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Black History Month – Renal.PlatoHealth.ai

It’s Black History Month. Ah, but what is that? “As Andrea Wurtzburger wrote in People Magazine (I knew there was a reason I grabbed this first each time I waited in one medical office or another [prior to the pandemic].) in the February 13, 2020… 

‘Black History Month is an entire month devoted to putting a spotlight on African Americans who have made contributions to our country. Originally, it was seen as a way of teaching students and young people about the contributions of Black and African Americans in school, as they had (and still have) been often forgotten or left out of the narrative of the growth of America. Now, it is seen as a celebration of those who’ve impacted not just the country, but the world with their activism and achievements.’”

To me, Black History Month means it’s time to remind you of some of the Blacks who have contributed to our health as chronic kidney disease patients. Ready? Let’s start. Oh, first, a reminder: nephrology is a young science so some of these people may still be practicing. I took the liberty of italicizing what I considered their most important contributions.

My first stop was Black Health Matters which listed the most prominent Black nephrologists:

“Kirk Campbell, M.D.

An associate professor in the Division of Nephrology and the Vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion, as well as the director of the Nephrology Fellowship Program and an ombudsperson for medical students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Kirk Campbell, M.D., treats patients with renal disease and leads an NIH-funded research program focused on understanding the mechanism of podocyte injury in the progression of proteinuric kidney diseases

Olayiwola Ayodeji, M.D. 

Nephrologist Olayiwola Ayodeji, M.D., has led the development of the Clinical Trials Program at Peninsula Kidney Associates and served as a principal investigator on many research trials. He currently serves as the Medical Director of Davita Newmarket Dialysis Center and the Davita Home Training Center. He is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine…. 

Crystal Gadegbeku, M.D.

A graduate of the University of Virginia, Crystal Gadegbeku, M.D., is a nephrology specialist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is Chief of the section of nephrology, hypertension and kidney transplantation, and Vice Chair of community outreach at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. Her clinical interests include chronic kidney disease, hypertension in chronic kidney disease and pregnancy in chronic kidney disease

Eddie Greene, M.D.

Mayo Clinic internist and nephrologist Eddie Green, M.D., treats chronic kidney disease, heart disease and kidney cancer. His interests include chronic renal failure, cardiovascular disease in chronic renal failure and renal cell cancer

Susanne Nicholas, M.D.

Board certified in internal medicine and nephrology, Susanne Nicholas, M.D., has clinical interests in nephrology and hypertension. Her research over the past 15-plus years has led to the identification of a novel biomarker of diabetic kidney disease, which is being validated in clinical studies

Carmen Peralta, M.D.

Clinical investigator and association professor of medicine Carmen Peralta, M.D., is co-founder and executive director of the Kidney Health Research Collaborative. She is a leader in the epidemiology of kidney disease and hypertension. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, her research activity focuses on three areas: 1) approaches to improving care of people with kidney disease and reducing racial and ethnic disparities; 2) hypertension, arterial stiffness and kidney disease; and 3) biomarkers for detection, classification and risk of early kidney disease. 

Neil Powe, M.D.

A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Neal Powe, M.D., is head of the University of California San Francisco Medicine Service at the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. This is one of the leading medicine departments in a public hospital with strong basic, clinical and health services research programs focused on major diseases affecting diverse patients locally, nationally and globally. His primary intellectual pursuits involve kidney disease patient-oriented research, epidemiology and outcomes and effectiveness research.

Obviously, that’s not every Black that has contributed to the understanding and treatment of chronic kidney disease. The list above is just a few of them. Then I learned about Dr. E.M. Umeukeje on the American Journal of Kidney Disease [AJKD]’s blog:

“Ebele Umeukeje is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is a nephrologist and an epidemiologist passionate about improving health outcomes in vulnerable patients with kidney disease. Her research aims to understand the influence of novel psychosocial factors on adherence in patients with kidney disease, and inform evidence-based, patient-centered innovative approaches to improve adherence and critical outcomes in this patient population….

Running around on the internet, I discovered the following on Encyclopedia.com:

Velma Scantlebury-White…

In 1989 Dr. Velma Scantlebury-White becameAmerica’s first black female transplant surgeon. In her 16 years at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and subsequently at the University of Southern Alabama (USA), Scantlebury dedicated herself to increasing the number of kidney transplants for black patients. She took the lead in educating black Americans about donating organs and tissues for transplantation, and as of 2007, she had performed more than 800 cadaver and 200 living-donor transplant surgeries in children and adults. Scantlebury had coauthored more than 100 research publications, monographs, and book chapters and was twice named one of the America’s Best Doctors.”

The African American Registry reminded me about Dr. Samuel Kountz,

“He was appointed Professor of Surgery and Chairman of the Department at the State University of New York (SUNY), Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, beginning in 1972 and Surgeon-in-Chief of Kings County Hospital. The University of Arkansas awarded him the honorary Juris Doctor in 1973. He developed the country’s largest kidney transplant research and training program at the University of California, San Francisco. Despite his success in human transplants, Dr. Kountz believes the chief source of healthy parts to replace malfunctioning ones will be primates because there are many problems in obtaining and matching human donors.”

Some of the doctors I’ve included today are those I’ve included on previous Black History Month blogs. They’re important and I wanted to remind you about them. There are others that are not included solely due to lack of space. Check the “topics” dropdown to the right of this blog and scroll down to “Black History Month” to learn more about other Blacks in Nephrology past and present.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!