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CommonSpirit Health launches initiative to address health disparities of Hispanics, and Black and African Americans with chronic kidney disease

 3 minute read time

Free kidney disease screenings to be held in Phoenix on Nov. 11

(Phoenix, AZ – Novemeber 7, 2023) CommonSpirit Health, in partnership with Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, recently launched a new initiative to address race-based algorithms that impact early diagnosis of chronic kidney disease. Hispanics and Latinos are 1.3 times more likely, and Black and African Americans are four times more likely to suffer from kidney failure. Chronic kidney disease affects 37-million American adults, and 90 percent are undiagnosed and unaware they are living with the deadly condition. 

On Saturday, Nov. 11, CommonSpirit Health’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging will offer free chronic kidney disease screenings with Quest Diagnostics at Equality Health Foundation’s 7th annual Healthy Fall Festival and Turkey Giveaway. The event will be located at Lowell Elementary School in Phoenix, and kidney screenings will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public can pre-register at

“Dignity Health is proud to be part of this groundbreaking initiative, which will lead to improved outcomes for patients with chronic kidney disease, regardless of their race,” says Victor Waters, MD, JD, FCLM, Chief Medical Officer at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. “This is a critical step in achieving health equity for all.” 

The program marks a significant step towards removing health care barriers that have long plagued racial and ethnic minorities. Although kidney disease is a common and serious health condition, diagnosing the disease has not always been straightforward. For decades, medical professionals have used an assessment tool called estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) to measure kidney function. The measure is calculated using a variety of factors, including lab test results, age, and race. However, recent studies have suggested that there is no scientific basis for including race in the algorithm, and doing so results in delay of care and worse clinical outcomes.

To address and correct this disparity in the advancement of health equity, CommonSpirit Health created the Equity Heals: Addressing Chronic Kidney Disease initiative. It focuses on the design and implementation of racial justice-informed, patient and community awareness interventions to improve chronic kidney disease outcomes for racial minorities. As part of the initiative, CommonSpirit Health is removing race from eGFR calculations. 

“This transition marks the beginning of ensuring that patients across our communities have access to equitable care without the influence of systemic social barriers such as race,” says Gaye Woods, System Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging for CommonSpirit Health.

CommonSpirit Health, which is comprised of 140 hospitals and more than one thousand care sites in 21 states, will scale the initiative across the regions it serves, impacting and improving health outcomes for millions of Americans. The Equity Heals: Addressing Chronic Kidney Disease initiative is being led by CommonSpirit Health's Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.

Publish date: 

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Media Contact

Carmelle Malkovich, External Communications Director

p: (602) 406-3319

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