ASN in Review A Look at ASN’s Activities Since Kidney Week 2015

ASN Implements Strategic Plan

ASN established goals for building the nephrology profession over the next 5 years as part of its new strategic plan. The society will assert the value of nephrology to health and science professionals, health care systems, and other stakeholders to ensure high-quality care for patients as well as foster career development for current and future kidney health professionals. ASN will also lead the kidney community by focusing on transformative research, education, communications, policy, and collaboration, and by encouraging kidney health professionals worldwide to contribute to and benefit from ASN’s activities.

50 Years of Leading the Fight against Kidney Diseases

ASN celebrates 50 years of advancing kidney care by looking back at what has been accomplished and by looking forward to the amazing advances that lay ahead. Through podcasts, videos, a series of “Distinguished Conversations” with nephrology greats, and a timeline of milestones in the shared history of nephrology and ASN, the society has commemorated its anniversary throughout the year. The culmination of the celebration is a display of the past, present, and future of nephrology and of ASN, located in the exhibit hall at ASN Kidney Week.

White House Organ Summit

ASN participated in a White House Organ Summit in June 2016. Convened to address the shortage of organs available for transplantation, the Summit brought together a wide array of stakeholders committed to improving outcomes for individuals waiting for organ transplants and to encourage support for living organ donors. Leading up to the Summit, ASN engaged in dialogue with the White House regarding new kidney therapeutics and challenges to transplantation.

XPrize

ASN has pledged the first $7 million toward a prize competition in partnership with the XPRIZE Foundation, with the aim of catalyzing innovation that will revolutionize kidney patient care. The competition, announced at the White House Organ Summit, would challenge innovators around the world to develop alternatives to dialysis that restore freedom and quality of life while delivering superior health outcomes for the millions of people around the world suffering from kidney failure.

ASN Online Communities

In March 2016, ASN unveiled to members a new platform for discussion, networking, and collaboration. ASN Online Communities allow members to connect to each other, to the society, and to the broader kidney community in conversations about topics they select. Daily digest emails summarize the latest conversations, and a resource library on the Communities website allows sharing of presentations, documents, and videos. As of October 1, 2016, 738 members from around the world composed a total of 3201 posts across 10 communities. All members are encouraged to join the discussion.

Partnership with US CDC to Transform Dialysis Safety

ASN partnered with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July 2016 to protect dialysis patients from developing infections, the second leading cause of death in this patient population. The 3-year Nephrologists Transforming Dialysis Safety (NTDS) Project will engage the kidney community, health departments, and other stakeholders to implement best practices to safeguard against infection in dialysis patients. Activities will include sessions at ASN Kidney Week, a dedicated issue of the Nephrology Self-Assessment Program (NephSAP), a webinar series on infection prevention, and increased collaboration between nephrologists and healthcare-acquired infection preventionists.

Kidney Health Initiative

The public-private partnership between ASN and the US Food and Drug Administration has steadily increased its membership to nearly 80 organizations. KHI workgroups helped frame the strategic priorities that will stimulate innovation in kidney care and foster solutions to operational, regulatory, and business issues hindering clinical trials in dialysis. The articles “Overcoming Barriers in Kidney Health—Forging a Platform for Innovation” and “Pragmatic Trials in Maintenance Dialysis: Perspectives from the Kidney Health Initiative” were published in JASN.

Advocating for Kidney Patients and Professionals

ASN in 2016 gave voice to the kidney community by addressing several critical issues in health care and research, including working to advance legislation to protect living donors; helping physicians navigate the complex new payment system MACRA, which shifts the focus from quantity of care to quality of care; and working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure a new law provides appropriate treatment options to acute kidney injury patients who require dialysis. ASN also worked with stakeholders in the research community to secure funding increases for NIDDK and NIH, and urged Congress and Medicare to consider new nephrologist-centered care delivery models encompassing the spectrum of kidney diseases from advanced CKD through ESRD and end-of-life care, emphasizing access to transplant and preemptive transplant care.

Career Development Grants Program Celebrates 20 Years

ASN and the ASN Foundation for Kidney Research celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Career Development Grants Program. Established in 1996, the program funds the most promising research from new investigators, and aims to foster independent research careers. For two decades, this program has served as an investment in the future of nephrology research, with more than $30 million supporting 156 new investigators. Tracking outcomes over time, the ASN Foundation has seen tremendous productivity from grant recipients who succeed in disseminating findings, receiving additional awards, and securing promotions. The Career Development Grants Program develops successful researchers, produces future mentors, identifies tomorrow’s leaders, and results in exciting scientific discoveries that will positively affect patient care.

