Maryland Nephrologist Receives NKF Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Grant

“Taking Charge of Your Kidney Disease: Longitudinal Patient Education Program” is Project Study
New York— Monday, August 6, 2018  Daphne H. Knicely, MD, has been awarded the 2018 Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Grant from the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) to spearhead a vital program that seeks to sharply increase “health literacy” among patients who have chronic kidney disease.
“Helping patients understand kidney disease is a passion of mine,” said Dr. Knicely, Associate Director, Nephrology Fellowship Program at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. She also is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine . “Being given the opportunity to improve the way we teach patients through another educational strategy is very exciting! I’m thankful to NKF for this opportunity.”
Dr. Knicely is collaborating on the project with colleague Sumeska Thavarajah, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Dr. Knicely received the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research 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. Thavarajah and I have worked diligently to develop different education programs to help patients facing kidney disease,” Dr. Knicely continued.  “About 23 percent of the 30 million people with chronic kidney disease in the United States have trouble understanding their illness and how to manage it. This can cause poor health outcomes. Chronic kidney disease knowledge can be improved through educational interventions, so national guidelines recommend educating patients and family/caregivers. We will use this grant for a pilot study to establish a longitudinal patent education program for patients with advanced chronic kidney disease along with family/caregivers. The program will meet over 12 sessions to cover different components of chronic kidney disease in an in-depth manner, using methods from a chronic disease self-management program.”
The overall hope of Drs. Knicely and Thavarajah is that the program will empower patients with knowledge at this critical time – during advanced chronic kidney disease, leading to dialysis. “We want to help ease anxiety, improve understanding, encourage compliance, and improve clinical outcomes,” Dr. Knicely said. “If there is a benefit from this type of patient education in chronic kidney disease at our institution, then we can distribute it to other institutions for use in the future.”
The Young Investigator Research Program exists to help Dr. Knicely and other innovative researchers whom NKF recognizes to reach such potentially pioneering results. “According to Healthy People 2020, fewer than 1 in 10 American adults with chronic kidney disease are aware of low kidney function, ” said Joseph Vassalotti, MD, and Chief Medical Officer of the National Kidney Foundation. “NKF is pleased to support this study of an educational intervention to improve kidney health literacy.”
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