The 2019 American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Kidney Week, held in Washington DC, brought together more than 13,000 kidney professionals from across the globe! The conference centered around exchanging knowledge, learning the latest scientific and medical advances, and listening to engaging and provocative discussions with leading experts in the field.

Among the highlights of Can-SOLVE CKD’s involvement at the event were the poster presentations by our patient-partners:

  • David Hillier (a member of the Patient Governance Circle) presented a poster describing the involvement of patient partners in the Can-SOLVE CKD Research Operations Committee (ROC). This novel approach has enhanced peer review of the network’s research projects as well as the ROC’s overall functioning.
  • Helen Robinson-Settee (Patient Governance Circle member, and IPERC Co-chair) presented a poster on “Respectful Engagement of Indigenous Peoples in a Pan-Canadian Kidney Research Network” describing how Can-SOLVE CKD is working to improve the health of all Canadians and bring Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing into health research.

As a first time attendee at the ASN Conference, I was struck by the magnitude of the conference – 15000+ attendees with multiple educational sessions, speakers and poster presentations over a 3 1/2 day period. I had the distinct pleasure of presenting a poster on the purpose of the Research Operations Committee and the role of “Patient Partners as Equal and Contributing Voices in Patient Oriented Research”. As a patient partner, I was impressed by the research being undertaken, key initiatives incorporating patient voices, such as the  Kidney Health Initiative and KidneyX, as well as the exhibitors demonstrating state of the art equipment for patients with CKD. Overall, an incredible educational and learning experience.

– David Hillier

I had the honor of attending the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) conference in Washington, DC from November 7-9, 2019 on behalf of the Can-SOLVE CKD Network along with another patient partner, David Hillier. I attended the conference to present a poster entitled “Respectful engagement of Indigenous peoples in a pan-Canadian kidney research network” that shares information about the Indigenous Peoples Engagement and Research Council (IPERC) and our role as Indigenous patient partners in research processes. The poster also included information about the Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj Learning Pathway and the components of the training that “enhances knowledge and strengthens cultural competency…which will enable all partners in health research to ultimately close the gap in kidney health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities”.

I was overwhelmed at the size of the conference. There were over 10,000 delegates from all over the world talking and sharing about kidneys.When David and I went to get our badge holder and conference bag, there was a lineup of hundreds of people also picking up their badge holder and bag. I looked at David and said, “I won’t be able to stand in line that long”, (as I was wearing a knee brace and using a cane). So I said to David, I’m going to ask the nice lady monitoring the crowd if she can let us cut in the line. Well, she says to us, you don’t worry, just wait here. She comes back with our badge holders and our conference bags! To me, that demonstrated kindness and knew I was in a good place.

When David and I went to look for the location of the poster session area, I was blown away! The area had over 800 posters displayed. I couldn’t believe my eyes. When Saturday arrived, a fellow colleague, Helen Chiu, helped David and I display our posters. To my surprise, one of my poster neighbors was from Australia. Her name was Allison Tong. She introduced me to a patient partner engaging in similar work in Australia. We talked about future collaborations together between IPERC, the Learning Pathway and the work in Australia. I also had visitors from other parts of the world, but one visitor left an impression on me. She was from Spain. When I was talking about the Learning Pathway, she was especially interested in the blanket exercise. We talked about the impact of Indian residential schools and the legacy it has left with Indigenous peoples in Canada. I was honored to share the information and have dialogues with numerous people.

Some of the takeaways I have from this conference are: 1. We still have lots of work to do with the Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj Learning Pathway in regards to educating the health system, 2. We need to share more information about the research work, especially the Indigenous research projects, and 3. we need to do more prevention work with children and CKD.

– Helen Robinson-Settee

On behalf of the Can-SOLVE CKD Network, thank you to David and Helen for taking part in ASN Kidney Week! There is so much great work occurring in the global kidney community, and we are honoured to be a part of it!

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