AKF to Train Diabetes Health Educators as Kidney Health Coaches

In a vital initiative to educate people with diabetes and prediabetes about their risks for kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund (AKF) and TMF Health Quality Institute today announced a two-year partnership that will incorporate chronic kidney disease (CKD) education into TMF's diabetes education curriculum.

Four hundred TMF diabetes health educators in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Puerto Rico will be trained on CKD screening and treatment using AKF training materials, and class participants will be provided with educational materials to improve CKD awareness and the importance of CKD screening. Many of those educators will be certified as Kidney Health Coaches when they choose training through AKF's new Kidney Health Coach training program.

This initiative is a component of TMF's special innovation project for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to promote and increase timely screening, early diagnosis, and treatment of CKD.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 100 million US adults are living with diabetes or prediabetes, and diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and kidney failure. In addition, the CDC estimates that of the 30 million Americans living with kidney disease, 96% of those with mild or early kidney disease are unaware of it, and 48% of those with severely reduced kidney function, but not on dialysis, don't know they have CKD.

"Our partnership with the American Kidney Fund aligns two of our ongoing projects, one of which educates people with diabetes and/or hypertension in life-improving self-management skills and the other on improving CKD screening," says Thomas Manley, president and CEO of TMF Health Quality Institute. "Our diabetes health educators will work to increase patients' understanding of CKD as a complication of diabetes."

LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO, says, "The staggering number of Americans who have kidney disease but don't know it should be a clarion call to action for public health agencies and the entire health care community. When found early, chronic kidney disease can usually be slowed down or its progress stopped altogether, avoiding the progression to kidney failure. Our partnership with TMF will make a huge difference to some of the people most at risk for kidney disease."

The Kidney Health Coach training course presents information about preventing, managing, and treating kidney disease, as well as living a healthful lifestyle. It aims to address the most common and often modifiable risk factors for kidney disease: uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure. The course is free and open to anyone—health professional or layperson—who wants to educate others about kidney disease and kidney health.

To become certified Kidney Health Coaches, candidates must take a 45-minute online training course and pass a quiz. AKF provides Kidney Health Coaches with access to tools and resources needed to organize education sessions, along with educational materials, tips for successfully educating adult learners, access to a closed discussion group to share experiences, and support and guidance from the dedicated AKF staff who run the program.

— Source: American Kidney Fund