NKF Spring Clinical Meetings to spark dialogue, collaboration in virtual format
As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the National Kidney Foundation’s Spring Clinical Meetings will again be held virtually, presenting program organizers with a unique set of challenges, according to program chair Mitchell H. Rosner, MD.
Despite these challenges, Rosner, who serves as the Henry B. Mulholland professor of medicine and chair of the department of medicine at the University of Virginia, said the experience of holding the meeting virtually in 2020 has been helpful in determining the optimal format for sharing nephrology content — which conference organizers view as providing a “holistic overview” of the specialty — with a diverse array of participants (including nephrologists, social workers, nurses and dieticians).
“We learned, first and foremost, that content matters,” Rosner told Healio Nephrology in an exclusive conference preview. “The NKF meeting provides outstanding and highly relevant content that people are asking for. With great content, the rest focuses on using interactive, easy-to-use platforms that make delivery of the material easy and seamless. The NKF team works around the clock to ensure that the meeting is well organized, timely and goes forward with a minimal amount of disruption.”
Rosner said the 2021 program consists of topics that are covered each year at SCM, such as glomerular diseases, critical care issues, transplantation and home dialysis, with experts providing timely updates. In addition to these, this year’s program will highlight diabetic kidney disease and newer therapies, newer treatments for anemia, the impact of COVID-19 on patients and health care workers (one session is titled COVID typhoon: Practical mindfulness based interventions for healing) and the use telehealth through all stages of kidney disease care (Tips, tricks, and tools for using telehealth for outpatient care, for example).
“A key focus was to try to make sessions interactive, collaborative and multi-disciplinary and to allow networking and good communication despite the virtual format,” Rosner said.
Rosner also touched on the pressing issue of racial disparities in kidney care which, by no means new, has been brought to the forefront by the pandemic (an example of a session addressing this is titled Cultural competency: Understanding the American Black experience).
“We recognized that covering topics of health disparities, equity and racial injustice were critical this year and we have developed many sessions with a focus on these topics including plenary sessions,” he said. “We wanted to create a space to learn about these critical issues from experts and also create a dialogue among attendees. COVID-19 has particularly devastated communities that are disadvantaged and overrepresented with people of color. This is true of chronic kidney disease, as well, and we need strategies to address these disparities. We hope that the SCM will be a place for people to come together and talk.”
Healio Nephrology will be providing coverage of the virtual meeting, which will be held April 6 to 10.