Why Charles Drew University is Addressing Chronic Kidney Disease
In 1974, only 16,000 patients were enrolled in the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Program compared with over 420,000 today, of whom nearly 35% are African American, representing one of the most marked areas of health disparity in our nation. African Americans suffer from the highest rates of treated ESRD in the US, followed by Native Americans and Hispanics (the most rapidly growing minority group in the country). Moreover, it is now generally estimated that more than 10 million Americans have CKD, the prevalence of which is disproportionately held by racial/ethnic minorities.
Located in Los Angeles County, one of the most diverse counties in the United States, CDU is situated in an area with major population concentrations of disadvantaged minority groups disproportionately affected by CKD. Many Latino and African American communities in Los Angeles suffer from some of the highest rates of health-related morbidity and mortality, as well as some of the lowest rates of educational attainment, income and insurance coverage in the nation.
In 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spearheaded by Dr. David Satcher, then Assistant Secretary of Health and U.S. Surgeon General, released its 10-year health objectives for the nation, Healthy People 2010. The blueprint for the nation’s plan to achieve these goals calls for the monitoring of 467 specific objectives in 28 focus areas. CKD is one of these focus areas. National recognition of CKD as a critical area of racial/ethnic disparity in health status highlights the importance of this issue as a significant public health concern.