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TAMPA, FL – The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), the largest kidney patient organization in America, announced the opening of the 2022 grant cycle for its AAKP Jenny Kitsen Patient Safety Award. AAKP works closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make certain infection control standards remain a priority in all performance metrics and reimbursement decisions related to kidney care. AAKP is a founding partner of the CDC Making Dialysis Safer Coalition, a broad-based collaborative of patient advocates, medical professionals, and dialysis provider organizations.

Patients who undergo dialysis treatment have an increased risk for healthcare-associated infection (HAI) and this population remains highly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These patients are medically fragile, have weakened immune systems, are at an increased risk of infection, and sometimes require frequent hospitalizations and surgery as a result of an infection. The AAKP Jenny Kitsen Patient Safety Award funds a lecture or program that advances new solutions for increasing kidney patient safety knowledge and/or disseminates new research on effective safety tactics and methods across the kidney community.

Among organizations eligible to apply for the award are 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6) organizations, government agencies at every level, and other organizations as outlined on the application. Applicants seeking additional information should contact Erin Kahle, Director of Stakeholder Operations, AAKP Center for Patient Engagement and Advocacy, by emailing ekahle@aakp.org. Applications are due October 15, 2021.

AAKP President Richard Knight, former dialysis patient and current kidney transplant recipient, stated, “For Americans receiving life-saving dialysis care, their health outcomes and lives depend upon the infection control protocols kidney care professionals manage and the priority health systems place on patient engagement and safety. This award is designed to put a spotlight on improved patient safety and to honor professionals, officials, and researchers who are aggressive in their efforts to introduce new strategies aimed at preventing needless infections, protecting patients, and limiting further dialysis costs to taxpayers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, and as the Delta variant explodes nationwide, kidney patient safety remains a critical issue for highly vulnerable kidney patients, and we expect to receive a high volume of grant submissions.”

AAKP maintains a close collaborative partnership with both the CDC and CMS to further patient safety. AAKP is a part of the Federal Health Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), a Federal Advisory Committee appointed to provide advice and guidance to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the CDC regarding the practice of infection control and strategies for surveillance, prevention, and control of healthcare-associated infections, antimicrobial resistance, and related events in healthcare settings. AAKP Chair of Policy and Global Affairs Paul T. Conway serves as AAKP liaison to HICPAC. AAKP and the CDC co-branded the highly utilized “Conversation Starter to Prevent Infections in Dialysis Patients,” a tool for patients and family members to initiate a discussion with dialysis facility staff about infection prevention and also produced the 2017 HealthLine webinar, “Making Dialysis Safer for Patients.” For CMS, AAKP’s Richard Knight and Paul Conway have served on numerous Technical Evaluation Panels that have led to more patient-centered dialysis facility quality rating measures over the past five years. Dr. Priti Patel, former Dialysis Activity Leader, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion of the CDC, now part of the Division of Viral Hepatitis, received the AAKP National Public Service Award for her efforts to reduce infection rates among dialysis patients.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, AAKP has conducted five major international and national virtual meetings and over a dozen targeted safety HealthLine webinars to educate medical professionals, patients, and families on the danger of COVID-19 and variant strains, as well as information on vaccination efforts. These programs have reached audiences in over 80 countries with a combined audience of over 100,000 viewers. The HealthLine webinars were conducted with strategic partners including the CDC, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and AAKP’s Veterans Health Initiative; American Society of Transplantation; and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the Renal Physicians Association. The sessions bring the most up-to-date, factual information to kidney patients on a variety of important topics across the disease spectrum including vascular access care, return to school issues, mental health, telehealth, strategies to avoid/lessen the risk of COVID-19 exposure, vaccinations, variant strains, and more. Click here to watch OnDemand all AAKP Coronavirus webinars and for COVID-19 patient information.

The Patient Safety Award was created in 2014 by the former Network of New England whose Board of Directors established an endowment to continue the patient safety work of the non-profit organization led by former Executive Director Jenny Kitsen. Past recipients include: Kidneys Quest Foundation (2021); Satellite Healthcare (2020); Alabama A&M University (2020); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019); National Kidney Foundation (2018); National Renal Administrators Association (2018); A.T. Still University of Oral Health (2017); All Kidney Patients Support Group (2017); National Renal Administrators Association (2016); Renal Physicians Association (2016); American Nephrology Nurses Association (2015); and Forum of ESRD Networks (2015).


About the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP): Founded in 1969, AAKP is the largest kidney patient organization driving policy discussions on kidney patient consumer care choice and treatment innovations. By 1973, AAKP patient collaborations with the U.S. Congress and White House helped gain passage of dialysis coverage for any person suffering kidney failure, creating the only disease specific, taxpayer-funded entitlement program in America. That program, the End Stage Renal Disease Program (ESRD), administered by CMS, has saved over one million lives. In the past decade, AAKP patients have helped gain lifetime transplant drug coverage for kidney transplant recipients (2020); new patient-centered policies via the White House Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health (2019); new job protections for living organ donors under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) from the U.S. Department of Labor (2018); and Congressional legislation allowing HIV-positive organ transplants for HIV-positive patients (2013). AAKP virtual platforms and social networks are internationally known for their impact. Follow AAKP on social media at @kidneypatient on Facebook and @kidneypatients on Twitter and visit our website at www.aakp.org.

Jennifer Rate
Marketing & Communications Manager
(813) 400-2394