On April 3, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) hosted its annual Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. Twenty-seven AKF Ambassadors from 19 states and the District of Columbia gathered in our nation's capital to share their personal stories with kidney disease and advocate on key issues affecting people with kidney disease.
AKF Ambassadors had meetings with 61 Congressional offices, where they discussed the importance of protecting access to charitable premium assistance and encouraged members of Congress to cosponsor the Living Donor Protection Act (H.R. 1224 / S. 511). The legislation would protect living donors from discrimination for life, disability and long-term care insurance, and clarify in federal statute that living donors may use the Family and Medical Leave Act to recover from donation surgery.
In addition, AKF hosted a well-attended Congressional briefing on the topic of kidney disease and communities of color. The briefing was live-streamed on Facebook and has already had over 14,000 views. Physician and former member of Congress Donna M. Christensen, M.D. (D-VI) provided opening remarks and was followed by a fantastic panel of speakers that included:
- Dr. Sandeep Patel, Director of KidneyX (Kidney Innovation Accelerator) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Dr. Patrick Gee, a kidney transplant recipient and APOL 1 study participant
- Dr. Frances Ashe-Goins, R.N., M.P.H., FAAN, a mother and caregiver of a person with kidney disease and former Deputy Director, Office of Women's Health at HHS
- Drs. Marilyn Hughes Gaston and Gayle Porter, authors of Prime Time: The African American Woman's Complete Guide to Midlife Health and Wellness and founders of the Prime Time Sister Circles program.
- Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ), a person receiving dialysis treatments and strong advocate for those affected by kidney disease.
Our Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill is a highlight of AKF's advocacy activities every year. As AKF Ambassador Jessie Way said about the event: "It was really an inspiring, humbling experience to spend time with [AKF's] amazing advocates and venture out into the world to be a voice for the people in the kidney community."
AKF's Advocacy Day is made possible due to the Ambassadors who devote their time and energy to share their stories as people on dialysis, living with kidney transplants, living donors, caregivers and loved ones of people with kidney disease. AKF would like to thank all the AKF Ambassadors for their dedication in the fight against kidney disease.
Thank you to our sponsors:
- Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
- Biotechnology Innovation Organization