Expanding Kidney Transplant Care To Neglected Communities, Bridging The Healthcare Gap.

The Equity in Kidney Transplantation Initiative at Mass General, launched in March 2022, aims to address the disparities in kidney disease treatment for minority populations. Led by Dr. Cohen and his transplant care team, which includes a nurse coordinator, a social worker, and a health and wellness patient navigator, the initiative provides comprehensive care and education to patients. The team offers multilingual, virtual, and in-person medical care, while also connecting patients with essential resources such as transportation and food banks. By making care more accessible in the local community, the team tackles the social determinants of health that have hindered patients from accessing medical treatment. On average, patients wait 5 to 8 years for a kidney transplant from a deceased donor.

In addition to their focus on deceased donor transplants, the transplant team also educates patients and families on the benefits of living kidney donation. Living kidney donation provides a quicker option for receiving a donor organ and can extend the lifespan of the transplanted kidney by 5 to 10 years compared to deceased donor kidneys. Dr. Cohen emphasizes that living donors do not have to be family members; they simply need to be healthy and willing to donate. Furthermore, Mass General offers a paired kidney donation program, allowing patients to receive a new kidney from another living donor if their initial donor is not a direct match.

The initiative underscores the importance of community outreach and partnerships to foster trust and rectify past injustices. Through education, engagement, and collaboration with trusted stakeholders, Mass General’s Equity in Kidney Transplantation Initiative aims to bridge the gap in kidney disease treatment disparities and enhance the overall health outcomes for minority populations.

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