ASN President's Column: Strategic Goals for 2019

By Mark Rosenberg, MD, FASN, ASN President

rosenberg_new.PNGI am honored to be ASN President in 2019 and excited by the possibilities for this year. ASN developed and launched a 5-year strategic plan in 2016. Significant progress has been made on all strategic goals, and these remain as the main issues ASN will need to address over the course of the next year. In 2019, I’d like to see ASN focus on accomplishing three broad goals that will continue the society’s momentum and help accomplish the strategic plan by the end of 2020.

Reassert the value of nephrology

ASN must reassert the value of nephrology by:

  1. Defining the scope of nephrology practice and articulating a vision for nephrology in the future.
  2. Promoting the development of a comprehensive kidney care model through collaboration with other societies and organizations.
  3. Ensuring exceptional kidney care through:
    - Educating students, residents, fellows, and other trainees.
    - Empowering patients in their care.
    - Implementing recommendations produced by the Nephrologists Transforming Dialysis Safety initiative.
     

This work includes enumerating the essential components of nephrology and ensuring that these elements will result in both high-quality care and an appealing specialty. Asserting ownership of new therapies and redefining the core features of nephrology are important aspects of this goal. Nephrologists are challenged by increasing complexities in care, changing responsibilities, and a growing regulatory burden making it critical to determine the best paths forward.

Transform kidney research

ASN must redouble its efforts to transform kidney research by:

  1. Accelerating innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases through KidneyX.
  2. Overcoming barriers and creating solutions to expedite the approval of therapies via the Kidney Health Initiative.
  3. Continuing to work with payers to ensure appealing markets for new products in the kidney arena and to appeal to investors.
  4. Advocating for discovery funding through the establishment of a “Special Kidney Program,” or dedicated funding for kidney research at NIDDK, of $150,000,000 annually for 10 years.
     

There is an urgent need to develop new therapies in nephrology and to bring these breakthroughs to patients in a timely manner. Supporting kidney research is an important component as is accelerating discovery and innovation. In this regard, I am encouraged and excited about KidneyX established in 2018. KidneyX is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and ASN to accelerate breakthroughs to promising new therapies for people with kidney diseases through a series of prize competitions.

Maintain career excellence

Third, ASN must remain committed to helping every nephrologist in the world maintain career excellence by:

  1. Providing the best educational activities, self-assessment programs, and other initiatives that encourage lifelong learning.
  2. Supporting the right of each nephrologist to choose a process of maintaining career excellence that affirms the values of the medical profession as well as highlights to the public her or his ability to provide high-quality care.
  3. Strengthening the public's faith in the ability of the medical profession to self-regulate.
  4. Increasing efforts to diversify speakers, presenters, and other faculty at ASN’s meetings.
     

Assessing life-long competence of nephrologists and developing a system for more meaningful accountability to the public is a critical issue for ASN and all of medicine. We need to move away from defining competence based on high-stakes examinations and transition to more relevant ways of assessing nephrologists throughout their careers.

A competent nephrologist needs to engage in a career-long continuous improvement process to ensure the best patient outcomes, including the experience of care, the health of patients, and the value of the care delivered. Such improvement must involve and recognize all members of the kidney patient care team. There are opportunities to approach this challenge innovatively and in collaboration with all stakeholders. This approach should involve development of new educational products that leverage the science of learning and support life-long learning of our members.

To accomplish these goals, we need continued engagement of all ASN members. One aspect of this engagement available to all members are the ASN Communities, an online platform where members can network, collaborate, and discuss important issues in a member only environment. ASN Communities puts all the society members on an even playing field, with an equal voice and a member-driven leadership structure. Communities serve to broadcast issues that matter to members and provide an opportunity to provide input on issues facing ASN. I strongly encourage all members to get involved. My colleagues on the ASN Council and I closely follow and are informed by the discussions on the ASN Communities.

The future of nephrology is bright, I am proud to be President of ASN, and I look forward to working with all of you during the coming year.

