Dr. Heather Gardiner’s research in the field of Kidney Transplantation, BMI and Patient eligibility is very intriguing and opens up the door for a field of study that needs more research, thought, and nation-wide program implementation.
The most interesting statistic that she presented was the fact that most of the people on a transplant waitlist is mostly minorities, however the majority of the people receiving organ transplants are white. Also the research Dr. Gardner has been doing is centered around BMI as a determining factor is intriguing. Her research has connected many dots and culminates what we have been studying in class. The fact that most of these ethnicities have higher rates of ESRD is because of poor diet, living in low income neighborhoods, low health literacy, and lack of resources and access to health care. All of these factors culminate to potentially higher rates of obesity.
Whether obesity and BMI is a valid factor for admitting people onto the waitlist for transplants is the question that Dr. Gardner is trying to solve. However with her work, we have realized that there are a lot of implications and flaws within the system that ESRD patients have to go through. For instance many centers across the nation do not have standard policies in regards to BMI scales and cut off points. Also we have realized that these policies are not as accessible to the public as it is deemed to be. If patients were aware of certain policies and BMI ratings for centers, it may sway their decision of whether to go to that center or a different one. However the problem is if these policies are not available, patients may go to a center that has a rating lower than their actual BMI and they are not able to go onto the wait list. They could potentially go to another center, however if they are lower class, they often do not have the means and resources to do so. Also, screenings after the first one are not covered by health insurance. This creates an even tighter strain financially and psychologically as we have learned in class.
Prior to this talk, I did not realize how much an issue this disparity was between ethnicities and whites receiving a transplant off the waitlist and even getting onto the wait list to begin with. Future research needs to be done with a larger more representative sample size in order to change policies and implement programs that better reach these minorities that are struggling to obtain kidney transplants. Instead of just telling patients to lose weight in order to be on the waitlist, there are other avenues and cognitive behaviorist therapy techniques that should be administered to help the ethnic minorities overcome the psychological and biological challenges associated with ESRD.