In observance of National Kidney Month and World Kidney Day in March, the American Kidney Fund hosted its 1st annual Kidney Health Fair on the Hill and its 2nd annual World Kidney Day Advocate Training Fly-In to raise awareness among Members of Congress and the Capitol Hill community about kidney disease and its risks.
The inaugural Kidney Health Fair on the Hill, co-sponsored by the Congressional Kidney Caucus, was held March 3 in the Rayburn House Office Building. This event included representatives from the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association to promote prevention and awareness of heart disease and diabetes, the two major risk factors associated with kidney disease. Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington spoke powerfully about the importance of kidney health and kidney disease prevention. Attendees participated in free kidney disease risk assessment screenings and interactive games including the Nintendo Wii Fit. AKF screened and educated more than 100 members of the Capitol Hill community.
The following week, AKF hosted seven patient-advocates from around the country in Washington, D.C. for World Kidney Day activities. The 2011 AKF Advocates were:
• Eric Dolby, Raleigh, N.C.
• Jason Hershey, Muskegon, Mich.
• Bernard Ofori-Atta, South Holland, Ill.
• Phillip Atkins, Gaithersburg, Md.
• Patricia Meyers , Collinsville, Ill.
• Elizabeth Smith, Cincinnati, Ohio
• Olivia Fox, Annapolis, Md.
The events included an advocacy training session, a reception co-sponsored by AKF and other patient organizations, and a day on Capitol Hill. On the Hill, patient-advocates conducted 21 meetings with their Congressional offices on issues including the transition adjuster and patient access to anemia drugs. The Congressional reception on Capitol Hill was attended by several Congressional leaders including Congressional Kidney Caucus Chair Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Shelley Berkley of Nevada, Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, and Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Two players from the Washington Redskins also attended.