The National Kidney Foundation is collaborating with Johns Hopkins University and Novartis to launch the Live Donor Champion Program.  Developed by transplant surgeon Dr. Dorry Segev at Johns Hopkins University, the Live Donor Champion Program aims to overcome common barriers to finding a living kidney donor: a need for more education about living donation; and a reluctance to start a conversation about donation among transplant candidates.

Working with Johns Hopki ns University and Novartis, the National Kidney Foundation will use its networks to disseminate a comprehensive set of educational resources to transplant centers nationwide. The Champions program will teach people how to use their own personal connections and social networks to raise awareness about the need for kidney donors, and help to identify potential live donor candidates for a family member, friend or themselves.

“While patients are often hesitant to discuss their need for a transplant, friends and family members are eager to spread the word about the possibility of donation and want to be an advocate—a champion—for the patient,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of National Kidney Foundation.  According to Johns Hopkins University research, the Champions program increased living donation rates in pilot tests by approximately 50%.  “Helping our patients increase their chances of receiving a kidney transplant is critical to our mission; and we are pleased to be working with Johns Hopkins University and Novartis in delivering this program to patients nationwide,” said Longino.