John M. Newmann, an economist who spent much of his life battling kidney disease, which he parlayed into a prominent career as a patient advocate, health consultant and educator, died Aug. 12 in Berkeley, Calif. He was 70.

Newmann’s kidneys failed in 1971 as a result of a congenital condition.

For years, he underwent dialysis treatments three times a week. From 1981 to 1984, he was president of the American Association of Kidney Patients. He testified before Congress, appeared on ABC’s “Nightline” and NBC’s “Today” and advocated for greater research into renal disease. He encouraged patients to minimize the effects through exercise, nutrition and medical treatment.