The D.C. Department of Health does not reserve funding specifically for kidney disease prevention, according to David Rose, bureau chief for primary care. The department does, however, work with numerous nongovernmental health organizations, including the American Kidney Fund and the National Kidney Foundation's D.C. chapter, that share the goal of "reducing the incidence and impact of" diabetes, cardiovascular disease and, by extension, kidney disease, he wrote in an e-mail reply to a reporter's questions. Several Washington area organizations offer educational programs and free screenings.
* Project Prevention, launched in 1999 by the National Kidney Foundation of the National Capital Area, is an education program that identifies people at risk for kidney disease. The program holds free screenings at churches, corporate offices and government agencies throughout the area. For more information, see www.kidneywdc.org/project_prevention.cfm.
* Project KEEP (Kidney Early Evaluation Program), of the National Kidney Foundation, is a screening program for people at increased risk for kidney disease. Once you are screened, staff members will contact you with your results, refer you to a doctor or public health facility if necessary, and provide information, education and support. For more information, see www.kidney.org/keep/index.cfm.
* The American Kidney Fund offers financial aid to chronic kidney disease patients. According to its Web site, the fund served more than 55,000 low-income kidney patients in 2004, distributing more than $57 million. The American Kidney Fund provides assistance with transportation to dialysis, medications, special diet, kidney donor expenses and other treatment essentials. For more information, see http://www.kidneyfund.org.
* MIKE (Minority Intervention and Kidney Education), run by the American Kidney Fund, offers free medical screenings, nutrition and fitness presentations, and follow-up services (including medical referrals and public education materials) for minority people at risk for kidney disease. For more information, see www.mikehelps.org.
* NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The institute's Web site, www.niddk.nih.gov, offers information, some of it in Spanish as well as English, on the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease.
* American Association of Kidney Patients. This nonprofit, whose Web site is www.aakp.org, offers information in English and Spanish; its regional chapters organize support groups for newly diagnosed patients.
* National Kidney Disease Education Program. This government initiative encourages African Americans to discuss kidney disease prevention and treatment at family reunions. A free tool kit includes printouts and other materials. See www.nkdep.nih.gov/familyreunion/.
-- Ranit Mishori