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Author:
Mark Rosenberg, MD, FASN, ASN President
Body:

rosenberg_new.PNGI am honored to be ASN President in 2019 and excited by the possibilities for this year. ASN developed and launched a 5-year strategic plan in 2016. Significant progress has been made on all strategic goals, and these remain as the main issues ASN will need to address over the course of the next year. In 2019, I’d like to see ASN focus on accomplishing three broad goals that will continue the society’s momentum and help accomplish the strategic plan by the end of 2020.

Reassert the value of nephrology

ASN must reassert the value of nephrology by:

  1. Defining the scope of nephrology practice and articulating a vision for nephrology in the future.
  2. Promoting the development of a comprehensive kidney care model through collaboration with other societies and organizations.
  3. Ensuring exceptional kidney care through:
    - Educating students, residents, fellows, and other trainees.
    - Empowering patients in their care.
    - Implementing recommendations produced by the Nephrologists Transforming Dialysis Safety initiative.
     

This work includes enumerating the essential components of nephrology and ensuring that these elements will result in both high-quality care and an appealing specialty. Asserting ownership of new therapies and redefining the core features of nephrology are important aspects of this goal. Nephrologists are challenged by increasing complexities in care, changing responsibilities, and a growing regulatory burden making it critical to determine the best paths forward.

Transform kidney research

ASN must redouble its efforts to transform kidney research by:

  1. Accelerating innovation in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases through KidneyX.
  2. Overcoming barriers and creating solutions to expedite the approval of therapies via the Kidney Health Initiative.
  3. Continuing to work with payers to ensure appealing markets for new products in the kidney arena and to appeal to investors.
  4. Advocating for discovery funding through the establishment of a “Special Kidney Program,” or dedicated funding for kidney research at NIDDK, of $150,000,000 annually for 10 years.
     

There is an urgent need to develop new therapies in nephrology and to bring these breakthroughs to patients in a timely manner. Supporting kidney research is an important component as is accelerating discovery and innovation. In this regard, I am encouraged and excited about KidneyX established in 2018. KidneyX is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and ASN to accelerate breakthroughs to promising new therapies for people with kidney diseases through a series of prize competitions.

Maintain career excellence

Third, ASN must remain committed to helping every nephrologist in the world maintain career excellence by:

  1. Providing the best educational activities, self-assessment programs, and other initiatives that encourage lifelong learning.
  2. Supporting the right of each nephrologist to choose a process of maintaining career excellence that affirms the values of the medical profession as well as highlights to the public her or his ability to provide high-quality care.
  3. Strengthening the public's faith in the ability of the medical profession to self-regulate.
  4. Increasing efforts to diversify speakers, presenters, and other faculty at ASN’s meetings.
     

Assessing life-long competence of nephrologists and developing a system for more meaningful accountability to the public is a critical issue for ASN and all of medicine. We need to move away from defining competence based on high-stakes examinations and transition to more relevant ways of assessing nephrologists throughout their careers.

A competent nephrologist needs to engage in a career-long continuous improvement process to ensure the best patient outcomes, including the experience of care, the health of patients, and the value of the care delivered. Such improvement must involve and recognize all members of the kidney patient care team. There are opportunities to approach this challenge innovatively and in collaboration with all stakeholders. This approach should involve development of new educational products that leverage the science of learning and support life-long learning of our members.

To accomplish these goals, we need continued engagement of all ASN members. One aspect of this engagement available to all members are the ASN Communities, an online platform where members can network, collaborate, and discuss important issues in a member only environment. ASN Communities puts all the society members on an even playing field, with an equal voice and a member-driven leadership structure. Communities serve to broadcast issues that matter to members and provide an opportunity to provide input on issues facing ASN. I strongly encourage all members to get involved. My colleagues on the ASN Council and I closely follow and are informed by the discussions on the ASN Communities.

The future of nephrology is bright, I am proud to be President of ASN, and I look forward to working with all of you during the coming year.

Date:
Tuesday, February 5, 2019