By John R. Sedor, MD, FASN, Chair of the KidneyX Steering Committee and Kevin Longino, CEO, National Kidney Foundation
Too many American families have known the pain and difficulty of chronic kidney disease. An estimated 37 million U.S. adults live with the condition and countless others are at risk. Worst, most are not even aware. Left unchecked, kidney disease can progress to irreversible kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), leaving patients dependent on dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.
At the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), we have seen firsthand the toll of kidney disease on our friends, neighbors, and patient communities.
We have heard from those who languish on transplant waiting lists, who visit dialysis centers to receive treatment more often than most of us visit the grocery store, or who lived unaware of their illness for years while their condition quietly worsened.
Fortunately, we also see promising signs of hope. Just last month, for example, the Trump administration announced its historic “Advancing American Kidney Health” Initiative, an executive order and accompanying set of bold HHS actions that set ambitious goals for improving the lives of those with kidney disease across the country. These steps hold great promise to fundamentally transform kidney care and save precious lives, but there is still more work to be done.
Kidney disease patients need answers and, quite often, the most helpful answers don’t come from Washington D.C., but rather from the talents and ingenuity of Americans in communities across the country – medical professionals, academia, technology disruptors, patients, caregivers, or anywhere else for that matter. We should never put limits on where the next big advance in kidney care may arise.
That is why our organizations are partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to launch the KidneyX: Patient Innovator Challenge, funded by NKF – an exciting new competition offering cash prizes for innovative ideas and solutions to improve the daily lives of those with kidney disease.
Maybe you’re a patient with a novel way to manage the side effects of dialysis or transplant treatment? Or perhaps you’re a researcher with a dynamic approach to helping patients gain independence and maintain a full, productive life? Your voice – and your solutions – deserve the chance to be heard and be rewarded.
The Patient Innovator Challenge, funded by NKF, will accept submissions now until September 16, 2019. Prizes will be awarded to winners in two categories: Category 1: “Solutions in Practice,” which are solutions already tried or put into practice; and Category 2: “New Ideas,” which are solutions that have not yet been created or tried.
Judges will review the submissions and up to 10 winners will be awarded $4,000 each in Category 1 and up to 15 winners will be awarded $2,000 each in Category 2 – making for $70,000 altogether in prizes.
Kidney disease affects Americans in every corner of our country, from every walk of life. It’s past time that we allow solutions to emerge in this same way. The KidneyX: Patient Innovator Challenge, funded by NKF will do exactly that. Learn more and apply today at www.kidneyx.org.