Two studies funded to address roadblocks to early kidney transplantation

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Duke investigators are the new recipients of two funding awards, one from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and one from The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), both addressing roadblocks to early kidney transplantation, including race disparities in kidney transplant.

This week PCORI announced an award to a team led by Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, Dr. Ebony Boulware. The PCORI project is called “Patient-Centered Early Health System Transplant Outreach” and will study how health systems can help more patients overcome roadblocks to achieve early kidney transplants. The second study, funded by NIDDK and also led by Boulware is entitled, “Health System Outreach to Eliminate Disparities in Living Kidney Transplants.” These studies will recruit patients with kidney disease from North Carolina, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania to determine whether digital health system surveillance tools paired with social worker and nurse transplant coordinator outreach will improve patients’ rates of early kidney transplants, when appropriate.

"These will be among the first studies ever conducted to understand how targeting health system barriers to live donor kidney transplants can help patients receive transplants more quickly and more often."

“I am so excited to work with patients, their families, nephrologists, transplant surgeons, and other kidney care stakeholders from across the U.S. in these studies," says Boulware. "These will be among the first studies ever conducted to understand how targeting health system barriers to live donor kidney transplants can help patients receive transplants more quickly and more often."

Kidney transplants, especially from living donors, offer patients the optimal chances for good health. Despite this, rates of living donor kidney transplants have been stagnant and significant racial inequities in living donor kidney transplants have worsened for decades.

"Our interventions will leverage health system capabilities to address barriers, and findings will provide the evidence health systems and policymakers need to overcome these challenges."

"Interventions to overcome systematic barriers to living kidney transplants and these race inequities are critically needed," explains Boulware. “Our interventions will leverage health system capabilities to address barriers, and findings will provide the evidence health systems and policymakers need to overcome these challenges."