The American Kidney Fund's (AKF) top-rated education materials and award-winning education campaigns help patients to manage all aspects of this complicated disease, while also raising awareness and increasing understanding among the general public.
The American Kidney Fund Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) reviews all education materials and website content published by the American Kidney Fund to ensure:
- All content is medically accurate.
- All recommendations for patient care align with the most up-to-date, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.
- The MAC is a multidisciplinary team of nephrologists, nurses, researchers, and other leading kidney disease experts in the field. Many MAC members are also American Society of Nephrology members, grantees of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, or former American Kidney Fund Clinical Scientist in Nephrology program fellows.
Frances Ashe-Goins is an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing and Arnold School of Public Health, and a health consultant with expertise in nursing, minority health and public health issues. She is on several boards and concentrates her volunteer activities with national and local organization that address lupus, kidney disease, women’s rights, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence and sexual assault, human trafficking, maternal mortality, minority women’s health, and healthy youth.
Dr. Ashfaq is an Internist and Nephrologist by training and is board certified in both internal medicine and nephrology. After finishing medical school, Dr. Ashfaq did his internal medicine internship and residency at Good Samaritan Hospital, University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was also a Chief Resident. He then joined North Shore University Hospital, Cornell University School of Medicine for fellowship in Nephrology.
Dr Vinod K Bansal graduated from SMS Medical College, University of Rajasthan in India with both MBBS and MD and further did nephrology training at University of Colorado and UCLA Ceder Sinai. He is Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of Ambulatory dialysis unit and the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. He serves on the editorial board of the American journal of Nephrology and has served in leadership positions in the American Kidney Fund.
Kenneth R. Bridges, M.D.
Dr. Kenneth R. Bridges received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and subsequently trained in internal medicine and hematology in Boston, at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospitals, respectively. Following medical subspecialty training, Dr. Bridges studied the biology of cellular iron metabolism for three years at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He subsequently returned to Harvard as a member of the Hematology Division at Brigham and Women's Hospital, reaching the faculty rank of Associate Professor of Medicine.
In parallel with his laboratory investigation of iron metabolism, Dr. Bridges maintained active clinical work in hematology. In response to the dearth of coordinated, integrated care for people with sickle cell disease at Harvard, he established the Joint Center for Sickle Cell and Thalassemic Disorders at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, which conducted bench-to-patient translational research in addition to providing comprehensive patient care. Dr. Bridges expanded his efforts regionally as a member of the HRSA-sponsored New England Regional Genetics Group, which developed care and management programs for patients with sickle cell disease and thalassemia in New England. He also worked closely with the Sickle Cell Disease Branch of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, serving on many panels including the Data Safety and Monitoring Board for the pivotal trial of hydroxyurea in babies (Baby HUG).
Dr. Bridges has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles during his academic career, as well as number book chapters. He also co-authored with Dr. Howard Pearson of Yale University a textbook on red cell disorders and anemia. Dr. Bridges left academia to work in biotechnology, initially with Hoffman La Roche, followed by three years at Amgen where he worked on Aranesp and the launch of Nplate for treatment of immune thrombocytopenic purpura. Dr. Bridges moved to Onyx Pharmaceuticals where he oversaw several trials involving Kyprolis (carfilzomib) for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Following the Amgen acquisition of Onyx, Dr. Bridges moved to Global Blood Therapeutics in the role of Vice President, Medical Affairs, working on the new treatment for sickle cell disease, Oxbryta (voxelotor). He is the current President of the Harvard Medical School Medical Alumni Association.
Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D.
Oliver Tate Brooks, M.D. received his undergraduate degree in biology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1977, graduating in three years. While at Morehouse, he received the Frederick E. Mapp Prize in Biology for excellence in biology. Dr. Brooks received his medical degree in 1981 from Howard University College of Medicine, where he was a summer instructor in biochemistry. He completed a residency in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital-Oakland, where he practiced for four years before accepting a position at Watts Healthcare Corporation.
