Contest Spotlights Creative Tools to Help Students Learn about Kidney Health and Disease

ASN's Innovations in Kidney Education Contest aims to stimulate the development and exchange of innovative tools to enhance teaching, generate excitement among students and trainees about the field of nephrology, and encourage meaningful interaction between team members.

ASN recently announced the winners of the Innovations in Kidney Education Contest, which featured creative tools to help students learn about kidney health and disease. Launched in 2015 to inspire students and trainees to think about nephrology in new ways, the contest aims to stimulate the development and exchange of innovative tools to enhance teaching, generate excitement among students and trainees about the field of nephrology, and encourage meaningful interaction between team members, including students, trainees, researchers, clinicians, and other professionals.

The contest also helps to engage learners in ASN activities and create novel ideas for additional curricula development for medical and graduate students in the field of nephrology. This year’s winners represent the best of innovative approaches (e.g., relevance, creativity, portability, and feasibility) to teaching about kidney health and disease.

Mostafa Belghasem, MD, PhD (Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine) won for his tool, Kidney Biopsy Interpretation for Medical Students, which teaches multiple aspects of renal pathology and pathophysiology through the interpretation of kidney biopsies using interactive case-based scenarios. The high-quality biopsy images that will be used are ultimately converted into annotated animations and illustrations to highlight and simplify the complex pathological changes and patterns of the exact glomerular lesions used in the cases. The tool is expected to enhance the student's descriptive renal pathology skills and enhance their ability to formulate differential diagnoses; reenforce the student's knowledge of normal kidney structure; and allow the student to predict clinical features of based on the pathological glomerular alterations.

Sophia L. Ambruso, DO; Hongyi Zhang; Emily Qin; Samira S. Farouk, MD, MS, FASN; and Matthew A. Sparks, MD, FASN (University of Colorado School of Medicine/Rocky Mountain Regional VAMC, Duke University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) won for ABC Kidney, a module-based kidney physiology educational tool designed for medical students that teaches kidney physiology concepts and relevant clinical correlations using animation, interactive games, and quizzes. Integration of clinical correlations into the tool blends physiology with clinical context, encouraging students to make associations between basic physiological constructs and clinically meaningful observations. These clinically relevant connections with physiologic mechanisms are expected to foster knowledge retention and the development of clinical reasoning skills. The goal is to challenge the learner's conceptual understanding of difficult topics, improve content retention, and promote development of clinical reasoning. 

Ankur Shah, MD, FASN; Edward Medeiros, DO; and Avrum Gillespie, MD (Brown University) won for Interactive Website on Nephrology Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology, a tool that offers a “one stop shop” for learners to understand absorption and secretion of various solutes in states of physiology, pathophysiology, and the effects of pharmacology. Intended to teach renal physiology to a range of medical learners, the tool provides an overview of solute transport both by nephron segment (proximal tubule, loop of henle, distal convoluted tubule, cortical and medullary collecting duct) as well as by solute and solvent (sodium, potassium, calcium, water, ammonium, phosphorus, chloride, magnesium, glucose, urea) both under states of normal physiology and under the effects of medications as well as pathology. 

ASN also recognized finalists who received honorable mention, including Rhianna Hibbler and Shivangi Patel, MD (Sidney Kimmel Medical College - Thomas Jefferson University) for The Glamorous Glomerulus: Nephritic and Nephrotic Syndromes; and Pravir V. Baxi, MD, and Roger A. Rodby, MD, FASN (Rush University Medical Center) for Rush Nephrology Renal Biopsy Conference (RBC). 

Special thanks the contest judges for their review and expertise: Mark G. Parker, MD, FASN (chair); Anna Marie Burgner, MD; Katie E. Cardone PharmD, RPh, FASN; Rachel Hilburg, MD; Susie L. Hu, MD, FASN; and Denise K. Link, PA, PA-C.

For more information about the contest, visit