Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX), a global medtech leader, announces the national expansion of its partnership with international not-for-profit organization The Links, Incorporated (The Links) to continue bringing awareness and resources for the disproportionate challenges affecting Black Americans related to kidney health. Baxter is committing an incremental $800,000 in funding to The Links, specifically targeted toward expanding the program’s footprint to additional areas with a high prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD). This investment brings Baxter’s cumulative contributions to The Links to $1.4 million in two years.
An international not-for-profit comprised of more than 17,000 Black women and women of African descent, The Links joined forces with Baxter in 2021 to create intervention-based programs focused on the prevention, detection, and management of CKD. During the inaugural program year in The Links Central region, 36 local chapters engaged with more than 260 area healthcare professionals and over 500 community partners including faith-based organizations, civic leaders and other influential community advocates. Through these efforts and The Links programs, more than 51,000 community members received kidney health awareness and education resources.
“Our momentum with The Links has been powerful. By focusing on one health condition and partnering with trusted community members to help educate and inform, we’ve been able to provide important awareness and resources for kidney health,” said Guillermo Amezcua, general manager of Baxter’s U.S. renal business. “We are taking our learnings from the first year combined with strategic funding to broaden the impact of this partnership in existing locations while also expanding our reach to new communities.”
Black adults in the United States are three times more likely to develop kidney failure than their white counterparts1, and COVID-19 has compounded the issue by introducing exceptional challenges to care for kidney patients. Despite these alarming statistics, many Americans are unaware they have kidney disease.
Community events such as a free kidney screening hosted by The Links Chicago-based Windy City, Ill., chapter yielded abnormal results for 36 percent of screening participants. Those participants were able to meet with a physician onsite and receive practical tips and educational materials around kidney health.
A component of Baxter’s ACT: Activating Change Today initiative, the partnership with The Links includes the Black Kidney Awareness, Resources and Education (K.A.R.E.) toolkit, a resource developed by The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois that focuses on the unique barriers facing the Black community. The toolkit content incorporates patient, clinician, clinical, and systemic factors contributing to the disproportionate disparities Black Americans face in healthcare and provides actionable tips and guidance for improving kidney heath and effectively managing kidney disease.
"The Links, Incorporated has been able to provide impactful service all over the world because of the passion and dedication of our members. They reached out to colleagues, neighbors, families and friends about this critically important issue that affects overall health and wellness,” said Ethel Isaacs Williams, national president of The Links, Incorporated. “With the Black K.A.R.E. program, we are able to bring awareness of kidney health to the forefront and encourage meaningful dialogue in a way that helps combat a major chronic health disparity that persists in Black communities.”
“You cannot begin to fully address kidney disease until you address health equity,” said Chris Jackson, chief people officer at the National Kidney Foundation. “That’s why we’ve been honored to work with Baxter and The Links on the Black K.A.R.E. program. Black K.A.R.E has been very well received by the public and we look forward to enhancing this work in the coming year.”
About ACT: Activating Change Today
Baxter launched ACT: Activating Change Today, a multidimensional and multiyear initiative to advance inclusion and racial justice within the workplace and within the communities and markets the company serves, in 2020. Working in close collaboration with the Baxter’s Black Professional Alliance business resource group, Baxter’s commitment through ACT is about taking action and driving results to achieve meaningful, sustainable change within and beyond Baxter.
Every day, millions of patients, caregivers and healthcare providers rely on Baxter's leading portfolio of diagnostic, critical care, kidney care, nutrition, hospital and surgical products used across patient homes, hospitals, physician offices and other sites of care. For 90 years, we've been operating at the critical intersection where innovations that save and sustain lives meet the healthcare providers who make it happen. With products, digital health solutions and therapies available in more than 100 countries, Baxter's employees worldwide are now building upon the company's rich heritage of medical breakthroughs to advance the next generation of transformative healthcare innovations. To learn more, visit www.baxter.com and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Baxter is a registered trademark of Baxter International Inc.
About The Links, Incorporated
The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946. The membership consists of more than 17,000 professional women of African descent in 299 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and the United Kingdom. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. Members of The Links, Incorporated contribute more than 1 million documented hours of community service annually — strengthening their communities and enhancing the nation. For more information, visit www.linksinc.org.
About The National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.