exceptional. They are:

Servisa Cash, Fresenius Kidney Care
Tifty Courtney, Washington University Outpatient Dialysis
Mila Harris, Ozarks Dialysis Services
Jamilyn Hinkle, Fresenius Kidney Care
Cassie Jones, Dialysis Clinics Inc.
Lisa VanHoose, Dialysis Clinics Inc.
Kirstin Walker, Barnes Jewish Hospital Transplant

To every renal social worker in Missouri, we extend our heartfelt gratitude. Your dedication does not go unnoticed, and we see and recognize the profound impact you make in the lives of those affected by kidney disease. Thank you for your unwavering commitment and compassion.

Each awardee will receive an engraved glass, a framed certificate to be displayed at their facility, and a gift basket compiled by MoKP, Kilgore’s and the MO DHSS Organ and Tissue Donor Program and State Registry. MoKP will make this award an annual event.

Congratulations to all the awardees and a sincere thank you to the entire renal social work community in Missouri!


From left: Valerie Hardesty, Sr. Project Coordinator; Lionelle Miller, IT support; Tammy Turner, Assistant Director; Anna Sumner, Project Coordinator; Laurie Hines, Director; Rhonda Victor, Office Support; Melissa Krapf, Benefit Program Technician, Missouri Family Support Division; Laurie’s mentor, William T. Dent, Executive Director, Family and Community Trust, Missouri Community Partnerships; and Dr. Richard J. Barohn, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean, School of Medicine, University of Missouri.

National Kidney Foundation Award of Excellence

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) presented its annual Award of Excellence to Laurie Hines, Director of the Missouri Kidney Program, and three other recipients on Nov. 16, 2023.

The award recognizes individuals who — by virtue of extraordinary commitment, talents and contributions — have been invaluable in assisting the NKF to carry out its mission. Laurie’s award reflects NKF’s gratitude for her dedication to raising awareness for the renal community, continuous guidance, partnership with the NKF team, and for being a living kidney donor.

Laurie and the entire MoKP team attended the wonderful award ceremony in St. Louis. They were honored to share the celebration with Dr. Richard J. Barohn, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean, School of Medicine, University of Missouri, as well as Laurie’s mentor, William T. Dent, Executive Director, Family and Community Trust, Missouri Community Partnerships.

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