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How do you urge high risk Americans to make the kidney connection and talk to their doctor about chronic kidney disease?

Turning health and well-being into a family affair.

In 2004, kidney failure cost the health care system approximately $32.5 billion. Millions of Americans have diabetes or high blood pressure, two of the leading risk factors for kidney disease, while an estimated 8.5 million Americans have lost more than half of their kidney function. On average, African Americans are nearly four times more likely than Caucasians to develop kidney failure, while Hispanic Americans are nearly two times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites of a similar age. Despite the availability of effective treatments and management strategies, public awareness of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the United States is low.

To communicate key risk factors for the disease and the importance of being tested, the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP) partnered with Ogilvy PR to develop a series of educational materials and implement a campaign targeting high risk individuals. Working in collaboration with a range of government, nonprofit, and health care organizations, the team turned to the insight of experts in the health care and public health communities, as well as medical research, to guide the program and materials development.

To support NKDEP in their outreach efforts, Ogilvy PR developed and pre-tested the Family Reunion Health Guide and web site, a campaign that encourages families to make a health a “Family Reunion Affair”.  The team also developed and pre-tested a Spanish-language brochure designed to encourage at-risk Hispanic/Latino audiences to get tested.  New partnerships with healthcare providers such as Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield were developed to help promote these materials through provider and patient mailings. In addition, Ogilvy PR helped create and facilitate communication among, the Kidney Interagency Coordinating Committee (KICC), a group comprised of government professionals who are involved in CKD activities within their agency.

Positioning a health and well being as a family affair was a unique and well-received idea. The campaign received prominent placement in The Washington Post (August 28, 2007) regarding the trend of including health at family reunions. In 2006, the brochure won an Excellent Plain Language Award from NIH and the website was acknowledged with an Outstanding Plain Language Award in 2005.
Launched in 2006, 25,000 of the Spanish language brochures were distributed in one month as a result of active outreach and promotion efforts. The brochure won an Excellent Plain Language Award in 2006.