This blog post was submitted by: Clarissa Diamantidis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Duke General Internal Medicine and PREPARE NOW Collaborator.
Over 13,000 nephrologists and kidney disease researchers convened in Chicago, IL last week for the annual Kidney Week hosted by the American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Despite its name, event attendees hailed from both the United States and across the globe, eager to learn about current advances in the treatment of kidney disease.
Greeted by unseasonably balmy weather, I and several other PREPARE NOW team members were in attendance. A plenary address by current ASN President Raymond Harris, MD kicked off the four-day event. In his remarks, Dr. Harris spoke of the future of nephrology, and emphasized the need for more specialized training pathways for clinicians, improvement in patient safety parameters for patients with kidney disease, and the need to develop an alternative to dialysis for the treatment of kidney failure.
Throughout the conference, there was significant emphasis on the need to not just prevent and treat kidney disease, but to develop a cure. As an extension of this, many lectures surrounded the concept of precision medicine as it relates to kidney disease risk, with particular attention devoted to APOL1 risk variants in African Americans. At a luncheon hosted by the Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup of the ASN, Griffin Rodgers, MD, Director of the NIDDK, described the NIH’s Kidney Precision Medicine Project and the need to diversify the nephrology workforce. ASN President-elect Eleanor Lederer gave an update on the ASN’s strategic plan, and highlighted the ASN’s mission statement to “prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases.” Other notable topics included outcomes following episodes of acute kidney injury (AKI), population health initiatives, and disparities in renal transplant outcomes.
Our own Principal Investigator, Dr. Ebony Boulware, spoke on the topics of health system innovation and patient engagement in kidney disease, and I was fortunate enough to to speak on the concept of mHealth to reduce disparities.
As always, it was great to connect with old friends and colleagues and to share in our mutual passion for kidney disease research. I look forward to doing it again next year in New Orleans!
Submitted by PREPARE NOW Stakeholder, Kelli Collins, MSW, Senior Director of Patient Services at National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) has a long history of putting patients first by advocating on behalf of kidney patients; providing education, information and resources to them; and educating healthcare professionals. Being part of the Prepare Now research study with Duke University and Geisinger Health Systems fits in perfectly with our patient-focused mission and we welcome the opportunity!
We are especially interested in helping to figure out the best methods for educating people facing kidney failure about their treatment options. As part of the Prepare Now intervention, study participants will be given the opportunity to talk with someone who has been on dialysis or who has already had a kidney transplant. Additionally, if they have a friend or family member who is considering living organ donation, NKF Peers can match their loved one with a living donor who has already been through the process and can share their experiences first-hand.
Facing kidney failure can be overwhelming. There is a lot to learn and difficult choices to make. It’s helpful to know that there is help out there and that there are other people who have also walked down a similar path. Talking with someone who has been through a similar situation can be a powerful experience. NKF’s successful peer mentoring program, NKF Peers, has been matching people interested in receiving support for over five years now. We are thrilled to share the success of our program with study participants and we encourage anyone interested in talking with someone about dialysis, kidney transplant, or living donation to contact us. We look forward to helping! NKF Peers 1-855-653-7337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.