National Kidney Month

National Kidney Month serves as a reminder of the importance of kidney health and the significance of proactive measures in preventing kidney disease. By raising awareness, promoting healthy lifestyles, supporting research efforts, and fostering a sense of community among patients and caregivers, we can work together to reduce the burden of kidney-related conditions and improve the quality of life for individuals affected by kidney disease. Let us seize this opportunity to educate, empower, and advocate for kidney health throughout the month of March and beyond.

NKF Recognizes March as National Kidney Month

KIDNEY EQUITY FOR ALL™ Takes Center Stage as Organization Highlights Work to Combat Disparities

(Feb. 29, 2024, New York, NY) — As March approaches, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is gearing up to observe National Kidney Month, a crucial time dedicated to raising awareness about kidney health and chronic kidney disease (CKD). With World Kidney Day falling on Thursday, March 14th, this month holds particular significance in advocating for KIDNEY EQUITY FOR ALL™.

Health disparities continue to plague underserved populations and impact the kidney patient’s journey. KIDNEY EQUITY FOR ALL™ is a patient-focused, community-minded movement dedicated to ensuring ALL kidney patients have access to high-quality, patient-centered kidney care from the moment of diagnosis to transplantation.

“Black and Hispanic populations have the most significant kidney disease burden and the highest rates of kidney disease mortality,” said NKF President Sylvia Rosas, MD. “Despite this, they are exposed to inequities in kidney care including evaluation and obtaining a kidney transplant. It is imperative that health leaders prioritize actions to promote and achieve equity in kidney care.”

To mark National Kidney Month and World Kidney Day, NKF is highlighting several ways the organization is promoting kidney equity.

Kidney Risk Quiz: NKF’s Kidney Risk Quiz at MinuteForYourKidneys.org has empowered over 400,000 Black/African American and Hispanic individuals to understand their risk of kidney disease, with over 700,000 people of diverse backgrounds participating. By taking a few minutes to complete the quiz, individuals can potentially save lives and safeguard their kidney health.

Proposed Removal of Race from KDRI: The Kidney Disease Risk Index (KDRI) is a formula that estimates the risk of kidney failure after a recipient receives a donated kidney. Under the current equation, kidneys donated by African Americans are miscalculated as having poorer organ function than kidneys from White donors. Thanks to NKF’s advocacy, the government has proposed removing the race qualifier from the risk index. Once implemented, this policy will increase the number of kidneys utilized for transplant.

Assuring Equitable Access to Transplant: Under the previous race-inclusive eGFR, Black and African American patients were often denied access to the transplant waitlist because the old equation over-estimated their kidney function. Our work helped lead the Organ Procurement Transplant Network (OPTN) to require all transplant hospitals in the US to use a new race-free equation. As part of the change, transplant programs reexamined their waiting lists, and, where appropriate, modified wait times for adult and pediatric Black or African American candidates affected by the previous race-inclusive eGFR calculations.

Increased Screening for Priority Populations: Through initiatives like the CKDIntercept program, NKF has partnered with insurers, healthcare providers, and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to implement targeted screening programs for high-risk populations. The success of these programs has prompted further investment and expansion.

Coast to Coast Initiatives for Kidney Health: Through our CKDIntercept program, NKF partnered with insurers, providers and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) for a targeted pilot program aimed at some of the highest-risk patient populations. In just one city (St. Louis), NKF’s work led to about 5,000 Healthy.io test kits being distributed. The outcomes of this program are so promising that NKF was awarded an additional grant to replicate this program in other FQHCs.

“NKF is leading the way to make sure all Americans have high-quality kidney care – from diagnosis to dialysis care, to transplant and beyond,” said Kevin Longino NKF CEO and transplant recipient. “We are committed to creating a community where there is KIDNEY EQUITY FOR ALL™.”

For more information about National Kidney Month and NKF’s initiatives, please visit www.kidney.org.

About Kidney Disease
In the United States, more than 37 million adults are estimated to have kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it. About 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black or African American people are about four times as likely as White people to have kidney failure. Hispanics experience kidney failure at about double the rate of White people.

About KIDNEY EQUITY FOR ALL™
Historically, access to kidney health has remained inequitable, with persistent disparities disproportionately affecting underserved populations and impacting the entire kidney patient journey. To address these disparities, NKF is urging industry and community leaders to join them on their KIDNEY EQUITY FOR ALL mission by allocating resources to improve healthcare access and outcomes in communities of color. This is a tangible opportunity for businesses to incorporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles into their operations. For more information on KIDNEY EQUITY FOR ALL, visit www.kidneyequityforall.org.

About the National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation is revolutionizing the fight to save lives by eliminating preventable kidney disease, accelerating innovation for the dignity of the patient experience, and dismantling structural inequities in kidney care, dialysis, and transplantation.

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