By Kevin Longino, Interim CEO, National Kidney Foundation
My name is Kevin Longino and I am a kidney transplant recipient, long-time kidney care advocate and the new interim CEO for the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). As someone who has a long history with kidney disease, I am excited to take on this new challenge. Kidney disease has been a part of my life in some way for as long as I can remember. My maternal grandfather died of kidney failure in 1953. He was only 41 years old. My mother has been living with kidney disease most of her adult life and is also a dialysis patient. And when I was 39 years old, I was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerular Sclerosis.
My nephrologist immediately told me I had to reduce stress and begin to follow a healthy diet specifically tailored for people living with chronic kidney disease. At first I was in denial, but I soon realized these changes were necessary if I wanted to keep my kidneys functioning for as long as possible. I decided to leave my corporate career in the computer industry and I adopted an overall healthier lifestyle. And I’m so glad I did. As a result, I was able to postpone the need for dialysis for almost four years. While I was on peritoneal dialysis, I was fortunate to receive a kidney transplant from a deceased donor. That was in 2004, and my latest labs show that my transplanted kidney is still doing well.
I strongly believe that we must raise awareness about kidney disease. Through my personal experience, I know first-hand how early detection and preventative actions can actually slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease. This is why I became actively involved with NKF. I served on the National Board of Directors Executive Committee for three years before my current role as interim CEO. NKF is committed to our pillars of Awareness, Prevention and Treatment in order to improve the diagnosis, prognosis and overall care of patients living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and those at risk. One of our major priorities is to identify and overcome barriers to CKD testing, detection and management in the primary care setting. As the NKF continues to engage the primary care community and transform practice and systems, we will be working towards the goals of:
- Identifying methods for clinicians to accurately assess their skill in CKD diagnosis and management
- Introducing quality improvement strategies to guide clinicians toward high-quality CKD care
- Developing targeted education to transform CKD care in primary care settings.
Our dedication to professional education extends to the nephrology and transplant community. Through hosting our premiere educational conference, the Spring Clinical Meetings, producing of a wide range of clinical tools and other continuing medical education programs, we are committed to ensuring that professionals are equipped with the latest standards and information to provide the best possible treatment.
As a kidney transplant recipient, I understand the importance of supporting the entire kidney community, and I am excited to be involved with the Foundation during this exciting time.