Nephrologist Receives Second NKF South Texas Research Grant

Study Continues on Whether Nephrology Care before ESRD Develops Can Help Patients Keep Their Jobs
New York— Monday, August 6, 2018 – For the second straight year, nephrologist Kevin Erickson, MD, MS, has been awarded the Southeast Texas Research Grant from the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) to further examine whether receiving regular nephrology care prior to developing end-stage renal disease (ESRD) helps patients remain employed after their kidneys fail.
“Funding from the National Kidney Foundation has enabled me to study employment during patients' transitions to end-stage kidney disease,” said Dr. Erickson, Assistant Professor, Medicine-Nephrology, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.  “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue this work! I look forward to identifying new ways to assist patients who want to continue working while receiving dialysis.”
Dr. Erickson received the grant as part of the NKF Young Investigator Research Grant Program, which strives to improve the quality of life for those with kidney disease by funding promising young scientists in their research to discover the causes of kidney disease, how to prevent its progression and ways to improve treatment for those living with it today.  Dr. Erickson’s study points out that approximately 10 percent of adults in the United States have chronic kidney disease and are at risk for ESRD, which requires lifelong dialysis treatment or kidney transplantation just to stay alive. The study also states that of the nearly 500,000 patients with ESRD who receive dialysis, 20 percent of them live in California or Texas.
“Many patients with kidney disease are unable to continue working once they develop end-stage kidney disease,” Dr. Erickson said. “Leaving the workforce can lead to a reduced sense of wellbeing, poorer quality of life, and increased government expenditures.  When examining trends in employment over the past two decades, we found that employment has been low among patients starting dialysis in the U.S., and that a third of patients who are working six months prior to the onset of ESRD stop working by the time they initiate dialysis.”
In this consecutive year of funding, Dr. Erickson and his team will study whether access to regular nephrology care before starting dialysis can help patients to remain employed, with a particular focus on socioeconomically disadvantaged patients with Medicaid insurance. The Young Investigator Research Program exists to help Dr. Erickson and other innovative researchers whom NKF recognizes to reach such potentially pioneering results.
"About 40 percent of people who start dialysis each year in the U.S. have little or no prior kidney specialist care,” said Joseph Vassalotti, MD, and Chief Medical Officer of the National Kidney Foundation. “NKF is pleased to support this study to evaluate the impact of nephrology care before dialysis on maintaining employment after the kidneys fail."
NKF Young Investigator Grants are awarded for one-year terms. They are given based upon careful and balanced peer review by an independent committee, with an emphasis on the support of high-quality, clinical investigation.  
Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources for both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease. 
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history.  People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information about NKF visit