A photo of Donna Claes.

Donna J. Claes, MD

  • Medical Director, Dialysis, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension
  • Medical Director, Chronic Kidney Disease Program
  • Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
I like to work with patients and families to ensure their child is as healthy as possible, so together, we can "grow them up" to become as healthy an adult as possible despite having severe kidney disease.
Donna J. Claes, MD



As a pediatric nephrologist, I care for children and adolescents with pediatric chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), with a specific interest in patients with ESKD who require dialysis. I like to work with patients and families to ensure their child is as healthy as possible, so together, we can "grow them up" to become as healthy an adult as possible despite having severe kidney disease.

I was drawn to pursue a career in medicine during my undergraduate college education in pharmacy. There, I learned to appreciate the complexity of the human body. I also recognized the diverse care needs, besides medication therapy, that are required to achieve health. At the end of my pharmacy education, I decided to apply for medical school. It wasn’t until after my pediatric residency that I eventually settled on a career in pediatric nephrology.

I love the diversity of pediatric nephrology. All in one day, I help provide dialysis for some of the sickest children admitted to the hospital. Then, I offer guidance and adjust therapies remotely so other children at home can manage their care needs. Next, I go to the clinic and see relatively healthy children with common nephrological problems.

As the medical director of dialysis at Cincinnati Children’s, my role is to ensure all dialysis patients receive care and get the best dialysis care possible. This involves collaborating with various colleagues across the hospital, which I truly enjoy.

Prior to becoming the director of dialysis, I helped create a standardized care practice system for CKD care for children not yet requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation at Cincinnati Children’s. I designed a standardized care algorithm, used various electronic health record (EHR)-based reports, and then provided leadership to a team of nurses, dietitians and others to implement these care practices.

Through my research, I understand there is still much to learn about the clinical care of the child with chronic kidney disease. Since pediatric kidney disease is relatively rare, it can be challenging to answer clinical care questions as a “single center.” My research goal is to collaborate in multicenter research studies that help answer clinical care questions specifically geared toward the pediatric CKD/ESKD patient.

During my non-doctor time, I drive my two kids to various sporting events or guitar classes. However, my whole family, including my husband and myself, practices martial arts. It’s a fun family experience that I really enjoy. My kids always remind me that they are a higher rank than I am!

MD: University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine, Columbia, MO, 2004.

Residency: Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH.

Sub-specialty Training: Pediatric Nephrology & Hypertension, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH.

Certification: Pediatrics, 2007; Pediatric Nephrology, 2014.


Pediatric nephrology; chronic kidney disease; dialysis

Services and Specialties

Nephrology and Hypertension, End-Stage Renal Disease

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Patient-Reported Outcomes Over 24 Months in Pediatric CKD: Findings From the MyKidneyHealth Cohort Study. Amaral, S; Schuchard, J; Claes, D; Dart, A; Greenbaum, LA; Massengill, SF; Atkinson, MA; Flynn, JT; Dharnidharka, VR; Fathallah-Shaykh, S; et al. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. 2023; 82:213-224.e1.

Genome-wide association analyses define pathogenic signaling pathways and prioritize drug targets for IgA nephropathy. Kiryluk, K; Sanchez-Rodriguez, E; Zhou, XJ; Zanoni, F; Liu, L; Mladkova, N; Khan, A; Marasa, M; Zhang, JY; Balderes, O; et al. Nature Genetics. 2023; 55:1091-1105.

Age of Onset and Disease Course in Biopsy-Proven Minimal Change Disease: An Analysis From the Cure Glomerulonephropathy Network. Chen, DP; Helmuth, ME; Smith, AR; Canetta, PA; Ayoub, I; Mucha, K; Kallash, M; Kopp, JB; Gbadegesin, R; Gillespie, BW; et al. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. 2023; 81:695-706.e1.

Blood Pressure Classification Status in Children With CKD Following Adoption of the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics Guideline. Ng, DK; Carroll, MK; Furth, SL; Warady, BA; Flynn, JT; Fathallah-Shaykh, S; Nayak, A; Turman, M; Blydt-Hansen, T; Wong, C; et al. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. 2023; 81:545-553.

Single-Center Experience on Growth in Infants Born With End-Stage Kidney Disease. Slagle, CL; Riddle, SL; McNelis, K; Claes, D. Journal of Renal Nutrition. 2023; 33:236-242.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Acute Care Utilization Among Patients With Glomerular Disease. Krissberg, JR; O'Shaughnessy, MM; Smith, AR; Helmuth, ME; Almaani, S; Aviles, DH; Brathwaite, KE; Cai, Y; Cattran, D; Gbadegesin, R; et al. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. 2023; 81:318-328.e1.

Survival of neonates born with kidney failure during the initial hospitalization. Claes, DJ; Richardson, T; Harer, MW; Keswani, M; Neu, A; Mahon, AC R; Somers, MJ; Traum, AZ; Warady, BA. Pediatric Nephrology. 2023; 38:583-591.

An initiative to improve effluent culture detection among pediatric patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis through process improvement. Pangonis, SF; Schaffzin, JK; Claes, D; Mortenson, JE; Nehus, E. Pediatric Nephrology. 2023; 38:211-218.

Pregnancy associated TMA in 13-year-old patient successfully treated with Eculizumab: case report. Cody, E; Claes, D; Taylor, V; Erkan, E. BMC Nephrology. 2022; 23:147.

Skeletal Outcomes in Children and Young Adults with Glomerular Disease. Goodwin Davies, AJ; Xiao, R; Razzaghi, H; Bailey, LC; Utidjian, L; Gluck, C; Eckrich, D; Dixon, BP; Deakyne Davies, SJ; Flynn, JT; et al. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN. 2022; 33:2233-2246.

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