Commits to meaningful investments to close racial disparities in kidney health
State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) has been appointed co-chair of the Kidney Disease Prevention and Education Task Force, a new panel charged with raising public awareness and presenting solutions to reduce the prevalence of kidney disease and racial disparities in diagnoses and outcomes.
“Especially in the African-American community, a largely preventable disease is claiming the lives of our neighbors simply due to lack of awareness and access to treatment,” Hunter said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and the leading professionals on the task force to reduce the burden of kidney disease and eradicate the racial inequities in kidney health. It’s time for meaningful investments in outreach, research, and health coverage to close this disparity.”
The task force will work with leading educational institutions in Illinois to create health education programs to increase awareness of and examine chronic kidney disease, early detection, transplants and kidney donations, and the greater rates of diagnosis in minority groups. This will include a public outreach campaign consisting of health education workshops, seminars, preventative screening events, and social media, TV, and radio outreach.
African-Americans are four times as likely to develop kidney failure as Caucasians, while Hispanics are twice as likely. Almost half of the people waiting for a kidney in Illinois identify as African American, but in 2017, less than 10% of them received a kidney.
Hunter is a long-time advocate against racial health inequality. In recent months, Hunter has bolstered her calls for accelerated investments and policy solutions following the COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate impact on minority communities.
“Closing the vast health disparities can no longer be an afterthought. It must be an urgent and primary priority for leaders at every level,” Hunter said.
Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. If chronic kidney disease is detected early and managed correctly, swift treatment can slow and even stop kidney deterioration.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. Roughly one in four adults with diabetes has kidney disease. An estimated 31 million Americans, including 1.12 million Illinois residents, are living with chronic kidney disease.
The task force will consist of legislators, doctors, non-profit leaders, and officials from the Department of Public Health.