Issue 15
Monday, 11 September 2017
Charles Darwin University
Director of Menzies School of Health Research Professor Alan Cass
Director of Menzies School of Health Research Professor Alan Cass

Kidney specialist wins prestigious award

By Claire Addinsall

A renowned kidney specialist who has been working to close the gap in Indigenous health has taken home the Kidney Health Australia Clinical Science Award.

Director of Menzies School of Health Research Professor Alan Cass’s winning presentation entitled “Difficult Conversations: Australian Indigenous patients’ views on kidney transplant” was based on the Improving Access to Kidney Transplants (IMPAKT) research program.

Indigenous Australians suffer a disproportionate burden of End Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) at an earlier age than non-Indigenous Australians, however, are less likely to receive a transplant.

The IMPAKT study, which investigated barriers to kidney transplantation for Indigenous Australians, collected experience narratives from 146 patients with ESKD in urban, regional and remote sites.

The study found that although Indigenous ESKD patients had an intense interest in transplantation, they felt poorly informed about their options.

“Patients believe transplant is the path most likely to support the re-establishment of their ‘normal’ family life,” Proffessor Cass said.

“However, most had only a basic knowledge of the notion of transplant and no understanding of the eligibility criteria, the transplant procedure and associated risks.

“Of great concern, was the number of patients who indicated that multiple communication barriers had undermined their engagement in decision-making during treatment.”

Professor Cass was presented with the award at the 53rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology conference.