Clinicians, basic scientists, epidemiologists, and public health officials met June 25 – 26 to develop a coordinated research agenda for a growing epidemic of chronic kidney diseases. The workshop, held in Bethesda, Maryland, was jointly sponsored by NIEHS and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Participants discussed current gaps in knowledge and a path forward to better understand the causes of – and potential treatments for – chronic kidney diseases in agricultural communities. SRP Director Bill Suk, Ph.D., and SRP Health Specialist Brittany Trottier were members of the organizing committee and attended the meeting, largely organized by Bonnie Joubert, Ph.D., of NIEHS.
Presenters included SRP grantees Ana Navas-Acien, Ph.D., from Columbia University, and Madeleine Scammell, D.Sc., from Boston University. Navas-Acien described the link between exposure to metals, such as cadmium, lead, and arsenic, and chronic kidney disease. Scammell discussed a unique epidemic of chronic kidney disease that disproportionately affects young male agricultural workers in El Salvador. She explained how her team has been working closely with the impacted community and the importance of building trust.
"This workshop gathered experts from across disciplines to discuss a complex environmental health problem and how to address it," said Suk. "SRP has supported a number of researchers examining the connection between environmental exposures and kidney disease, and funded early workshops in Costa Rica and Sri Lanka that really put kidney disease on the NIEHS radar."