The Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program (KDSAP) is a student run organization that originated at Harvard University in 2008. Since then, KDSAP has spread to fourteen other colleges and universities, including University of Michigan. Our chapter’s two main goals are student professional development and community outreach. We provide opportunities for pre-health students to hear from healthcare professionals and learn about basic renal physiology. We also partner with local physicians and community organizations to provide free kidney screenings and health education to underserved populations.
This year, our executive board made a goal to coordinate double the number of screenings as we had in past years, but we were limited by the cost of medical supplies. However, with the grant support from the Barger Leadership Institute we were able to achieve our goal; we held five screenings over the course of the year during which we provided free health services to over 150 community members.
Over the course of the academic year, we held screenings at the Ann Arbor YMCA, the Islamic Institute of America in Dearborn, the First Spanish Baptist Church in Detroit, the Brown African Methodist Episcopal Chapel in Ypsilanti, and Washtenaw Community College. At each of these screenings, community members were able to complete a health history form, have their blood pressure, blood glucose, and BMI measured, have their urine screened, and speak privately with a volunteering physician for free. Over 60 KDSAP members (many of which were new to the organization) participated in trainings and performed these measurements at the screening events. This gave many pre-health students a chance to gain exposure to the healthcare field while simultaneously serving community members who do not have regular access to healthcare.
We also held several other educational events for club members and elementary students from the local community. For World Kidney Day we had a University of Michigan nephrologist and kidney transplant recipient speak to club members about their personal experiences working with kidney disease. We also partnered with the Wolverine Health Sciences program to put on a kidney-related science event at Angell Elementary School.
Out of all of the BLI habits, the ones we used the most were ‘Engage the World’, and ‘Build a Team’. ‘Engage the World’ was a central habit of our project because a large part of our organization’s mission is to reach out to underserved communities. In past years we had only been able to hold screenings in Ann Arbor and Livonia—both of which are reasonably wealthy areas. This year our executive board reached out to many new and underserved communities including the Islamic Institute of America in Dearborn, the First Spanish Baptist Church in Detroit, and the Brown African Methodist Episcopal Chapel in Ypsilanti. We have already begun coordinating future screenings at these locations and hope that we can continue these partnerships for many years to come.
‘Build a Team’ was another essential habit to our project. Given that our organization is still relatively new to University of Michigan, we have still be sorting out many of the nuances of managing an organization with so many moving parts and tasks. Our executive board has had to work effectively as a team in order to expand our organization to include more club members and hold double the number of screenings as we had in past years. We held bi-weekly meetings
in which discussed our upcoming screenings and club activities and supported each other in completing the tasks assigned to each executive board position.
We are incredibly thankful that BLI gave us the chance to grow our organization this year! We invite other BLI fellows to join KDSAP in the fall and help us hold many more screenings and educational events during the upcoming academic year.
By: Lauren Weinberg