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AAKP recently announced its 2022 Jenny Kitsen Patient Safety Award recipients. The Kitsen award recognizes leaders and programs that substantively improve patient safety through innovations in health systems management and patient safety education. AAKP is an aggressive advocate for increased patient safety, patient consumer care choice, and the protection of patient and organ donor rights covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Kidney patients are historically a high-risk population, and during COVID-19, mortality rates among vulnerable patients living on dialysis and immunocompromised kidney transplant recipients have surged.

The recipients of its 2022 Safety Award include Dr. Alan Kliger, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine and Vice President, Chief Quality Officer, Yale New Haven Health System (watch OnDemand Dr. Kliger’s Global Summit presentation,
“Coronavirus: Kidney Community Stakeholder Response to Global Pandemic” at https://youtu. be/I0teLaFaYlg), and Dr. Shahid Muhammad, a Specialist Biomedical Scientist affiliated with Coventry University School of Life Sciences
(UK) and the University of the West of England (UWE) UK.

The 2022 awards mark the first time AAKP has simultaneously recognized safety leaders in the U.S. and overseas. AAKP’s growing international impact and reach is based on its AAKP Global™ initiatives and the Annual Global Summit on Kidney Disease Innovations, an AAKP partnership event with the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, which, in 2021, engaged over 20,000 patients and professionals across 80 countries. The 2022 Global Summit will be held August 23 – 24. Free registration is available at https://bit.ly/AAKPGlobalSummit22.

Dr. Kliger shares, “On behalf of the American Society of Nephrology’s (ASN) Nephrologists Transforming Dialysis Safety (NTDS) initiative, I am humbled to receive AAKP’s Jenny Kitsen Patient Safety Award. Over the past six years, NTDS—working with the CDC, nephrologists, scientists, nurses, technicians, and patients—has targeted zero infections for dialysis patients to eliminate the second most common cause of death in this vulnerable population. This award is particularly meaningful for me, coming from AAKP, the premier kidney patient organization, and because the award is named in honor of my long-term colleague and inspiration, Jenny Kitsen. Patient Safety has truly come into its own in no small part because of AAKP advocacy. My profound thanks to AAKP.” At Yale, Dr. Kliger has served as Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs for Yale New Haven Health System and was its Chief Quality Officer. He has served as the ASN’s liaison to the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s Health Infections Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), Chair of the ASN’s Nephrologists Transforming Dialysis Safety Workgroup, and co-chair of ASN’s COVID-19 Response Team.

Dr. Muhammad shares, “I am very pleased to be listed as a recipient for the Jenny Kitsen Award as Academic Lead on behalf of the Renal Patient Support Group (RPSG). I put forward an application to implement important research relating to pediatric and adult nephrology research focusing on the exploration of using social media to understand and examine the interplay between social networks and experiences of living with CKD. The research effort will assess whether it is advantageous to involve allied health professionals and patients through online consultations and educational webinars through the RPSG social media platform to improve health literacy and lives of kidney patients, including pediatrics, young people, and adults.” Dr. Muhammad is the Academic Lead on behalf of the Renal Patient Support Group (RPSG), an Evidence-Based support group for Renal Patients and Care Providers. Dr. Muhammad is a member of the UK Healthcare Professions Council (HCPC), a Fellow of The Institute of Biomedical Sciences (FIBMS), and a Chartered Scientist under the UK Science Council (CSci). Dr. Muhammad has scientific expertise in pediatric and adult nephrology research practices. Retrospectively, Dr. Muhammad has contributed to several nephrology organizations, including the British Association of Pediatric Nephrology (BAPN). AAKP announced a formal global partnership with the RPSG in 2020 (https://bit.ly/AAKPpr-AllyToPushResearch).

AAKP President Richard Knight stated, “The Jenny Kitsen Patient Safety Award sets a very high standard for excellence in patient safety and education for health systems, professionals, and patients. I am very pleased that two outstanding professionals and patient advocates, Dr. Kliger and Dr. Muhammad have received this award because their efforts have undoubtedly positively impacted countless kidney patients and their families. AAKP is a strong advocate for patient rights and safety, and the Patient Safety Award puts a spotlight on our commitment to identify leaders and best practices.”

AAKP’s Chair of Policy and Global Affairs Paul T. Conway stated, “Kidney patients and their families are intensely aware of safety issues across the entire medical system, and COVID has identified many great strengths as well as areas for needed improvements through additional training and the creative use of virtual and social media technologies to better educate professionals and patients. Dr. Kliger is a courageous advocate for patient safety at both the individual and enterprise level, and Dr. Muhammad, as a kidney patient and scientist, continues to demonstrate how patient insight data gained through social media can transform learning and kidney education programs.”

AAKP’s endowed safety award was created in 2014 by the Board of Directors of the former kidney Network of New England to continue the network’s safety initiatives led by Ms. Jenny Kitsen, a social worker and former member of the AAKP Board of Directors, who has dedicated her career to patient safety. Among the organizations eligible to apply for the Patient Safety Award are public institutions, government agencies, and 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6) organizations. Among prior recipients are the American Nephrology Nurses Association, the Renal Physicians Association, and the CDC Making Dialysis Safer Coalition. A complete list of awardees can be viewed at https://bit.ly/AAKP-KitsenGrant.

Additional Resources:

Jenny Kitsen Patient Safety Award: https://bit.ly/AAKP-KitsenGrant

Health Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC): https://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/roster.html

Conversation Starter to Prevent Infections in Dialysis Patients:https://www.cdc.gov/dialysis/patient/conversation-starter.html

Enhanced Patient Engagement to Improve Patient-Centered Outcomes Among Chronic Kidney Disease (mentorship pilot program): https://aakp.org/center-for-patient-research-and-education/peer-mentorship-program/