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It’s That Time of The Year: The National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meetings 2023 – Austin

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) continues its mission of promoting the cause of patients and providers in the realm of kidney disease through its multidisciplinary annual scientific meeting. This year’s meeting will be held in Austin, TX from the 11th to the 15th of April. The unique aspect of this meeting is that although participants of the meeting may attend any of the sessions, there are dedicated tracks for patients and various healthcare providers in nephrology. The provider tracks include advanced practice providers, nurses, patient care technicians, social workers, dietitians, pharmacists, and physicians. 

The pre-courses on the 11th of April continue to focus on current issues in nephrology to keep providers abreast of the latest developments in the field. This year’s pre-courses are centered on home dialysis, novel concepts in critical care nephrology, end-of-life care, cardiorenal syndrome, basics of chronic kidney disease (CKD), end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), and glomerular disease.

As trainees represent the future of the field, the NKF has maintained its commitment to educational endeavors by tailoring multiple sessions focused on trainees of all levels. These endeavors include the nephrology board review and a ‘fireside chat’ panel session. These events bring together experts in the field, who share their journeys and insights with trainees. The poster session has a guided walking tour where dedicated preceptors lead a group to highlight clinical vignettes cases and research. Novel clinical scenarios, research methodology, and results are the focus of this stimulating discussion. 

We are very fortunate at this year’s meeting to have Dr. Lilia Cervantes as our keynote speaker. Dr. Cervantes is the Director of Immigrant Health and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Her work is focused on eliminating structural racism in kidney health disparities. Most importantly, she has been a driving force to bring about innovative change to a Medicaid payment rule in Colorado giving undocumented patients with kidney failure access to life-saving dialysis. Her much-anticipated presentation will focus on civic engagement and community power-building to change health policy as well as on solidarity and partnerships among national patient, community, and clinician organizations.  

Patient-reported outcomes and reducing health inequities through interprofessional collaboration are now front and center in many endeavors in nephrology. The Spring Clinical Meetings highlight these pertinent facets through multiple interprofessional sessions involving the multidisciplinary nephrology team. These include ‘Strategies to Improve Dialysis, Medication, or Dietary Adherence in Dialysis Patients’, ‘Coping with Complex Patient Challenges in Dialysis: A Team Perspective’, ‘Many Miles to Go to Reach People Who Are Uber Marginalized’, and ‘Addressing PTSD in Dialysis: Psychosocial Implications in the Dialysis Clinic’. Patients remain central to our efforts in medicine - patient-dedicated programs at the meeting include a patient and family reception, and sessions on nutrition, CKD, dialysis, and transplantation. 

Innovation in nephrology has occurred at an unprecedented pace over the last year. These developments will be highlighted at the meeting in the following areas:

  1. Glomerular disease: updates in membranous nephropathy, lupus nephritis, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, IgA nephropathy, atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, current and emerging therapies in Apolipoprotein 1 mediated kidney disease.
  2. CKD: improving cardiorenal outcomes using SGLT2 inhibitors in multimorbid patients with CKD, COVID-19 vaccines, refractory gout, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.
  3. Acute Kidney Injury (AKI): new guidelines on the management of hepatorenal syndrome, cardiorenal syndrome, innovations in the care of AKI survivors, and importantly the implementation of a continuous renal replacement therapy quality assurance program.
  4. Dialysis: updates in home dialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and vascular access; and more specifically an opportunity to hear from the experts on the implementation of the NKF Home Dialysis Echo Project.
  5. Transplantation: increasing the supply of donor kidneys, updates in pre-transplant evaluation and post-transplant care for the general nephrologist.

This article would be incomplete without commending the tireless work put in by the NKF organizing staff and the multidisciplinary Program Committee members. The success of the meeting is predicated on their efforts. We look forward to welcoming attendees to Austin!

Dr. Kant received a CareDx grant. Dr. Estrella received a grant from NIH/NIDDK, a collaborative agreement with Bayer, and a consulting honorarium from Boehringer-Ingelheim, Inc. Dr. Jaar has no conflicts of interest to report.

Illustration by April Brust

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