NKF Launches Equity Campaign at Congressional Hispanic and Black Caucus Events

October 02, 2023, 2:51pm EDT

Two advocates in a congress member's office

National Kidney Foundation staff recently launched the KIDNEY EQUITY FOR ALL initiative at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s (CHCI) Leadership Conference and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.. Over four jam-packed days, NKF raised awareness about the burden of kidney disease in communities of color and educated lawmakers from across the country about KIDNEY EQUITY FOR ALL.

Highlighting Kidney Disease in Latino Communities

President Sylvia Rosas and Health Policy Director Ignacio Alvarez

The CHCI’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration kicked off on September 19th, with thousands of Hispanic and Latino leaders from across the country gathering in Washington. Over three days, these influential leaders discussed issues impacting their communities, including health care, education, justice, and the economy.

At the event, NKF promoted our “Are you the 33%?” quiz. We even offered attendees free Healthy.Io’s Mindful Kidney Tests which allows them to test their kidney function at home. 

NKF President Sylvia Rosas also met with key Hispanic congressional leaders to promote our policy priorities and attended their 46th Annual Gala, where she and Health Policy Director Ignacio Alvarez heard from President Biden himself.

Want to make an impact at events like this? Become a Voices for Kidney Health advocate to get started.

Bringing Kidney Equity to the Forefront

Sharon Pearce and Rapper Freeway

On the 20th, NKF joined with our partners at Bayer to host an educational session at the CBC ALC entitled “Kidney Equity for All: Saving Others From the Fire through Earlier Detection & Awareness.” The event featured NKF President-Elect Kirk Campbell; Vicki Hall, Executive Director of Market Access Strategy, CVR, Bayer; and platinum recording artist Freeway, who stole the show with his inspiring personal story about life as a transplant recipient and a donor dad.  

“Kidney disease is a shameful example of racial and ethnic inequality in health care,” said Freeway. “Kidney disease is more common among Black Americans, we’re more likely to have kidney failure, less likely to get options like home dialysis or transplant, and more likely to die from kidney disease complications. But we can put a stop to this inequality by raising awareness, increasing diagnosis and treatment, and ending policies that perpetuate racism in health care.”

The conversation continued later that week when NKF staff attended a kidney health panel hosted by our partners at the American Society of Nephrology and Baxter Healthcare. Speakers included Dr. Deidra Crews, M.D., ASN’s incoming president; Dora Hughes, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Rep. Jonathan Jackson (IL-1), with whom a Voices for Kidney Health advocate met as part of our August in-district meetings; and Rep. Jim Clyburn (SC-6), who reaffirmed his commitment to securing more funds for kidney disease research after the passing of his late wife due to Chronic Kidney Disease. 

The team also went out into the community, where the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses’ Foundation hosted a health fair and breakfast. Here NKF staff promoted the quiz and distributed comfort packs. Freeway joined in the event, sharing his story with attendees. He also took the stage and freestyled a few verses of his support for NKF and the importance of kidney health.

Learn more about KIDNEY EQUITY FOR ALL™.

Advancing Equity in Transplant

Throughout these events, NKF also promoted a new petition that asks the federal Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network to remove race from the Kidney Donor Risk Index (KDRI). This petition is based on the foundations established in our new policy paper, Advancing Equity in Kidney Health, which states clearly that NKF refuses to accept stark racial and ethnic inequities in kidney care as the status quo. This algorithm has the unintended effect of scoring kidneys from black donors less favorably than those from non-Black donors.

Race has no place in clinical algorithms, and we must do everything we can to promote justice in transplantation to achieve KIDNEY EQUITY FOR ALL™. 

Join the thousands of advocates who have already signed.  

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