American Kidney Fund to Hold Congressional Briefing on Stark Health Disparities in COVID-19 Pandemic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sept. 16 event will address COVID-19 impact on the same communities devastated by kidney disease

ROCKVILLE, Md. (August 27, 2020)—The American Kidney Fund (AKF) will hold a Congressional briefing to focus on factors that have contributed to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. The briefing—COVID-19, Health Disparities and the Social Determinants of Health—will take place Sept. 16 from 1-2 p.m. ET via Zoom. Bringing together a panel of national experts, the briefing will explore the dramatically higher rates of coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths among people of color and those with end-stage renal disease (ESRD, or kidney failure), and how addressing the social determinants of health is part of the solution to tackle these health disparities.

Speakers will include:

  • Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA-44), member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Committee on Homeland Security
  • Former Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen, M.D. (D-VI), past chair, Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, and current member of the AKF Board of Trustees
  • Sindy Benavides, CEO of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • Oliver Brooks, M.D., immediate past president, National Medical Association, and chief medical officer of Watts Healthcare
  • Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H, FAAFP, chief medical officer for prevention for the American Heart Association
  • LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO

“Kidney disease and kidney failure have long had a disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities—the same communities now devastated by COVID-19,” Burton said. “As Black Lives Matter and other movements to end systemic racism continue to gain momentum, the underlying social determinants of health that have a demonstrable impact on the health, lives and livelihoods of people of color must also be understood and addressed by lawmakers.”

According to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Black Medicare beneficiaries are being hospitalized for COVID-19 at four times the rate of white beneficiaries, while Native American and Hispanic Americans have the second and third highest rates, respectively. ESRD Medicare beneficiaries, in particular, have been hit harder by COVID-19 than any other group—they have the highest rates of infection among all beneficiaries and have also been hospitalized at eight times the rate of the general Medicare population.

AKF’s briefing is open to members of Congress, Congressional staff, other policy makers, media and the general public. Registration is open at KidneyFund.org/SDOH.

The Congressional briefing is part of AKF’s Kidney Action Week from Sept. 14-18. Kidney Action Week is a first-of-its-kind event in the COVID-19 era, focusing on kidney health and kidney disease awareness and prevention. Due to the health and safety concerns of the pandemic, AKF has transformed its flagship in-person kidney disease community screening event, Kidney Action Day, to a virtual event to continue reaching at-risk individuals across the country.

About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF.  AKF is one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, and holds the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

For more information, please visit KidneyFund.org, or connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.