Blog post

Kidney Action Week Preview: Q&A with Dr. Dinushika Mohottige

As we count down the days until the start of the American Kidney Fund's fifth annual Kidney Action Week, we are previewing a few of the exciting sessions that are on the agenda!
Dr. Mohottige photo

As we count down the days until the start of the American Kidney Fund's fifth annual Kidney Action Week, we are previewing a few of the exciting sessions that are on the agenda!

Kidney Action Week is a free, virtual event that will bring together members of the kidney community during Kidney Month for a series of discussions on all things related to kidney health, including dialysis, kidney disease prevention, kidney-friendly eating, transplantation and innovations in kidney disease. In addition to taking part in all the great sessions happening, you'll be able to ask experts questions and connect with a variety of health resources that will help you live your best life. Our full Kidney Action Week agenda is available here.

In this blog post, we will be previewing "Structural Inequities Impacting Access to Transplant: Referral, Evaluation and the Waitlist," which will be held Wednesday, March 20 at 4 p.m. ET with speaker Dinushika Mohottige, MD, MPH. 

What got you interested in kidney health and why did you decide to become a nephrologist?

My mother is a nephrologist, so I grew up with a deep appreciation for the long-term connections my mom had with people she cared for.  I was always struck by what I witnessed - stark disparities in who was impacted by kidney disease. As a younger person, I never thought I wanted to be a nephrologist. However, after training in public health, I was left with a desire to be part of work that could translate community and patient voices into actions that undo inequality. Kidney disease is representative of stark social inequities in the U.S., and I wanted to be part of change while also having the privilege of developing meaningful relationships and caring for people with kidney disease.

What is one thing you wish more people knew or understood about kidney disease and health disparities, specifically?

There is a deep connectedness between social policies, practices, institutions and the disparities we see in health - including kidney disease and the conditions that often cause it, like diabetes and high blood pressure. We won't be able to undo the longstanding inequalities we have seen in kidney disease if we don't start to tackle and invest in root causes, like food security, housing, wealth and other key underlying social factors.

Without giving too much away, what will you discuss in your Kidney Action Week session?

We will discuss some of the major factors that contribute to disparities in kidney transplantation and discuss possible solutions. We will also learn from each other and how we can overcome some of these barriers and remain empowered through this process.

Why should people attend Kidney Action Week?

Come to Kidney Action Week to connect and learn with members of the kidney care community. Knowledge and empowerment about health - and some of the factors that influence kidney health - hold tremendous power. Also, come to have your voice heard about what kidney care professionals should know to make kidney care better and more equitable for all!

And why should people attend your session, specifically? 

Kidney transplant is considered the optimal treatment for most people experiencing kidney failure. Come to hear about some of the factors that influence the journey to transplant: what you should know, what some key resources could be through the journey and how you can advocate for yourself and others.

Click here to register for Kidney Action Week!


Jenni Muns

Jenni Muns is the associate director of communications at AKF