In 2018, AKF launched an initiative called Kidney Health Coach (KHC) to empower people to train others on educating their community about chronic kidney disease prevention and management. The program has been a tremendous success, having trained over 5,000 people worldwide as coaches – 93% of whom are confident in their knowledge about CKD after completing the training.
Now, five years after KHC was launched, AKF has created its first ever Kidney Health Coach Advisory Council. This council will provide guidance, recommendations and promotion toward the enhancement and growth of KHC and collaborate with AKF to ensure KHC content and related materials support the needs of coaches as they work to share kidney disease information with various audiences.
"The Kidney Health Coach program gave me the knowledge, resources and experiences to go into my community and share my story and information about kidney disease," said Jamie Smythe, a kidney transplant recipient, Kidney Health Coach and Advisory Council member. "I want to relay to [members of] the kidney community that they are not alone because they have support, resources and encouragement to pursue a healthier lifestyle no matter what stage they are in. I am looking forward to being an example to others living with kidney disease that living their best life is a choice they can make every day."
In 2021, KHC was updated after data showed the majority of coaches are health care professionals who are using KHC to educate and counsel patients about CKD basics. As a result, the program became a two-hour course to better support health care professionals in educating their patients, while remaining accessible to general members of the public. The update also provides eligible health care professionals with the opportunity to earn continuing education credits.
"As a health care professional, I'm excited to be part of this council to develop new processes and improve current processes to educate those currently affected by kidney disease and help prevent other people in our communities from developing it," said Rhonda Hill, a registered nurse in North Carolina, Kidney Health Coach and Advisory Council member. "I'm hoping to get this program introduced in local health fairs and as part of the faith community's educational efforts."
The KHC Advisory Council members are passionate about spreading CKD awareness, especially among at-risk and underserved communities. From hosting kidney screenings and health fairs for minority populations to utilizing digital formats such as social media, television and radio, members will use their experience and expertise to further enhance the program.
For more information on the Kidney Health Coach program and becoming a coach, click here.