Kidney Problems Persist Among Blacks

Dr. Griffin Rodgers is a familiar, comforting voice to radio listeners. His “Healthy Moments” commentaries are broadcast to audiences across the country and it is his mission to help black Americans understand what stands between them and good health and how to address it.

Rodgers, president of NKDEP, a program of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) recently led an initiative, Kidney Sundays, to help African Americans raise awareness of kidney disease in their local community and its link to other diseases seen disproportionately in the black community.

One out of every six African American adults has some sign of kidney disease and black Americans are more than three times as likely to develop kidney failure as white Americans. And 80 percent of new cases of kidney failure among black patients are directly tied to high blood pressure and diabetes.

In March, National Kidney Month, NKDEP, the American Diabetes Association’s Live Empowered Initiative and Chi Eta Phi, a national nursing sorority, sponsored Kidney Sundays, an event in churches around the country, providing kidney education sessions and blood pressure screenings for congregants.

In an interview with Brown Medicine, the alumni magazine of Brown University’s medical school, Rodgers credited his mother, a public health nurse, with showing him how personal intervention with patients could help them make better life choices.

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