Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney disease among African Americans. Because of this, the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP) looked for a way to bring kidney health information to African Americans. Since faith communitites are a place where people turn to for useful information, it was a perfect fit.
In 2012, Kidney Sundays began with a simple goal: raise awareness within faith communities about the risks of kidney disease and the importance of getting tested. From this idea grew a grassroots movement that has touched the lives of thousands of African Americans in churches across the country. NKDEP collaborated with the American Diabetes Association, Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., the National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses, and more than 350 African-American faith organizations around the country on the first Kidney Sundays in March 2012.
"I challenge every
faith organization to
talk about kidney
health this month."
“We can work together to lower the rate of kidney disease. Since many of us turn to places of worship to discuss health issues, I challenge every African-American faith organization to talk about kidney health this month,” said Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P., director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
NKDEP continues to grow the success of Kidney Sundays’ inaugural efforts by expanding its partnerships and offering even more resources to those looking to host their own Kidney Sundays event in their community. Vivian Berryhill, a participant in 2012, reflects on the need for an event of this kind and how easy it is to get involved.
“We still have lots of work ahead of us in terms of educating people on the serious effects of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and eating habits, and how each relates to kidney health,” said Vivian Berryhill, of New Philadelphia Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn. “Efforts such as Kidney Sundays are a great way to help churches get the conversations started about diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and eating habits and how each related to kidney health. This faith-focused kidney awareness campaign gives churches an opportunity to post on church bulletin boards, to disseminate via church bulletins, and to preach from the pulpit about information in a forum where we know people trust us and will pay attention.”
Take the Pledge to Share Kidney
You don’t have to be an expert to be a kidney champion for your faith community. Join other individuals, like yourself, and host your own Kidney Sundays event or activity during National Kidney Month, or any time of the year. Ideas include:
- Deliver a Kidney Sundays presentation
- Send emails to your congregation to spread awareness about the connection between diabetes, kidney disease, and high blood pressure
- Make an announcement during church service about the importance of kidney health
- Include an announcement on Kidney Sundays and NKDEP in the church bulletin
- Order brochures to hand out at a Kidney Sundays event or to distribute at the church resource center or bookstore.