Cincinnati VA Medical Center
Nephrology Director named Editor of Kidney Journal
Chief of Nephrology at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center (VAMC), Dr. Charuhas Thakar has been named the new editor-in-chief of the journal, Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease (ACKD) and will take on this additional role in January of 2020.
ACKD, is the leading journal about Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) healthcare research in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 15% or 37 million adults in the United States that have (CKD). Veterans are estimated to experience CKD at a rate that is 34% higher than other adults in the United States. Minority Veterans are particularly prone to CKD due to contributing increased rates of health factors, particularly those regarding diabetes and high blood pressure according to collaborative research initiatives with VA, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the CDC.
“Dr. Thakar makes daily key contributions to the care of Veterans in both the clinical and research domain and his new role as editor of ACKD will allow him to expand his critical impact to a much broader audience,” shared Dr. Kathleen M. Chard, PhD, Chief of Staff for Research at the Cincinnati VAMC.
Veterans seen at the Cincinnati VAMC receive comprehensive kidney disease care including those critically ill along with ambulatory dialysis care.
A dedicated team of experts in kidney transplantation is available on site to meet the needs of Veterans. When a Veteran first learns that they need to have a surgery to replace a vital organ, well it can be a traumatic idea to absorb. Experts dedicated to the well-being of Veterans provide an active patient centered program of pre-transplant and post-transplant care
At the beginning of this past Summer the ambulatory dialysis program opened a newly renovated unit, providing state-of-the-art dialysis care ambulatory dialysis program. Veterans receiving care through the dialysis program are provided care through a team of interdisciplinary experts including nutrition, social work, nursing working with our clinical providers and fellows. Veterans dialysis care is also located conveniently on the first floor, at the front of the facility and directly adjacent to parking exclusively for those that are handicap. (Picture at right, the windows on the first floor of the Cincinnati VA Medical Center allow natural light to beam into the dialysis care area. The entrance is directly next to the area of care and has automatically opening and closing doors.)
Veterans on dialysis will usually have 3 appointments a week on either Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Each appointment can range for 3 to even 6 hours depending on the needs of each individual Veteran. The room is directly in the front of the building and the wall of windows provides natural lighting into the room. (photo at left, a typical dialysis treatment station) Veterans have a tv available that they can use to keep occupied during the time they receive their treatment. When speaking to Megan an employee in the dialysis center, she shared, “needing dialysis is a major lifestyle change for those that need it. Veterans can spend anywhere from 9 to 18 hours every week to receiving their dialysis treatments and they will need to do this for the rest of their lives. There are always employees that are available for Veterans with emergency dialysis needs, even on federal holidays. Megan shared that just the evening prior there were two Veterans provided emergency dialysis care. If a Veteran were in an emergency need of dialysis they would visit and check into the emergency room at the facility.
In addition to dialysis offered in-center there is also a home-dialysis therapies program. The dialysis program facilitates management of dialysis for over 120 Veterans at community-based dialysis units. Dr. Thakar has served as the medical director of the dialysis program since 2005.
Dr. Thakar takes an instrumental role as a Kidney specialist personally meeting and caring for both inpatient and outpatient Veterans seen at the Cincinnati VA. He is an active researcher and takes part in weekly research sessions, meetings and discussions at the medical center and in partnership with the University of Cincinnati (UC )Health. Dr. Thakar also facilitates and overseeing the work of all the medical center’s kidney specialist providers in addition to teaching and providing mentorship to fellowship students who will be future leaders in the field of Nephrology.
Due to the higher rate of CKD we know exists in our Veteran populations, it is particularly importance for Veterans to learn how to care for their kidneys. Two of the factors that contribute to kidney disease are diabetes and high blood sugar. Most adults may not realize they might already be experiencing symptoms of Kidney disease. In 2013, the VA and the University of Michigan partnered to create the VA eKidney Clinic, which is an online education resource. Individuals can use this resource to learn how to keep their kidneys working, stay healthy and experience the best quality of life possible.
If you have concerns and have diabetes or high blood pressure and are unsure if you might be a risk of Kidney disease talk to your primary care provider.
The Cincinnati VA also encourages you to get involved in your healthcare and learn about the many Whole Health programs that are available to assist meeting your personal healthcare goals.
Thank you to Dr. Kathleen M. Chard, PhD, Chief of Staff for Research Program Manager; Megan Meyer, RN in the Dialysis program and Dr. Charuhas Thakar, Nephrology Director at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center for sharing the information to create this story.
Lisa Hollenbeck is a Public Affairs Specialist at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and is a Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. She was stationed at Kaneohe Bay, HI and served as a Trumpet player in the Marine Forces Pacific Band.
If you have a story idea that you’d like to share please contact Public Affairs Specialist and Minority Veteran Program Coordinator, Lisa Hollenbeck at (513) 861-3100 ext. 6049 and/or by email at email@example.com