Grant provides kidney donation education for American Indians and Alaska Natives in Minnesota

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) has been awarded a Federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant to develop a theory-based educational program to teach the risks and benefits of living kidney donation (LKD) to Federally-designated American Indians residing in the State of Minnesota.

American Indians and Alaska Natives have a high prevalence of Type II diabetes compared to other racial/ethnic minority group, which means that they also have a high rate of chronic kidney disease (CKD).  Type II diabetes, a leading factor in kidney failure, continues to be a growing concern for the American Indian community. LKD can be a life-saving intervention for people with kidney failure; however, for several reasons, American Indians often aren’t getting the information they need about organ donation.

“There are many barriers to transplantation for the American Indian community that include education, transportation, housing, and beliefs,” explains Barb Danielson, RN, MS, HCMC’s transplant program manager and the program’s primary investigator.

Entitled “A Circle of Learning for American Indians: Living Kidney Donation Education,” the HRSA grant allows the development of a new LKD educational intervention for American Indians with Stage III or greater chronic kidney disease. A key element of the program is the involvement of tribal advisors in its design. In addition, “A Circle of Learning” will be delivered by tribal outreach staff at clinics and centers where participants receive community-based health programs and services.

“Reaching these individuals at an early stage in their disease so that appropriate interventions and decisions can be made will make all the difference,” says Danielson. “We’re really excited to work on finding a better way of communicating the risks, advantages and disadvantages of LKD to this unique population.”

If successful, the program could be replicated in other minority communities that experience barriers to transplantation.  Nancy Fahrenwald RN, PhD from South Dakota State University (SDSU) will serve as the Primary Researcher (PR).  LifeSource, the organ procurement organization for the upper Midwest will also serve as a consortium member, consulting on deceased donation education that will be included in the educational program.

Hennepin County Medical Center is a Level 1 Adult Trauma Center Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center and public teaching hospital. The centerpiece of Hennepin County’s clinical health services, Hennepin County Medical Center offers a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient services, including its Transplant Center, which will soon celebrate 50 years of providing transplant services to patients and their families.