KIDNEYS IN COMMON PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Prepared by: Darin Johnson, 
Executive Director & Co- Founder, Kidneys in Common, Inc.
July, 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Objective

To educate and mobilize civic, fraternal, corporate and faith-based communities in support of their members who may need a kidney transplant and those who would consider living kidney donation.

Goals

To reduce, and eventually eliminate, the waiting list for a kidney transplant.

Kidneys in Common and a Community Driven Solution to Kidney Disease

Kidneys in Common intends to address the need for living kidney transplants by working with national community leaderships to promote awareness and solutions among their memberships. The majority of Americans are represented in their connections to these national organizations — or communities. By establishing awareness programs with leaders at the national level, Kidneys in Common can potentially reach millions of Americans who might consider becoming a donor, and tens of thousands of ESRD patients who are not aware of the options available to them.

By relying upon the expressed desire of national organizations to help members of their personal community, Kidneys in Common can facilitate the dissemination of clear information and direction — allowing would-be kidney donors the opportunity to safely consider donating their extra kidney, and recognize their personal ability to save lives and families from the devastating impact of kidney disease. Even a small percentage increase in the number of living kidney donors can fundamentally alter the fight against kidney disease in this country. New approaches are needed and the community based model represents a new and potentially powerful effort.

Kidneys in Common will not directly engage in any campaigning for kidney donors/donation, nor will it have formal financial ties to organizations which profit from kidney transplant. By removing itself from these roles, Kidneys in Common can provide sorely needed information and honest considerations, while buffering itself and would-be kidney donors from potentially coercive or profit-driven environments.

Helping communities help themselves is step one. When information disseminated through communities results in individuals recognizing a situation which they might positively impact through kidney donation, the second step for Kidneys in Common is to assist them in understanding their options and opportunities according to their own priorities, concerns, timetable and resources.

There is a groundswell of support for elevating the discussion on how best to establish and normalize wider consideration of living kidney donation. Facilitating such a discussion must involve the communities in which people participate and live and which represent the rich diversity within our society. 

 varied community perspectives of faith based, fraternal, civic, academic and corporate organizations that recognize and understand their roles in the solution. Kidneys In Common recognizes the necessity of operating from a position of ethical clarity and transparency. With transparency as a core value in the discussion of living kidney donation and community directed donation, Kidneys in Common will encourage continual examination of existing ethics involved. This discussion will strengthen the Kidneys In Common methods as it introduces a new phase in the fight against end stage renal failure.

Lead funding will be sought from vested individuals who recognize the importance of the KiC mission. Small private and family foundation grant funds will be proposed while the organization positions itself for approaches to larger private and corporate foundations. Emphasis will be placed on the cultivation of a national community of support through traditional mail communications, social and traditional media and strategic personal outreach through board, advisory and staff relationship opportunities. Particular opportunities exist with the primary stake holders involved in the fight against ESRD. This includes but is not limited to pharmaceutical companies, healthcare insurers, and retail pharmacy chains.

The Kidney Failure Epidemic

Kidney Disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.

More than 600,000 Americans suffer from End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

The primary medical response to this is Dialysis, which, while can offer a modest extension of life, does not offer quality of life.

Transplantation is medically acknowledged to be the preferred treatment, offering longer lifespans, fewer complications and a higher quality of life, at much lower expense.

Currently, there are not enough kidneys available for transplant, and the multi-faceted debate on the ethics of living kidney transplant has become a barrier to realistic and appropriate solutions: solutions that are very possible and of which tens of thousands of needy people are never made aware.

Deceased kidney donation efforts have been successful, but have failed to keep pace with the rate of increase in cases of kidney disease.

Over 100,000 people are added to the National Kidney Transplant Waiting list each year.

African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are all disproportionately more likely to need a transplant but less likely to be referred to a transplant center. In fact, tens of thousands of patients medically suitable for transplants never make it to the waiting list.13 The most recent data show that once on the list, African Americans wait 40 percent longer to receive a kidney than whites do, and Hispanic candidates wait 50 percent longer.

Kidneys in Common is working with the national leaders of civic, fraternal, corporate and faith-based communities with which tens of millions of Americans identify, helping them support their members who may need a kidney transplant and those who would consider living kidney donation. Then, Kidneys in Common will provide clear and unbiased information for those members on how best to navigate the kidney health medical landscape to help one another.