AKF’s Kidney Action Week provided education and support to thousands across the country

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) transformed the flagship event in our national screening program, Kidney Action Day, into a virtual Kidney Action Week last month. Kidney Action Week was held in a dedicated Facebook group with more than 2,000 people tuning in! We were excited to interact with so many people during this virtual event. Throughout Kidney Action Week, participants contributed hundreds of posts, and more than 25,000 comments and reactions to the interactive educational information we shared.

If you were not able to attend Kidney Action Week, here are some of our favorite highlights from the event:

Ask a Nephrologist

To kick off Kidney Action Week, we invited Dr. Silas Prescod Norman, a nephrologist and member of AKF’s Board of Trustees, to sit down for an hour-long chat with Mike Spigler, AKF’s vice president of patient services and kidney disease education. During this Q&A segment, they dove into the common risk factors for kidney disease and answered questions from the live audience. Watch the informative session here.

Congressional briefing: COVID-19, Health Disparities and the Social Determinants of Health

COVID-19, like kidney failure, has affected communities of color at a disproportionate rate. Our Congressional briefing addressed the serious problems of health disparities and social determinants of health affecting health outcomes in minority communities. We had a panel of national experts, including AKF president and CEO, LaVarne Burton, former Congresswoman and member of AKF’s Board of Trustees, Donna Christensen, Congresswoman Nannette Diaz Barragán, executives from national nonprofits, and an AKF Ambassador. Watch the full briefing here or for more details, check out our Advocacy blog recap.

Monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure at home

Did you know that diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney disease? In lieu of being able to provide our normal free blood sugar and blood pressure checks at Kidney Action Day, we worked with the University of Houston Chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association to present demonstrations on how to check your blood pressure and blood sugar at home. Learn how to measure your blood pressure at home and your blood sugar at home.

Diabetes 101

Dr. Stacey Johnson, assistant regional director of the Northeast region of Chi Eta Phi, spoke to our audience about the top cause of kidney disease—diabetes. She explained what diabetes is, common symptoms of diabetes and how managing your diabetes is key to protecting your kidney health. Watch her talk here.

Know Your Kidneys

There is a lot to learn when it comes to kidney disease, so we shared five key things you should know from our Know Your Kidneys™ campaign. To kick off each day of Kidney Action Week, a different AKF staff member shared a key message for participants to know about and share with their friends and family:

  1. Kidney disease cannot be reversed
  2. Kidney disease is preventable
  3. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the top two causes of kidney disease
  4. Keep a heathy blood sugar and blood pressure to prevent or maintain kidney disease
  5. Have your doctor test your blood and urine regularly

To view the five key messages, check out our Kidney Action Week playlist on YouTube. In the playlist, you will also find kidney-friendly cooking demonstrations featuring recipes from our Kidney Kitchen®, fitness demonstrations and more.

In addition to the educational content provided and shared on Facebook during Kidney Action Week, the group also offered a space for people to get encouragement from one another. It was truly inspiring to see how much people across the nation want to see each other live a long, healthy life. While Kidney Action Week is over, AKF’s support is not. We encourage you to follow our main Facebook page to continue engaging and learning with us!

Kidney Action Week was made possible by the generosity of presenting national sponsor U.S. Renal Care and supporting sponsors Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc. and Satellite Healthcare. Additional thanks to our partners: National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc., University of Houston Chapter of Student National Pharmaceutical Association, and the Northeast Region of Chi Eta Phi.

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About the Author(s)

Whitney Ajiboye

Whitney Ajiboye is a health initiatives assistant at the American Kidney Fund.

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