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AAKP to Join the Alliance for Home Dialysis and the NAACP for Mississippi Patient Town Hall


March 22, 2017

Deborah Pelaez
Marketing and Communications Manager
dpelaez@aakp.org / (813) 400-2394

AAKP to Join the Alliance for Home Dialysis and the NAACP for Mississippi Patient Town Hall 

AAKP Seeks to Increase Awareness of Home Dialysis for Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease

Washington, D.C. – On Saturday, March 25, 2017, the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), the oldest independent patient-led kidney advocacy organization, will join the Alliance for Home Dialysis and the NAACP for the NAACP ACE Dialysis Health Imperative Town Hall from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM at the Jackson Hilton in Jackson, MS. The event is a forum to discuss kidney health and dialysis, with a special focus on raising awareness about home dialysis and the specific health and lifestyle benefits it offers, in communities of color given the statistically higher rate of kidney disease within these at-risk communities.

Dr. Marjorie Innocent, NAACP Senior Director of Health Programs, will moderate the town hall. Dr. Innocent will be joined by Richard Knight, Vice President of AAKP; Dr. Janice Lea, Emory University; Dr. John Duronville, Duke University; Mary Luckett, RN, University of Mississippi; and Carolyn Sawyers, peritoneal dialysis patient.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to participate in this important patient town hall as we seek to improve both the patient experience and outcomes for persons with kidney disease in communities of color. Education and access is key, and it is incumbent upon those of us who speak on behalf of kidney patients, particularly in at-risk communities, to fully engage at the community level,” stated Knight. “It is my hope that Saturday’s town hall offers useful information and potentially even new hope to a patient or caregiver who is, or at some point in the future may be faced with, determining the health care options best suited to his/her specific needs.”

The town hall is part of a broader initiative by the ACE Dialysis Health Imperative for Access, Choice and Equity designed to provide more educational resources to African Americans and larger community of color about dialysis options available for those living with kidney disease and how to access the best services locally based on their individual needs. In partnership with the Alliance for Home Dialysis and Baxter International, the initiative’s town hall is designed to bring together nephrology and home dialysis experts, regional and state NAACP leaders and community residents to increase awareness and discussion with communities of color about dialysis options, especially home dialysis therapies.

“We have allied ourselves with the Alliance in support of their event with the NAACP in an effort to improve awareness and ultimately access to home dialysis for individuals in communities that face the highest rates of kidney disease,” added Paul T. Conway, President of AAKP. “As an organization, we at AAKP believe it is important to go beyond direct advocacy on behalf of kidney patients and to elevate the voices of those, such as Alliance, who offer real hope and promising alternatives to kidney patients, particularly in communities experiencing the highest incidents of kidney disease. This town hall is just one such opportunity, and we are honored to partner with the Alliance and the NAACP.”

More than 678,000 Americans are living with kidney end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and people of color are far more likely to face the disease. African Americans are three times more likely to experience kidney failure than Caucasians, and the incidence rate of ESRD among Hispanics is 35% higher than non-Hispanics. African American dialysis patients are almost 35% less likely than average to receive the more widely available form of home dialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and 16% less likely to receive home hemodialysis than Caucasian patients. Hispanic dialysis patients are about 13% less likely than average to receive peritoneal dialysis and about 42% less likely to receive home hemodialysis.

Such statistics suggests greater awareness and access is critical. The benefits of home dialysis are well-documented in medical review literature and include benefits to a patient’s health and lifestyle, often creating an increased likelihood to work and travel. Additionally, patients who dialyze at home are often better candidates for eventual kidney transplantation.

Conway has managed kidney disease for more than 35 years, including two years on dialysis. He received his kidney transplant more than 18 years ago and says not a day goes by that he does not think of the donor and the donor’s family. Conway has a long career in public service, having served under four presidents, including transition for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and three governors.

Knight has managed kidney disease for 20 years, including 2 years on dialysis. He received his kidney transplant approximately 10 years ago and is thankful for the gift of life with each breath, dedicating his life to helping others through advocacy and education efforts. Knight also has a long and distinguished career in public policy having served in communications, policy and legislative roles on the Hill, as well as the representative for his Member of Congress to the Congressional Black Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives.

AAKP is bipartisan in their relationships and non-partisan in their operations.  Within the Executive Branch, AAKP works closely with Federal agencies with both direct indirect impact on health and kidney policy. In the Congress, AAKP elevates kidney disease policy issues with individual Senators and Congressional leaders, key Senate and House Committees as well as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

For more information about AAKP and its programs, visit www.aakp.org or call 1-800-749-2257.


Founded in 1969, AAKP is the largest and oldest independent kidney patient organization in America. Governed by a patient-majority Board of Directors, AAKP conducts national education programs designed to better inform kidney patients, care-givers and policy-makers about the true impacts of kidney disease, prevention efforts and treatment methods. AAKP publishes RenalLife Magazine which has a circulation of over 20,000 and appears in over 5,000 dialysis centers. The organization executes a national advocacy strategy in conjunction with allied kidney organizations designed to insert the patient voice into proposed policies, research efforts and care deliberations before the Executive Branch and the U.S. Congress.