Steven Belcher, RN, MSN, MS, is a dedicated kidney advocate who began his journey 20 years ago as a dialysis nurse. This job inspired him to help as many people with kidney disease as he could. Not only did he spent two decades caring for a patient’s physical and emotional needs in a clinical setting, but he also educated the public on the risk factors of kidney disease. Some of his many philanthropic successes include being a keynote speaker at the National Association of Nephrology Technicians/ Technologists (NANT), presenting at community spaces, and launching radio shows.
He now focuses his time entirely on his organization Urban Kidney Alliance, which educates the public about kidney disease. His goal? To lower rates of Chronic Kidney Disease in urban communities in Baltimore, Maryland, across the country, and globally through education and collaboration.
Urban Kidney Alliance began in 2014 after Steven Belcher observed disproportionate rates of kidney disease in African Americans. He created The Urban Kidney Alliance to support and educate the community about the risk factors of kidney disease.
African Americans make up 35% of all patients in the United States on dialysis for kidney failure, but only make up 13.2% of the US population. (1)
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure because it damages the small blood vessels in the kidney. Type 1 occurs when the pancreas creates little to no insulin, and Type 2 occurs when the body is unable to use the insulin properly. (2)
“African American adults are 60 percent more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician” (3)
One of the leading causes of diabetes is obesity, which affects people with lower income and less education. (4) Urban Kidney Alliance works with the public to teach them about these risks, prevention techniques, and treatment options.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure
When the heart beats and rests, it creates two types of pressure that send the blood throughout the body. However, when this pressure is consistently too high, arteries and blood vessels can become damaged. (5) The kidney does not escape the arterial and blood vessel damage making hypertension the 2nd leading cause of kidney disease in America. (6)
Urban Kidney Alliance explains that life stresses, including poverty and inequality, high salt intake, obesity, and lack of education and resources for regular blood pressure checks, help fuel rates of hypertension in urban communities.
Urban Kidney Alliance has employed several techniques to help lower kidney disease, diabetes, and hypertension- all aimed at educating and disseminating crucial information.
- Newly Diagnosed Patient Information Consultation
- Kidney Disease Education Workshop (KDEWS)
- Chronic Kidney Disease: The New Silent Killer in African American Communities (Presentation).
- Kidney Disease Education Workshop (KDEWS)-mini workshop presentation.
Don’t forget to check out Steve’s other organization, Urban Health Outreach Media. UHOM airs weekly live and recorded broadcasts about diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and health disparities in urban communities.
Sponsored By: Kibow BiotechⓇ
- African Americans and Kidney Disease. (2018, February 16). Retrieved from https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/African-Americans-and-CKD
- Diabetic Kidney Disease. (2017, February 1). Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/diabetic-kidney-disease
- Office of Minority Health. (2019, December 19). Retrieved from https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=18
- Pedersen, T. (2018, December 18). Link Between Poverty and Obesity A Recent Phenomenon. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/12/17/link-between-poverty-and-obesity-a-recent-phenomenon/141120.html
- What is High Blood Pressure? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure/what-is-high-blood-pressure
- High Blood Pressure and Chronic Kidney Disease. (2016, January 27). Retrieved from https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/High-Blood-Pressure-and-CKD