Our History

Our History


John D. Bower, M.D., a young nephrologist, moved from the Medical College of Virginia to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi.


Dr. Bower applied for and received one of the first public health service grants to study dialysis. In 1966, UMC opened the state's first dialysis unit.


Dr. Bower helped persuade Congress to pass Legislation H.R. 1, declaring persons with End Stage Renal Disease eligible for Medicare. The challenge for dialysis then shifted from affordability to accessibility, as people were having to drive hundreds of miles for treatment at facilities that were already full.


Dr. Bower committed to make dialysis facilities and services accessible for Mississippi kidney patients. He set a long-term goal to establish dialysis facilities within 30 miles of any patient's home. A 501(c)(3) corporation was founded to carry out this commitment, and Kidney Care, Inc., came into being.


The first Kidney Care limited-care facility was opened in Jackson, Mississippi, on North State Street.


Clarksdale, Mississippi, became the fifth city to be reached by Kidney Care when an automobile dealership was renovated, expanded and transformed into a dialysis facility.


Philadelphia, Mississippi, became the 10th city to be reached when Kidney Care opened a dialysis clinic in the hospital on the Choctaw Reservation. Due to a growing number of patients, the clinic later moved to a modern facility in a shopping center on the outskirts of town.


Grenada, Mississippi, became the 15th city reached by Kidney Care when a Presbyterian church was turned into a dialysis clinic. Dialysis patients from Grenada County and the surrounding areas are still treated there.


Starkville, Mississippi, became the 20th city reached by Kidney Care.


In the 23 years of Kidney Care's existence, Dr. Bower and his dedicated staff of health care providers opened dialysis facilities in 22 different cities. In order to ensure future care for patients, in 1996 Kidney Care, Inc., merged with other dialysis programs and Vanderbilt University to form Renal Care Group, Inc. The proceeds from this transaction were used to form the Kidney Care Foundation. The first grant was awarded to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.


Dr. Bower retired, and the Kidney Care Foundation changed its name to The Bower Foundation.


Dr. Bower received the University of Mississippi Medical Center's first-ever Vanguard Award recognizing his extraordinary contributions to the medical center, the state and kidney patients. That same year, Dr. Bower also received the Hope Award for Outstanding Community Service.