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J Natl Med Assoc. 2002 Aug;94(8 Suppl):63S-71S.

Community outreach: a call for community action.

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American Kidney Fund, African-American Outreach Project, Northwestern University, and Neomedica Dialysis Units, Chicago, Illinois 60805, USA.


For a variety of reasons, end-stage renal disease disproportionately affects minority populations. Factors such as socioeconomic status, cultural differences, and genetic variations, are all involved. In addition, there are often real and perceived barriers for these patient groups in fully accessing the healthcare system. Thus, there is a real need for the development of specific outreach programs that target these high-risk communities. In developing such programs, it is important to realize that there is not a homogeneous 'ethnic community', but rather, like any large demographic grouping, a diverse population. These differing communities will all have different requirements and needs and, thus, outreach programs need to be wide-ranging and adapted for individual, local communities, to ensure that all target audiences are reached. The core aims for these outreach programs must be raising disease awareness and education among minority patients. To achieve this goal, a wide range of organizations need to be actively involved, including national and--importantly--local, community-based patient organizations, and hospital management corporations, as well as local radio and television companies to advertise the outreach initiatives. However, any outreach campaign will need to be combined with policy changes and further research into kidney disease among minority groups if real improvements in outcomes are to be achieved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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