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National Kidney Foundation receives $45,000 grant from the Highmark Foundation

Jan. 5, 2017 | Pittsburgh, Pa.

PITTSBURGH (Jan. 5, 2017) —The Pittsburgh-based office of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) has been awarded a $45,000 grant from the Highmark Foundation to support its efforts to raise awareness and promote prevention for kidney disease through a multifaceted campaign throughout western Pennsylvania and West Virginia in 2017.

"The National Kidney Foundation is grateful to have the support of the Highmark Foundation as we continue to enhance lives through action, education and accelerating change," said NKF Executive Director Erin Tuladzieck. "This funding allows us to increase general kidney health awareness, offer free kidney screenings and provide education to the primary care community on kidney disease management.  We expect to impact more than 15,000 people in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia through the Highmark Foundation's generosity."

Kidney disease is a growing health epidemic, with one in three American adults at risk for developing the disease in their lifetime. Risk factors include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, cardiovascular disease and being age 60 or older.People of certain races and ethnicities are also at increased risk, including African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders. Statistics show that Black Americans are more than three times likely to experience kidney failure, and Hispanics are almost twice as likely to experience kidney failure. A focus on enhancing detection and treatment of chronic kidney disease in these populations is critical.

"We are proud to support the National Kidney Foundation through this grant to reduce disparities and the burden of chronic kidney disease, especially among communities most affected by the disease," said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. "These programs aim to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with kidney disease by promoting evidence-based interventions to improve understanding, detection and management of kidney disease. In addition, the initiatives will improve and ensure access to quality treatment, programs and services for populations in urban and rural communities."

The Highmark Foundation grant will support a variety of initiatives, including community kidney health screenings and awareness presentations, professional education, patient resources, National Kidney Month awareness activities and program management. Grant funds will be allocated to several key initiatives:

  • KEEP Healthy, the NKF’s free kidney health screening, is designed to raise awareness about kidney disease and drive those who are at risk to get tested. As part of the grant, screenings will be provided in downtown Pittsburgh, East Liberty, Pa. and Clarksburg, W.Va.
  • Your Kidneys and You trains volunteers to educate the community about kidneys. The presentation includes an overview of what the kidneys do, why they are important, risk factors for kidney disease, ways to test for kidney health and steps to keep your kidneys healthy. The grant will cover expenses for Your Kidneys and You including program forms and brochures for participants.
  • CKDinform is a CME/CE accredited live symposium to be held in Pittsburgh in 2017. There is a need for improved education and training for primary care practitioners (PCPs) about early screening, prevention testing and timely intervention for kidney disease. Education tailored to PCPs on the evaluation and risk management of kidney disease represents an important opportunity to improve patient outcomes and coordination of care.
  • The NKF has an extensive library of kidney health information for individuals, patients, transplant recipients and living donors. A portion of the funding will support distribution of brochures and informational folders to patients in our local region.
  • National Kidney Month is recognized every March and World Kidney Day will be held on March 9, 2017. The NKF will hold a radio awareness campaign across West Virginia. In addition, the NKF will partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to hold a kidney health awareness event in Strawberry Square in Harrisburg, Pa., on World Kidney Day.
About the Highmark Foundation

The Highmark Foundation is a private, charitable organization of Highmark Inc. that supports initiatives and programs aimed at improving community health. The Foundation's mission is to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for individuals who reside in the communities served by Highmark Inc. The Foundation strives to support evidence-based programs that impact multiple counties and work collaboratively to leverage additional funding to achieve replicable models. For more information, visit

About the National Kidney Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease. For more information, visit


Kristy Cramlet
Highmark Foundation

Cherie Peters
National Kidney Foundation
412-261-4115 x759