The MIKE Program (Multicultural Integrated Kidney Education Program)
Bernie Foster, Publisher of The Skanner News
May 18, 2011Dear Readers and Friends of The Skanner News.
I’m Bernie Foster, President of the Skanner Newsgroup. Today, we face some difficult issues that require commitment from us all to make a difference. So please join me by making a donation to support this visionary path to health equity, educational parity and community building through community service.
The MIKE Program (Multicultural Integrated Kidney Education Program), www.mikeprogram.org, is a charitable organization that paves the way to a healthy future, empowering youth to be lifelong daily ambassadors of health helping realize a vision of all young people meeting their potential in vibrant good health as citizens of a vibrant strong society.
Kidney failure is the epidemic endpoint of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure fueled by risky behaviors and adverse social determinants of health. In May 2011 at the 70th Annual Sommer Memorial Lectures, OHSU’s School of Medicine Alumni Scientific Meeting, William Henrich, MD, reported that decline in kidney function is now recognized as a public health problem contributing to heart disease with the same impact as diabetes. Even a subtle decrease in kidney function can lead to poor cardiac outcomes, the number one cause of premature death world-wide.
An estimated 30 million Americans have some kidney dysfunction. Disporportionately the people who need treatment are low-income or people of color or both. It is predicted that we will not have enough specialists to treat kidney patients in the future, given the growing incidence of kidney problems.
At a March 2011 kidney patient care conference, Portland, Oregon pediatric nephrologist (kidney doctor) Randall Jenkins, MD, related, “In the mid-1990’s when I started in Oregon only one child with hypertension related to weight was in my practice. Now I see one child every week or two with this. The people we see are not obese, just a little overweight. It’s related to life style, eating, physical activity. ... That’s what’s changed in my practice over the years. It’s devastating!”
And speaking from the podium in answer to a question from the audience, pediatric nephrologist Amira Al-Uzri, MD had this to say: “Type 2 diabetes was RARE in the late 80’s. Now we see 1-2 kids a week with this! Diabetic Nephropathy in 16 year olds! It’s “really an epidemic!”
Stacy Kaczor-Roach, a Director on the Board of MIKE Program and Regional Operations Coordinator North Star Region 3 & 5 of DaVita, Inc. the wold’s largest provider of treatment with an artificial kidneys notes that her company is increasingly seeing young patients enter for chronic treatment.
The generation born in 2000 may become the first generation to live shorter and sicker than the generation before it.
Research shows that today more than a quarter of children have evidence of chronic diseases once found only in middle-aged adults. Obese children are at twice that risk.
The good news is that 70-80% of kidney failure is potentially preventable.
It’s critical our youth have a healthy body when they conceive the next generation. That is why MIKE Program starts early to give young people the tools that will shape a positive prenatal and early childhood environment for their own unborn children as well as the tools to advocate for healthier alternatives with their own parents and other decision makers now.
So, how does MIKE Program change behavior? Promoting healthy kidneys is an appealing context that draws on the youths’ helping nature to make an authentic difference. MIKE Program uses a curriculum developed by low-income minority youth for their peers, rather than a text book, to guide physical activity through hands-on, multisensory experiences. They form social networks through groups that meet weekly with caring adults, often health professions students, who start every session with fresh water and a "right-sized" portion of a healthy snack in place of youth-driven "treats" such as pizza and cupcakes to establish new behaviors reinforced by knowledge. The caring adults live the adage, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care?” as they guide the youth.
MIKE Program is seeing results: More young people drinking water, speaking to their parents about making healthy fruits and vegetables the snack, or even the meal, of choice and assuming the mantle of health leader in their communities.
In an article titled “Ethical Principles of Youth Mentoring,” appearing on the national Mentor website www.mentor.org, Dr. Jean Rhodes relates: "Promoting justice can also extend beyond the …relationship with a mentee. … mentoring has the potential to promote widespread social change. Mentors’ close personal connections with vulnerable youth afford them the opportunity to develop a first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by young people today, which can inspire them to redress social ills and advocate for social change that could improve the health and well-being of all youth…."
I have been on the Advisory Board of Multicultural Integrated Kidney Education Program for seven years and contribute regularly. Please join me now. Click on www.mikeprogram.org . Your contributions will help bring MIKE Program closer to serving young people where you live, work and play.
Thank you for your making a difference.
Bernie Foster, President, The Skanner Newsgroup