The Quest for Better Kidney Care in Multicultural Communities

Moderators:
Molly Strole | Thermo Fisher Scientific - Women’s ERG
Katie O’Leary | Thermo Fisher Scientific - Latino Hispanic Heritage ERG

Guest Speaker:
Carolyn Lemos-Urquidez | President, Kidneys Quest Foundation
 

A conversation with Carolyn Lemos-Urquidez, President and founder of the Kidneys Quest Foundation

As a former fitness professional and someone who has seen the impact of kidney disease in her own family, Carolyn Lemos-Urquidez founded the Kidneys Quest Foundation (KQF) in San Fernando, California, in order to help renal patients who needed one-on-one guidance and support.

It’s an unfortunate but well-document truth that communities of color are disproportionately vulnerable to kidney disease.1

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Recently, Carolyn joined the Thermo Fisher Scientific Women’s Employee Resource Group (WERG) and Latino Hispanic Heritage Resource Group (LHH ERG) for a discussion on the needs and challenges of patients in diverse and underserved communities. The efforts of Carolyn and her dedicated team of volunteers have helped launch a broad range of programs to help the renal disease and kidney transplant community:

  • A cultural meals program that delivers kidney-friendly meals to patients who want to eat food from their own heritage and culture.
  • Transplant education programs on living donation as well as how to get on (and stay on) the transplant waiting list.
  • Classes and coaching on staying active and eating healthy for better quality of life.
  • Guidance on dialysis and next steps after a patient is diagnosed with a kidney disorder.
  • And, since the onset of COVID-19, a local vaccination center for renal patients and their loved ones.

Navigating the Needs of Underserved Communities

Most of the patients that Carolyn and her team serve from Black, Latinx, or Asian communities. Through both her work with the foundation and her personal experience as a Latina, Carolyn is sensitive to the unique concerns of these communities.

Many would benefit from living donation but would also never feel comfortable asking a friend or family member to consider donating a kidney. Some need help with the bureaucracy of health insurance, medical bills, and the transplant waiting list while others struggle with a language barrier that makes it difficult for them to communicate with their healthcare providers. And others simply need encouragement and some friendly guidance to work towards a better health outcome.

Thanks for Carolyn’s passion to help others, KQF’s programming has served over 59,000 patients and the KQF team has identified over 27,000 individuals at risk for kidney disease, helping get critical access to support groups and education.

How to Support KQF and Kidney Patients

The Transplant Diagnostics, WERG and LHH ERG teams were pleased to host Carolyn for this discussion on the vital work she does and the impact her foundation is having in several regions across the United States.

To read more about KQF, please visit kidneysquestfoundation.org. If you know someone who needs help or you want to help, contact Carolyn Lemos-Urquidez at carolyn@kidneysquestfoundation.org.

  1. Longino K, Kramer H. Racial and Ethnic Disparities, Kidney Disease, and COVID-19: A Call to Action. Kidney Med. 2020 Sep-Oct;2(5):509-510. doi: 10.1016/j.xkme.2020.07.001. Epub 2020 Jul 21. PMID: 32838289; PMCID: PMC7371574.