‘Kidney Sundays’ reach African American faith communities during National Kidney Month

February 26, 2014

National Kidney Disease Education Program hosts third annual nationwide event

About 6.2 million African American adults in the United States have signs of kidney disease – equal to the population of Tennessee.
African Americans experience the highest rates of kidney failure – rates approximately 3.4 times greater than whites. Two major causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure. In fact, 80 percent of new cases of kidney failure among African Americans are due to one of these conditions.
In recognition of National Kidney Month, the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP), along with the American Diabetes Association’s Live Empowered initiative and Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., a national nursing sorority, will host the third annual Kidney Sundays event on March 2. Together with more than 85 African-American congregations nationwide, NKDEP and Kidney Sundays aim to:
• Help African Americans to gain a better understanding of why kidney disease is a major health concern,
• Encourage people at risk to get their kidneys tested, and
• Support conversations about kidney disease among families and faith communities.
“Kidney Sundays goes beyond March 2,” said Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). “Throughout National Kidney Month, we hope to educate people on the importance of kidney testing and the link between kidney disease and diabetes and high blood pressure. Our goal is to create healthy, lifelong habits and behavior change, particularly among African Americans.”

Kidney Sundays provides African American congregations with tools and materials, such as an event checklist and health ministry talking points, to help elevate kidney disease as a health issue requiring attention. Congregations will conduct kidney health education sessions and provide blood pressure screenings.
“We are thrilled to partner with NKDEP on this important initiative,” said Priscilla Murphy, 1st Vice-President of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. “Kidney Sundays is an opportunity for our nurses to directly affect the health of their communities. Through blood pressure screenings and kidney health presentations, we open the door to a discussion on kidney disease and raise awareness about risk factors.”