Black History Month: Spotlighting Health Equity and Chronic Kidney Disease

As we celebrate Black History Month in February, we spotlight CommonSpirit Health’s work to improve outcomes for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), a disease that disproportionately affects the Black population.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 37 million American adults, with 90% being undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. Black Americans are about four times more likely to suffer from kidney failure, Native Americans are 1.9 times more likely, and Hispanic/Latinx Americans are 1.3 times more likely. Disparities in CKD risks increase significantly for communities of color due to such factors as access to care for early diagnosis, timely referral to nephrology and transplant evaluation.

Based on guidelines by the National Kidney Foundation and the American College of Nephrology, CommonSpirit has changed how kidney function is measured, removing race-based factors that overestimated kidney function in people of color. These race-based factors often led to delayed diagnosis of care, and poor clinical outcomes.

This improved algorithm has now been adopted by all CommonSpirit labs, which has required significant collaboration across multiple disciplines.

Equity Heals: Addressing Chronic Kidney Disease was also launched in February 2023 as a pilot at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, and will be disseminated across the ministry. The Equity Heals initiative focuses on patient and community awareness and education to improve outcomes for those at heightened risk of CKD.

More than 50 community stakeholders have provided input on outreach strategies, and more than 20 community partners have joined with us to educate their constituents. Fifteen community events have been held, with over 1,100 at-risk individuals using an online screening tool of the National Kidney Foundation.

More Information
During Black History Month, learn more about the origin, demographic trends and health equity in our latest Fact Sheet from CommonSpirit’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.