ORLANDO – Improving quality—and outcomes—in the dialysis setting requires multidisciplinary teamwork, said incoming National Kidney Foundation president Beth Piraino during her address at the foundation's annual meeting. More than 2,400 renal professionals are here for the four-day program.

Piraino started with a history of the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Program, showing how teamwork among nephrologists, nurses, social workers, technicians, dietitians, and administrators has been key to helping those with kidney disease. The foundation began as the Committee for Nephrotic Research in the early 1960s, launched by a mother concerned about her young son suffering from kidney failure.  

Later in its history, the renamed National Kidney Foundation had an integral role in helping train staff perform dialysis. The NKF also played a key role in developing clinical practice guidelines, developing the Dialysis Outcomes Quality Initiative in 1997, and helped to launch World Kidney Day in 2005.

New guidelines from the international KDIGO group and the CKD Prognosis Consortium have lead to changes in helping to identify the severity of chronic kidney disease. A "heat map" helps to identify patients with low to high risk of CKD.

"Most people are at the lower stages of CKD, and don't know it," said Piraino. The NKF's five-year strategic plan calls for improving awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease. "We have to work with the primary care team and make sure they are well educated about kidney disease … and that we are on the same page" about early detection and treatment, she said.

Next year, the annual Spring Clinical Meeting of the National Kidney Foundation will be held April 22-24 at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas.

Special awards

The National Kidney Foundation presented several awards during their annual conference. They include:

  • The Donald W. Seldin Award: Joanne M. Bargman, MD
  • David M. Hume Memorial Award: Tomas Berl, MD
  • The Garabed Eknoyan Award: Michael V. Rocco, MD
  • The Joel D. Kopple Award: Jordi Goldstein-Fuchs, DSc, APN, RD

International Distinguished Medal recipients

  •  Ricardo Corres-Rotter, MD
  • Simon Davies, MD
  • Marcello Tonnelli, MD

For more information on the NKF annual meeting, go to www.nkfclinicalmeeting.org