Dr. Brooks is Chief Medical Officer and past Chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Watts Healthcare Corporation in Los Angeles, California, where he also serves as the Medical Director of the Jordan and Locke High School Wellness Centers. He is a Medical Director for L.A. Care Health Plan, one of the nation's largest Medicaid managed care plans whose mission is "to provide access to quality health care for Los Angeles County's vulnerable and low-income communities and residents." Dr. Brooks holds staff appointments at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, California, and Martin Luther King Community Hospital in South Los Angeles, California. Dr. Brooks is immediate Past-Chair of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, a consortium of 43 community health centers in the southern California area.
Dr. Brooks is the immediate Past President of the National Medical Association (NMA), and has held several leadership positions within the NMA, including at the state and local level, as Past President of the Golden State (CA) Medical Association and Past President of the Miller-Lawrence Medical and Dental (local) Society.
Dr. Brooks is a present Board member and Past President of the California Immunization Coalition and Chairman of the Immunize LA Families Coalition. He is a member of the national Leadership Panel for the Adolescent Immunization Initiative (AII), which advocated successfully for adding a column on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice's Center for Disease Prevention and Prevention (CDC) yearly vaccine recommendations in 2017. In June 2020, Dr. Brooks asked to, and joined the ACIP COVID-19 Work Group, discussing and making recommendations to the ACIP regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Brooks also has joined the Health and Human Services (HHS) COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. He is Co-Chair of the California State COVID-19 Vaccine Development Work Group, charged by the governor with determining the allocation of COVID-19 vaccine in California. Dr. Brooks is a member of the Best Practices Leadership, of the Right Care University of Best Practices, a group dedicated to reducing heart disease in California and nationally, and is Chair of the California Primary Care Association's (CPCA) Clinician Committee.
His community service extends beyond health and wellness and includes serving as Past President of the Long Beach Museum of Art's Board of Trustees.
Dr. Brooks has received numerous honors and awards; he was honored by the National Council of Negro Women, Long Beach, California, for Outstanding Service to the Community and in 2017, he was the Wall of Excellence for Medicine awardee for Long Beach 2016 Black History Month. In 2019, Dr. Brooks was honored as one of the Top Blacks in Health Care by BlackDoctor.org.
Dr. Brooks is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi (the Boule) fraternities. He is married to his wife of 32 years, Lisa, and has two children, Alana and Joseph.
Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996, the first woman to represent the U.S. Virgin Islands, a multi-island territory in the eastern Caribbean. During her tenure, Christensen, the first female medical doctor to serve in Congress, focused on improving the living conditions and economic opportunities on the Islands, especially where they intersected with federal issues.
Dr. Gutiérrez is currently a Professor of Medicine and head of the Section of Epidemiology and Outcomes Research in the Division of Nephrology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Using both epidemiologic and patient-oriented clinical research approaches, the primary focus of Dr. Gutiérrez’s group has been elucidating the mechanisms by which disorders of bone and mineral metabolism and nutrition impact outcomes in individuals with chronic kidney disease.
Dr. Hall investigated differential outcomes among Asian and Pacific Islander Americans with ESRD. He completed the UCSF Advanced Training in Clinical Research Program and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nephrology and a Core Investigator at the Kidney Research Institute of the University of Washington.
Dr. Kleinpeter, MD is a practicing Nephrologist in New Orleans, LA. Dr. Kleinpeter graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1989 and has been in practice for 30 years. She completed a residency at Tulane University School of Medicine New Orleans LA 1993.
Dr. Alan Leichtman is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology of the University of Michigan, and has served as the Primary Physician for the University of Michigan's Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation Programs since 1989 and as the Medical Director of the University of Michigan’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation Programs from 1989 through 2005.
Dr. Silas Norman was born and educated in Detroit. He attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, graduating with a degree in psychology. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Norman worked for two years for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan as a foster care worker. He then attended Wayne State University School of Medicine, graduating with honors, and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. After completing an internal medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Dr. Norman returned to the University of Michigan to pursue nephrology and transplant nephrology fellowships.
