'A Person-Centered Approach to Kidney Care'

Unini Odama, MD, MPH, MBE, a recent graduate of the MBE virtual program, published new insights on 'person-centered' kidney care delivery with co-authors Victoria Liou-Johnson, PhD, MS, Aditya Narayan, Katy Weber, MPH, and Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Catalyst.

"We sought a deeper understanding of the particularities of persons living with kidney disease and navigating the kidney health care journey. In particular, we wanted to hear the voices of persons with high socio-economic burdens and learn about their lived realities, barriers, challenges, and experiences living with kidney disease," said Odama, "The themes that emerged showed the interconnectedness of biopsychosocial factors, the need to look behind the curtain of traditional determinants of health, the role of cognitive and physical factors, and the invaluable need for social connections, especially when living with chronic diseases that otherwise isolate one. Our findings highlighted the importance of centering the voices and perspectives of persons living with kidney disease. Moreover, this 'person-centered approach' is crucial as kidney health care continues to evolve and as we strive to ensure that all persons have the opportunity to achieve their best health outcomes—kidney health equity."

Odama continued, "The concept of health equity and health justice has become embedded and cemented in my understanding of health. As a practicing nephrologist, I am not unfamiliar with inequitable health-related risk factors and outcomes, however, it was only during my Master [of Science] in Bioethics program at HMS that I began to interrogate and understand how health is inextricably interconnected with a broad view of justice. It is, therefore, the notion of Health as Justice that consumes my thoughts and drives my actions in caring for patients, advocating for patients, or learning from patients…"

One thing remains true—a patient is a person, and so am I—therefore at the core of justice is dignity, humanness, and solidarity—and this life-changing way of thinking and being blossomed here at the Center for Bioethics.

Click here to read the article, 'A Person-centered Approach to Kidney Care,' on the NEJM Catalyst website.