Recertification and Lifelong Learning

Through a member survey, letters to members, ASN Kidney News articles, meetings with ABIM leadership, and collaboration with other specialty societies, ASN spearheaded efforts to ensure maintenance of certification remains relevant to nephrology practice and is not redundant with other quality or patient safety efforts. The ASN Recertification Task Force was formed in March 2016 to help identify the ideal pathway to recertification and will present at a Recertification Forum at Kidney Week 2016 on Thursday, November 17.

Growth in Membership

ASN membership increased to more than 16,000 in 2016, an increase of about 3% over the previous year. About 37% of ASN members are from outside the United States.

International Kidney Organizations Collaborate

In a landmark agreement, three leading kidney organizations with worldwide membership signed a Declaration of Collaboration in June 2016. The declaration by ASN, the European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA), and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) recognizes that kidney diseases are a global challenge that respects no boundaries or borders. The organizations committed to using all available synergies to fight kidney diseases and improve the standard of care for kidney patients worldwide.

Kidney News Online

ASN in April 2016 launched a new website, Kidney News Online, www.kidneynews.org, to extend ASN Kidney News as a digital platform for daily updates on news, context, and resources for all stakeholders in the kidney community. Kidney News Online offers users the ability to personalize their experience by providing content that matters most to them.

Journals Excel

JASN continues to be a leader among nephrology journals publishing original research, featuring important articles in the science and practice of nephrology, scholarly reviews, and editorials. CJASN introduced the Evidence-Based Nephrology Series, notified authors of decisions within 32 days, and published articles within 37 days online and 81 days in print, on average. Rajnish Mehrotra, MD, FASN, will begin his term as the third Editor-in-Chief of CJASN on January 1, 2017.

Twitter Chats

ASN and the Nephrology Journal Club (NephJC) teamed up to host increasingly popular monthly #AskASN Twitter chats. Topics ranged from Kidney Health Advocacy Day and the Kidney Health Initiative to a conversation with ASN President Raymond C. Harris, MD, FASN, and another about the society’s 50th anniversary. The most popular Twitter Chat looked at how the findings of the SPRINT Trial affect care of those with kidney diseases.

Nephrology Workforce Supply and Demand

ASN’s ongoing workforce research focused on supply across the career spectrum. Employment and job search experiences captured in the Nephrology Fellows Survey provide key market indicators. The 2016 survey of physicians 55 years and older examined how changing practice patterns and retirement plans will influence demand in the short- and midterm. Led by George Washington University, additional research includes potential effects of integrated care delivery models (such as ESRD Seamless Care Organizations or ESCOs) on future nephrologist demand and analysis of Medicare claims data for trends in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases.

Gauging Interest in Nephrology Careers, Training Trends

ASN implemented several initiatives to strengthen the candidate pipeline. A Workforce Committee project analyzes institutions graduating the most physicians choosing nephrology. The Best Practices Project identifies approaches to successfully instill interest in the specialty, first in medical schools and then internal medicine residency programs. These methods will be disseminated so they can be modeled at other institutions. The Graduate Medical Education (GME) Database is compiling data on adult and pediatric training programs to provide workforce researchers with accurate, definitive data on the nephrology training landscape to enable better monitoring of the supply of future nephrologists and changes in the number of training positions.

Kidney TREKS

Thirty students trekked to Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory to participate in a course on renal physiology. The weeklong Kidney TREKS (Tutored Research and Education for Kidney Scholars) course also includes a long-term mentorship program. In 2017, ASN will expand to a second TREKS site at the University of Chicago that will offer a blend of complementary clinical and research opportunities.

Trainee Travel Support

ASN provided more than $250,000 in travel support to 314 students, residents, and fellows to attend ASN Kidney Week 2015. Program highlights included Kidney STARS and the Karen L. Campbell, PhD, Travel Support Program for Fellows. Kidney STARS supported more than 200 students and residents with tailored programming and mentorship guidance throughout the annual meeting. Named for ASN’s former Executive Director, the Campbell Fellows Program supported 25 fellows, who also served as mentors for the Kidney STARS program. The Campbell Fellows Program expanded in 2016 to include 70 fellows. Annually, the William E. Mitch, III, MD, FASN, International Scholars Travel Support Program supports five fellows from Central America, South America, and Spanish-speaking countries in North America, as well as three fellows in the US or Canada who are underrepresented minorities.

October/November 2016  (Vol 8, Issue 10/11)