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Q&A with NKF President Dr. Rosas

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Dr. Sylvia Rosas is a nephrologist and epidemiologist at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, MA. She is the Director of the Latino Kidney Clinic and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She also is a nephrologist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and currently sits as the President of the National Kidney Foundation. Ahead of the NKF Spring Clinical Meeting, being held from May 14th to the 18th, Doximity sent Dr. Rosas a set of questions to have her reflect on the upcoming conference.

What personal career accomplishment are you most proud of? 

It is the highlight of my career to be the President of the National Kidney Foundation. Over these last 18 months, I have been honored to be able to advocate on behalf of our kidney patients and their families to modernize our transplant system, to help expand home dialysis therapies and extend the Living Donor Protection Act.  We have also extended many of our educational materials to multiple languages. 

How would you characterize the theme of this year’s conference? What key topics stand out to you most, and what major questions will be addressed? 

Each year, SCM focuses on providing a premier educational experience for the entire kidney health team which not only includes the physician but also social workers, dieticians, pharmacist and nurse practitioners. Our meeting is also frequently attended by patients. The content is focused on translating science into practice and creating an environment for the interprofessional team to network and discuss opportunities to improve patient outcomes. With a focus on innovation, our program is excited to feature sessions this year on xenotransplantation, kidney-heart metabolic conditions, and groundbreaking research presented through our late-breaking abstracts.

What conversations are you hoping that the conference fosters? 

SCM creates a unique learning environment for healthcare professionals representing many professions in the field of nephrology. As such, our goal is to initiate conversations among attendees highlighting the impact the interprofessional team can have on patient outcomes. Our interprofessional sessions are designed by the team, for the team. In addition, we hope SCM ignites sparks around innovation in kidney care, with special attention on fostering kidney equity for all. Our goal is that attendees go back home and are excited to implement what they learned for the benefit of our kidney patients and their caregivers.

Is there a speaker or presentation you are most looking forward to, and why?  There are so many excellent speakers every year. 

A couple to choose from in no particular order (and you can certainly you can pull any others from the program) include:

∙ Keynote with Dr. Lisa Cooper, Advancing Equity in the Treatment and Outcomes of Kidney Disease - aligns well with NKF's core values and ongoing initiatives, important to keep in mind as new treatments and care models are ushering in.

∙ The Kidney-Heart-Metabolic Connection: Shared Risks and Shared Management - high clinical learning yield, finally getting to a holistic, collaborative approach to caring for patients with CKD. 

∙ Artificial Intelligence: How Can Kidney Care Make Use of it? - Hard to escape AI these days, particularly generative AI; has immense potential to revolutionize how medicine is fundamentally practiced.

∙ Xenotransplantation: The Need, The Progress, The Future - Absolutely cutting-edge science, immense promise of increasing kidney organ "supply" and we have Bob Montgomery as speaker and awardee (he is at the forefront of this burgeoning field).

What do you believe sets this year’s conference apart from previous years? 

We have a great venue in sunny Long Beach, California. In addition, we have a greater number of patient voices and more pharmacological and device innovations across almost all aspects of nephrology.

What are three major takeaways you hope physicians walk away with after the conference?

-Excitement about the nephrology field as a whole given the breadth of innovations across all aspects of nephrology

-Emphasis on collaborative care delivery

-Importance of keeping patients central to research, clinical care, and policy/advocacy efforts

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