Published on February 1, 2022 | Recruitment is now open for the PKD Foundation Peer Ambassadors Program! Created to build new bridges between the Foundation and previously underserved communities, the goal of the Peer Ambassadors Program is to engage new audiences with culturally and linguistically relevant programs and content, increase education and awareness around polycystic kidney disease (PKD), and connect underserved communities to the PKD community-at-large.
Understanding Racial Differences in Kidney Disease
PKD is an equal opportunity disease. Yet gaps in kidney treatment and care disproportionately affect underserved communities, especially Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino populations. Researchers have identified racial differences in age at kidney failure and rates of mortality among older patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).
In addition, in the U.S. ADPKD population, Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino patients reach kidney failure earlier than White/Caucasian patients. And well earlier than the average age in the U.S. of 57 years. Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino patients also start dialysis more frequently instead of receiving a preemptive transplant. Furthermore, a survey by the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology identified large gaps in rates of kidney donation for Black/African American patients specifically.
In fact, only 1 in every 20 Black/African American ADPKD patients receives a preemptive transplant compared to about 1 in every 5 White/Caucasian patients, making Black/African Americans the least likely to receive a preemptive transplant among other racial and ethnic groups.
Kidney Health Disparities
Disparities in care for PKD patients of color are exacerbated by existing issues pertaining to social determinants of health that have long affected communities of color. This includes, but is not limited to, lack of access to quality and specialty healthcare providers, linguistic barriers, and implicit racial bias that impacts the treatment of minority kidney patients.
Kidney health equity has been a longstanding priority for the Foundation. The launch of the Peer Ambassadors Program is a significant step toward addressing barriers affecting minority access to PKD health information and care. By mobilizing PKD advocates and leaders in Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino communities, the Foundation seeks to reach more diverse audiences and create a more inclusive PKD community. Increased awareness will help us advance PKD research and provide more therapeutic treatments for all.
How You Can Join the Peer Ambassadors Program
The Peer Ambassadors Program is made possible by a grant from Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.