Patients, families, and health professionals unite to advocate for change
New York, NY – June 1, 2021 — Today, National Kidney Foundation launches Voices for Kidney Health™, a diverse nationwide community of dedicated kidney patient and health professional advocates working with elected officials and other public leaders to create policies and initiatives that help those living with kidney disease and to promote better kidney health. By harnessing their life stories to enact change, Voices advocates work to ensure quality care for patients with kidney disease and advance policies that would expand access to home dialysis, protect living donors, promote healthcare equity, and spur investment in prevention and research.
“Voices for Kidney Health advocates work tirelessly to advance pro-kidney health policies that will help prevent or delay kidney disease,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant recipient. “We are deeply grateful for the many voices united across the country in their efforts to push for legislative and policy victories like the national Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage legislation that passed last December, as well as state bills passed to protect living organ donors. These individual stories make up a collective voice that strengthens our ability to secure additional victories for the 37 million adults in the U.S. affected by kidney disease.”
Voices advocates and the elected officials who represent them understand the importance of taking real steps to address how kidney disease has an outsized impact on communities of color. Collectively addressing the disparities in kidney disease and kidney care is a key part of the advocacy agenda.
These advocates also know firsthand that early prevention and detection are key to slowing down the progression of kidney disease. With support from leaders at the local, state, and national levels, Voices advocates work to increase investments to educate the public about the risk factors for kidney disease that include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history.
“When I received a diagnosis of kidney disease, I felt alone and hopeless. Going from diagnosis to dialysis to transplant with minimal support only increased my interest and desire to help others experiencing the same thing,” said Voices advocate and kidney transplant recipient Curtis Warfield of Indianapolis, IN. “The Voices for Kidney Health community allows me to stand before elected officials and fellow advocates and be a voice for the unheard and underrepresented communities as we advocate for better and expanded educational programs, preemptive care, fair healthcare coverage, and protection against regulations that hinder the patient’s freedom. The quiet voice is as important as the outspoken voice and the Voices for Kidney Health will allow for all voices to be heard.”
For more details on how to become an advocate and join Voices for Kidney Health, go to voices.kidney.org.
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it. 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. 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 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. Blacks or African Americans are almost 4 times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure. Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.
Approximately 785,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 500,000 of these patients receive dialysis at least three times per week to replace kidney function. Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now. Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years.
About the National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.