A new program developed at Johns Hopkins University is helping overcome common barriers to finding living kidney donors. In the Live Donor Champion program, each wait-listed patient identifies a person to be their Live Donor Champion—a friend, family member, or community member willing to advocate for the patient. Clinicians provide the patient and the Live Donor Champion with educational materials, business cards, and other resources. The National Kidney Foundation is working with Johns Hopkins and Novartis to nationally launch the program.
Elizabeth King, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, and her colleagues conducted a study that included 163 adult kidney transplant candidates who participated in the program. Participating individuals left with increased knowledge of live donation and comfort approaching others about live donation. The program also boosted live donor referrals: there were a total of 81 live donor referrals, and participation in the program was associated with a 5.5-fold increase in having at least one donor referral compared with matched controls on the waiting list.
“Our results suggest that the Live Donor Champion may ultimately help wait-listed patients identify potential live donors,” said King.