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February 15th, 2017

Partnership to Improve Access to Kidney Healthcare



BALTIMORE, MD – The NAACP announced that, with support from Baxter International Inc., it is launching a series of town hall events in communities across the country to improve knowledge about kidney disease and dialysis treatment options for African Americans.  Baxter’s support will enable the project to bring needed information about prevention and treatment of kidney disease to African Americans, whose rates of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) continue to rise at alarming rates.

The program, entitled “NAACP Dialysis Health Imperative for Access, Choice, and Equity (ACE),” will inform communities about access to care for kidney disease, options for dialysis treatment, and the disproportionate impact of kidney disease on Blacks and other people of color. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, African Americans comprise 32 percent of Americans with kidney failure—a rate more than double their representation in the national population.  Moreover, among African Americans with ESRD, studies show particularly low rates of home dialysis, though technologies to deliver dialysis in the home are widely available and studies have demonstrated that home dialysis can dramatically improve quality of life and bring other important health benefits.

Dr. Marjorie Innocent, NAACP’s senior director of health programs, said: “Given the high rates of African Americans and people of color living with kidney disease, it is important that they have the information needed to manage their illness effectively and access the best treatment modalities available, including home-based therapies. At the same time, there needs to be more targeted efforts in communities nationwide to inform people about how to prevent kidney disease and live healthier lives. We must focus on disease management while not putting aside basic prevention.”

“As a nephrologist, I have seen first-hand the devastating impact that kidney disease has on the African American community,” said Maggie Gellens, M.D., medical director at Baxter. “Strong disease and therapy education is our best tool to empower kidney disease patients and their families to take control of their health. Baxter is pleased to partner with the NAACP as we work together to address this important issue.”

The town hall series will include visits to Los Angeles, Jackson, Miss., and Chicago between January and April 2017.  More information about each event can be found on the NAACP website, www.naacp.org.

The project will bring together patients and caregivers, medical experts, community leaders, and advocates to discuss kidney health and identify resources needed to improve access to different dialysis modalities. To support the program’s emphasis on improved understanding of and access to home dialysis options, the NAACP is working closely on the initiative with the Alliance for Home Dialysis, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization led by a cross-section of clinical, patient and industry stakeholders.

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