The National Kidney Disease Education program along with the American Diabetes Association’s Live Empowered initiative and Chi Eta Phi Sorority Inc. are hosting the third annual Kidney Sundays event beginning Sunday.
Kidney Sundays is an event that reaches out to the African-American communities and churches during national kidney month.
Organizations have put together free materials and a “how-to guide” for churches nationwide to put on forums and host sessions that encourage the wellness of African-Americans.
According to the National Kidney Fund, one in three African-Americans suffer from kidney disease in the United States.
Dr. Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, said Kidney Sundays goes beyond the first Sunday of March.
“Throughout National Kidney Month, we hope to educate people on the importance of kidney testing and the link between kidney disease and diabetes and high blood pressure,” Rodgers said. “Our goal is to create healthy, lifelong habits and behavior change, particularly among African-Americans.”
Angel Tyson, a fourth-year occupational therapy student from Miami, said she is excited that there are organizations making nationwide efforts to boost the health of African-Americans through churches.
“A lot of times, older black people will listen to the word of the pastor and be more willing to support things that they learn about while at church,” Tyson said. “I think that the high death rate among African-American has a lot to do with their lack of education. When people are more educated in the natural functions of their body, they’ll be more likely to do the right thing to prolong their life.”
Priscilla Murphy, the first vice president of Chi Eta Phi, said her organization is thrilled to partner with NKDEP on such an important initiative.
“Kidney Sundays is an opportunity for our nurses to directly affect the health of their communities,” Murphy said. “Through blood pressure screenings and kidney health presentations, we open the door to a discussion on kidney disease and raise awareness about risk factors.”
The Kidney Sunday’s initiative has three main goals, which include helping African-Americans to gain a better understanding of why kidney disease is a major health concern, encouraging people at risk to get their kidneys tested and supporting conversations about kidney disease among families and faith communities.