Dr. Robert J. Rubin is currently Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and an independent healthcare consultant. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Dr. Rubin was president of The Lewin Group, an international health care consultancy, for 17 years. Dr. Rubin was the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Reagan.
Gail Wick began her career in nephrology nursing in 1970 as a member of the nursing staff that helped open the first renal ICU and transplant unit in Georgia located at Grady Memorial Hospital. Until recently, she worked as a consultant for ESRD-related care, quality, education, and policy issues contracting with dozens of freestanding and hospital based, for profit and not for profit dialysis clinics throughout the United States, as well as with manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies in the areas of new product utilization and education.
Julie Wright-Nunes, MD, MPH
Julie Wright-Nunes, MD, MPH, has a strong interest in the area of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and its prevention, currently focusing on the development of methods and tools to help facilitate and optimize patient-provider disease related communication. As a CSN Fellow, Dr. Wright-Nunes’s research, “Facilitating Physician Delivered CKD Patient Education,” evaluated kidney disease specific knowledge in patients with CKD, using a validated survey. Patient knowledge gaps identified in the survey were used to develop a literacy sensitive educational intervention, used by nephrologists while delivering patient CKD education and care.
Jamie A. Green, M.D.
Dr. Jamie Green received her undergraduate degree from Duquesne University and her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and her nephrology fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh where she also obtained her Master of Science in Medical Education. As a fellow, she received the American Kidney Fund's Clinical Scientist in Nephrology award to study health literacy in hemodialysis patients.
Dr. Green came to Geisinger in 2012 and is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine and Clinical Research, Co-Director of the Kidney Health Research Institute, and Medical Director of Quality and Innovation for Medicine Specialties. Her work focuses on optimizing care for patients with kidney disease through patient engagement, self-management support, and navigation assistance. She has received funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the National Institutes of Health to study interventions to improve patient preparation for kidney failure treatments.
The American Kidney Fund enlists experienced renal dietitians to review all nutrition education content on KidneyFund.org and KidneyFund.org/kitchen. The team of dietitian reviewers ensures that all content is accurate and aligns with evidence-based dietetics practice and current nutrition guidelines.
Carolyn is originally from Saint Louis, MO and has been a dietitian in the Washington, D.C. area since 2011. Currently, she is the Kidney Transplant Dietitian at The George Washington University Hospital. Prior to her current role, she worked for a dialysis company as a dietitian. She found her passion for renal nutrition when her nephew was born with only one kidney. In her career she seeks out opportunities to educate the general public about the importance of early detection of kidney disease and the importance of a healthy diet for kidney health.
Aisling Whelan MS, RDN, CDN is a registered dietitian who uses a whole-person, whole-food based approach to help clients reclaim their health and improve their quality of life. Aisling has extensive experience working with the chronic kidney disease population. Her first introduction to renal nutrition began when she worked as a dietitian in a hemodialysis facility. In this role, Aisling was surprised to learn that most of her patients had never met with a dietitian prior to starting dialysis. It was this discovery that inspired Aisling to start her own private practice specializing in nutrition therapy for pre-dialysis CKD patients.
Our content development process
Our editorial team uses best practices in plain language, health literacy and cultural competency to create simple yet effective educational resources. Their content strategy is informed by current renal science and infused with the patient voice. Our writers are specialists in health education, communications, and behavioral science. They work closely with graphic designers and web developers to design print and digital resources that uphold principles of accessibility while remaining easy to use and understand.
Medical Advisory Committee
Our Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) reviews all content for accuracy to ensure recommendations for patient care align with current clinical practice guidelines.
Our translators ensure that Spanish translations of our English resources are both linguistically accurate and culturally appropriate. They are seasoned translators and proofreaders with specialized expertise in medicine and healthcare. Visit kidneyfund.org/en-espanol/ to find kidney disease education materials in Spanish.