Are you passionate about preventing kidney disease? Do you enjoy educating others about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle? If so, our Kidney Health Coach program may be for you!

Kidney Health Coach is the American Kidney Fund’s FREE community health education program. The online Kidney Health Coach training course contains the most up-to-date information about preventing, managing, and treating kidney disease, as well as living a healthy lifestyle.

To get started, you must take the forty-five minute online course and pass a short quiz which certifies you as a Kidney Health Coach. You will then be equipped with the necessary tools to educate others about kidney disease.

Kidney Health Coaches have access to newly updated educational resources, incentives for participation, and most importantly, access to support and guidance from dedicated AKF staff members leading the program. Coaches can also find support and share their experiences through the connected community of Kidney Health Coaches doing similar work.

Who can become a Kidney Health Coach?

Anyone interested in educating others about kidney disease can become a Kidney Health Coach. Though the program is helpful to those who work in the health field you do not need to have a health background in order to become a Kidney Health Coach. The course is made for beginners.

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Why ‘coach’?

Coaches should have a strong relationship with their team, and we hope that our coaches will develop relationships with the people they educate to prevent and fight kidney disease.

A coach can be a mentor and a role model, and as a Kidney Health Coach, you should strive to be a role model of health for the people you educate.  The Kidney Health Coach course is structured around ‘defensive and offensive plays’ that the coach will use to educate others about preventing, managing, and treating kidney disease.

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Steps to become a Kidney Health Coach

Becoming a Kidney Health Coach is simple.

  1. Take the Kidney Health Coach course and pass a short quiz.
  2. Connect with a group or site and schedule an education session.
  3. Log the education sessions you host.

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Materials

American Kidney Fund fact sheets

You can print the American Kidney Fund fact sheets and distribute them to those who attend your education sessions. The fact sheets are valuable resources for participants.

Download the AKF fact sheets:

Kidney Health Coach presentation

  • Use the presentation and the notes for your education sessions.
  • Upon completion of the course, you will receive a link to download the presentation.
  • If you did not receive an email about the presentation within 7 days of completing the course, email us at education@kidneyfund.org.

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Planning a session

Planning and hosting your first education session could seem a bit overwhelming. The great thing about Kidney Health Coach is that we do not have requirements about who you educate, where you educate, or how many people you educate.

Choosing a location

Usually it is easier to find an established group of people and bring the education session to them, instead of attracting an unfamiliar audience to you. Consider a few things when choosing a location or population:

Is there a group I am already connected with in my community?

Having a connection to a group gives you an advantage. If you have established a trusting relationship with a group, this will make your audience more receptive to learning from you.

Is there a population at risk that I can reach?

Though it is not a requirement, finding a population at risk for kidney disease to educate is ideal, since there are people who are more at risk for kidney disease than others.  Consider these risk factors for kidney disease when you are choosing an audience:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Being 60+ years old
  • Being African American, Hispanic, Indian American or Alaska Native, or Asian-American

What groups are already established that I could connect with?

Consider:

  • Community centers
  • Senior centers
  • YMCAs
  • Place of worship (e.g. churches, temples, etc.)
  • Volunteer groups
  • Hospitals
  • Gyms
  • Family members

Preparing for the session

Once you have connected with a group, and they have confirmed they are interested in learning about kidney disease, it is time to start planning.

  • Set a date and time for the education session.
  • Check the availability of technology at your site.

Certain sites may have a computer and projector you can use, but some may have neither. You may be expected to bring your own laptop, or the site may be able to provide one. These are details you will need to discuss with your site.
Be flexible. If a projector is not available for the presentation, you can print the slides for participants to follow along, and deliver the presentation verbally.

Advertise

Create a flyer for your presentation, and talk to the site about how they advertise for events. There may be a bulletin board with upcoming events, space on a website to advertise, or an established listserv.

Practice, practice, practice

You will be better prepared, which will result in your audience feeling confident in your knowledge and skills as a coach.

Gather your materials

Remember to bring:

  • The Kidney Health Coach presentation; whether it is in the PDF form or printed out
  • Printouts of the 5 AKF fact sheets for the expected number of participants

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Hosting a session

Remember, hosting a session should be enjoyable! You can expect to host an education session for about an hour.

Consider your audience

As an educator, it is important to understand your audience, and meet them where they are.  Certain concepts, such as technical terms and the complicated nature of diet can be overwhelming for your audience. Therefore, it is important to use simple terms when explaining information, being cautious to not be condescending by “speaking down” to your audience. If you need help with this technique, the American Kidney Fund will be glad to assist you.

You may want to informally survey your audience to get an understanding of what their needs are, and what they would like to get out of the session. Ask the group how much they know about kidney disease, and what brought them to the presentation. You may find people with kidney disease in the audience, and you may find some who know nothing about it. Asking these questions will allow you to have a general idea of their base knowledge, and to have not made assumptions about the knowledge level of the audience.

Answering questions

Answering questions from participants can be tricky. Remember, you should not give specific medical advice, even if you know the answer. Try to stay broad with your answers, and stick with the facts. If participants ask personal health questions, suggest they write their questions down and bring them to their next doctor’s appointment.

Remember, you do not need to be an expert. You might get some questions you do not know the answer to, and that is ok! Try your best, and be honest with the audience about what you do or do not know.

You can write questions you have been asked in the Facebook group, and ask for advice from your fellow Kidney Health Coaches. You may also email us at education@kidneyfund.org for suggestions.

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Log a Kidney Health Coach session

Logging your education sessions helps us keep track of our coaches’ progress. Please do not forget this very important step. Give us as much information as you can about the session. Your feedback will help us improve the program.

Upon completion of the course, you will receive an email with the link to a webpage where you can log the sessions you host.

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Get rewarded

The American Kidney Fund greatly appreciates what you do as coaches, and we want to recognize you for your generous service.

One session

  • Log the details of one session and receive a Kidney Health Coach pin and 50 AKF stickers to distribute to participants at your upcoming Kidney Health Coach sessions.

Five sessions

  • Log the details of five sessions and receive a Kidney Health Coach t-shirt.

We will email you within 7 business days of reaching a milestone to provide an update on your reward. If you believe you have reached a milestone and have not received an email within 7 business days, please email us at education@kidneyfund.org.

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Get involved

Join the Kidney Health Coach Facebook group

Upon completion of the Kidney Health Coach course, you will be invited to join the Kidney Health Coach Facebook group via email.

If you did not receive an email about joining the Facebook group within 7 days of completing the course, email us at education@kidneyfund.org.

Here are some suggestions about how to utilize the Facebook group:

  • Connect with other Kidney Health Coaches. This is a great place to share ideas and tips for hosting a session. You never know, you might even find someone who could co-host with you!
  • Get a tough question during a session that you did not know the answer to? Write it in the Facebook group. A fellow Kidney Health Coach or AKF staff member will get back to you. By sharing your question publically, you will be educating other Kidney Health Coaches, too.
  • Share the successes and challenges you may face. Others will likely have similar experiences.
  • Get information from AKF about webinars for Kidney Health Coaches, tips for hosting sessions, and AKF events.

Follow AKF on social media

Join the AKF advocacy network

http://www.kidneyfund.org/advocacy

Help AKF raise funds through KIDNEYNATION

http://kidneynation.org

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Connect with AKF staff

We are here to help. Email us at education@kidneyfund.org for support. We will do our best to respond to your inquiry within 7 business days.

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