Dedicated transplant physician & researcher awarded the Order of Canada

Dec, 16, 2022 - Dr. David Rush’s passion for kidney health has driven a 40+ year career founded on care and innovation. Now his efforts to improve the quality of life for people living with transplanted kidneys have been recognized by Canada’s highest honour for lifetime achievement – the Order of Canada.

Created in Canada's centennial year, the Order of Canada has been bestowed upon many deserving Canadians including artists, scientists, doctors, educators, entrepreneurs, community workers and many others. Though their contributions are varied, they all have enriched the lives of others.

Dr. Rush, a transplant nephrologist with Transplant Manitoba’s Adult Kidney Transplant Program at HSC Winnipeg and professor of medicine, University of Manitoba, Max Rady College of Medicine, has had a significant impact on the health of Canadians with kidney disease. He has always gone above and beyond in caring for his patients, and his dedication to research and training the next generation of transplant nephrologists is unmatched.

Dr. Rush’s clinical practice, leadership and pioneering work in the field of kidney transplantation has placed Manitoba at the forefront of kidney transplantation and post-transplant care. His pioneering work in the use of surveillance biopsies in transplantation made him the first to report the high prevalence of subclinical rejection in renal transplant recipients. With this research, he has changed the understanding of the link between early chronic pathologic changes and long-term graft survival. The international profile of his research program has led to changes in clinical practice in many transplant programs worldwide.

Dr. Rush came to Winnipeg as a nephrologist with an interest in kidney transplantation and he was mentored by Dr. John Jeffery, a well-respected kidney transplant pioneer who held the position of Director, Manitoba Renal Transplant Program for nearly 20 years. At the time, they were a team of two. Dr. Rush became a co-director of the program in 1989 and in 2004, he became the medical director of the program and like his mentor, Dr. Rush reached for excellence. During his many years of service, Dr. Rush led quality improvement initiatives to enhance processes of care, and provided inspired guidance and vision as the program grew and developed into the space within the HSC Transplant Wellness Centre.

Dr. Rush wrapped up his role as medical director earlier this year. Truly dedicated to his calling, Dr. Rush continues to see patients in pre- and post-kidney clinics, and on the units.

As a dedicated teacher and mentor, Dr. Rush’s knowledge and expertise has really made a profound imprint on the program. He has trained and mentored all the kidney transplant nephrologists currently practicing in the Adult Kidney Program. He has also been instrumental in training the next generation of clinician investigators and clinician scientists in the field of renal transplantation.

Additionally, Dr. Rush has exemplified the career of a true academic clinician, and his stellar publication record speaks to his exceptional productivity. His work has been published in high impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Transplantation, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, and Transplantation. He has 110 original manuscripts in which he is first/last author in 29 papers, and 65 reviews/commentaries/editorials in which he is first/last author in 36 papers. 

Dr. Rush truly embodies the academic clinician and has been a world leader representing Canada in the field of kidney transplantation. Congratulations on the well-deserved honour Dr. Rush!