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Patients across the state of Texas are suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), but many do not know it. About 1 in 7 Americans is walking around with the disease, and in San Antonio, Texas, those numbers are markedly higher.
The Texas Kidney Foundation’s Kidney C.A.R.E. (Clinician and Adult Renal Education) Campaign is uniting with other organizations across the state to raise awareness about the disease. TKF is the largest screening organization in the state, but identification of CKD is not enough; we must also raise awareness about the disease.
Meeting Patients Where They Are
As kidney disease has progressed to become a national pandemic, many are working tirelessly to halt its evolution. One leader in the fight is Dr. Anil Mangla, associate professor of Biomedical Sciences and the Director of Public Health and Research at the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM). Dr. Mangla also happens to be a dialysis patient himself.
UIWSOM has teamed up with TKF to perform screenings on at-risk populations in San Antonio’s District 3. Dr. Mangla’s focus for the past decade has been wellness and community health. He is currently studying the population of District 3 in San Antonio, focusing on the entire human environment.
Dr. Mangla saw a need for physicians to connect with the patient population to understand the nuances that affect every aspect of the patients’ lives. The fellows at UIWSOM are assigned a family to follow throughout their term of study. Dr. Mangla developed this component of the renal program because he desired to create an empathetic link between the future physicians and patients.
“The fellows are following families infinitely,” Dr. Mangla said. “It is a longitudinal research and educational project.”
His desire to infuse the medical program with meaningful experience prompted Dr. Mangla to assign each fellow a family. This requirement ensures that the potential physicians develop the skills to accurately interpret a family’s determinants of health. It has long been thought that patient health is affected by environmental factors, which can influence the medical treatment received.
“We want to focus on the whole environment, not just someone’s chronic disease,” he said. “The whole environment makes a difference.”
The medical students are charged with more than providing physical care. They are also expected to diagnose other household ailments.
“We will assist families in whatever manner we can,” Dr. Mangla said. “If a family is experiencing food insecurity, we will connect them with the food bank.”
TKF is partnering with UIWSOM to service those identified as at risk for CKD. The ultimate goal is to decrease the amount of diabetes-related kidney failure and amputations.
“The funding Texas Kidney Foundation received from BCBSTX will ensure that we are giving services to the neediest population of San Antonio,” Dr. Mangla said.
Leading the Nation in Kidney Disease Research
TKF is also collaborating with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), a premier research organization, to address the growing problem of CKD. UTSCSA is working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) on a groundbreaking longitudinal study called the Kidney Precision Medicine Project (KPMP).
UTHSCSA is leading the nation in kidney research. Dr. Kumar Sharma, chief of the Division of Nephrology and vice chair for Research in the Department of Medicine, is the champion paving the path. As an integral part of the KPMP, Dr. Sharma’s laboratory is the only site performing mass spectrometer analysis, which is a complicated process that helps analyze kidney diseases.
KPMP, currently in its infancy, is a consortium of the nation’s best research institutions, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Princeton. The group hopes to someday use precision medicine, or getting the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, to better treat kidney diseases and injuries.
TKF is actively fighting CKD on multiple levels. The organization is committed to serving patients wherever they may be by offering free screenings along with the Kidney C.A.R.E. Campaign. TKF is also uniting partners in the community and in the academic arena to truly move the needle against CKD.
You can learn more about the TKF and find their schedule of free screenings by visiting their website, www.txkidney.org. You can also follow TKF on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
This is the final blog of a multi-part series with our March Healthy Kids Healthy Families Partner of the Month, the Texas Kidney Foundation. Thanks for tuning in, we hope you enjoyed!
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