Tell us about a DEI initiative in your division that you would like to highlight.
Over the past year, Nephrology has undertaken several impactful DEI initiatives. A significant change was the early 2023 revision of waiting times for African American kidney transplant candidates. This change, aligned with US Organ Donation System recommendations, addressed a long-standing bias by removing a race-based calculation in estimating kidney function. The transplant team, led by Jeremy Taylor, MD, and Erika Venniro, PAC, made the adjustments for the applicable patients very quickly, and patients were also notified about these changes in their waiting time. This significant step towards equity has improved transplant opportunities for these patients.
Our Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) education program, spearheaded by Richard Wing, MD and Fahad Saeed, MBBS, has also seen remarkable progress. The team's efforts in developing comprehensive educational materials and organizing informative sessions, facilitated by our skilled nurse practitioners and registered nurses, have significantly improved patient understanding of CKD, its progression, how to slow CKD progression, and management options.
Additionally, our community outreach has also grown. The H2O program, created by division chief Thu Le, MD, Fahad Saeed, MBBS, and the local PUSH Theater performers, focuses on educating school-age children about hydration, nutrition, and physical activity. This program, supported by pediatric and adult Nephrology faculty, will reach numerous schools this year. Furthermore, our collaboration with UR Well to have nephrology clinics at St. Joseph Neighborhood Clinic, led by Scott Liebman, MD, MPH and Catherine Moore, MD, alongside establishing a nephrology subspecialty clinic at Jordan Health, underscores our dedication to accessible healthcare. Our local National Kidney Foundation will collaborate in this clinical program to bring their support and resources in nutritional education to patients at St. Joseph Neighborhood Clinic.
What are the future plans for the DEI initiatives that are being highlighted?
Looking ahead, we are enthusiastic about the growth and sustainability of our DEI initiatives. Our CKD education program is set to become more inclusive, with classes soon offered in Spanish by Mary Nowak, NP, our fantastic nurse practitioner. She is a native Spanish speaker, and she is very passionate about improving patient education and communication. This will allow us to effectively reach a wider patient demographic and be a first step to offering these classes in ASL and other languages, depending on the patient's needs. Expanding the H2O program to additional schools will further our mission of promoting healthy living among children. Lastly, our St. Joseph Neighborhood Clinic and Jordan Health clinics are poised to strengthen our community presence, fostering trust, and improving health care access for those in need. These efforts are foundational to our mission and reflect our commitment to inclusivity and equity in healthcare.
What advice would you give to others who want to undertake similar DEI initiatives in their division?
For those looking to embark on DEI initiatives, my advice centers on understanding your core motivation and building a supportive network. Our achievements stem from a unified effort, bolstered by strong leadership support and team collaboration. Such a collaborative approach not only sustains our initiatives but magnifies their impact, moving us closer to achieving equitable health care for the patients we serve.