Following a series of advocate-driven policy wins in Congress and state capitals across the country, the National Kidney Foundation recently announced it was launching Voices for Kidney Health, a nationwide community of kidney patients and care professionals dedicated to addressing the challenges of kidney disease with the help of their elected leaders and public officials.
Big victories are possible when you get involved
"Being an advocate shifts me from the sidelines and into playing an active role to help improve the patient experience for our kidney community," said Kentucky-based advocate Beth Burbridge, who partnered with NKF to pass legislation to protect living organ donors in her state. "The Voices for Kidney Health community brings the stories of real patients to policymaking. This will ensure that kidney patients' needs are bing met."
Members of the Voices for Kidney Health community focus on advocating for policies and initiatives that will help prevent and delay chronic kidney disease, promote quality care for patients with kidney failure, and ensure that everyone who needs a transplant can get one. These advocates understand that early prevention and detection saves lives, and that support from leaders at local, state, and national levels is vital to raising awareness.
Change starts with you
"The only way to get change is to ask for it. Staying silent helps no one, including yourself," said Dr. Holly Mattix-Kramer, MD, MPH, past NKF president. “Advocacy is our path to change and your voice matters.”
Voices for Kidney Health advocates harness their life stories with the expertise of the health professional community. Together, these volunteers are uniquely positioned to highlight challenges that they know from firsthand experience, propose policies that address these issues, and collaborate with key decision makers to bring about change.
“As an advocate, I want to be a trusted voice with elected officials when it comes to kidney disease issues affecting the people of our state. I like that there’s a network of involved and committed advocates to learn from and be inspired by,” said Arkansas-based advocate Elizabeth Fortune. “It’s such a great feeling when legislation gets passed; you know that your hard work paid off and you know you’re taking steps to improve outcomes for kidney patients.”
Your voice can save lives
Voices for Kidney Health advocates are eager to continue working with Congress and state legislatures to pass bills that will stop insurance companies from discriminating against living organ donors, expand access to home dialysis and transplantation, and spur greater investment in kidney disease awareness, healthcare equity, and research. To join the community and add your voice, please sign up at voices.kidney.org.