It is hard for us to imagine a stranger and more educative period than the one we have been going through. All recent developments have been overshadowed by a pandemic that has swept the globe, killed more than 2.5 million people, affected our societies, disrupted health services, and caused unforeseen economic devastation. A large number amongst us have lost loved ones, friends, and colleagues to the virus. I extend my sympathies to everyone who has been affected directly or indirectly by the pandemic.
If ever we had forgotten that we live in an interconnected world, COVID-19 has provided a rude awakening. As national borders of public health crises dissolve, the strength of our global collaborations to face these common adversaries has to increase. As Dr. Tedros, the WHO’s Director-General, has noted, “none of us will be safe until everyone is safe.”
The pandemic’s first impact on the ISN was to put on hold and then cancel the WCN’20 at Abu Dhabi. It became clear soon after that the global kidney health community needed to work together to provide guidance and support to kidney health provider as well as patient communities. The challenge was particularly acute for patients on dialysis, who are already often the first to suffer when global healthcare systems are strained, and the gaps in access to affordable and equitable care widen.
The ISN staff and membership rose to these challenges, providing regular updates and sharing new information, mainly through our online learning portal, the ISN Academy. It went into high gear to connect members worldwide, providing a timely platform to share education, science, and resources. We reimagined and adapted, quickly converting our education and capacity-building programs onto virtual platforms. As a gatekeeper for equitable access to sustainable kidney health, the ISN acted quickly through multiple joint statements with other major professional societies, interest groups, and multilateral organizations to advocate equitable care for patients with kidney disease, especially in resource-poor countries.
The ISN continues to push forward in its mission to highlight and address inequalities in regional and national kidney care strategies. The second Global Kidney Health Atlas report draws attention to the growing burden of kidney diseases and inequities in access to treatment across countries and regions. The Global Kidney Policy Forum continues to highlight the challenges in equitable access to kidney care around the world through the 12 resolutions. Finally, the ISN continues its advocacy work at the World Health Assembly and the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting.
The ISN’s flagship capacity-building programs are now complemented by the newly launched Emerging Leaders Program that will identify and help early-career professionals interested in shaping the direction of kidney health through entrepreneurship, advocacy, and communication-based on implementation research. The first cohort of 14 outstanding young individuals from around the world have already started work on approaches to impact the global kidney health agenda through collaborative projects.
Our official journals, Kidney International and KI Reports, keep going from strength to strength. Not only are they attracting basic and clinical science of the highest quality, but their continued focus on global nephrology is a strong driver of the ISN’s vision.
None of this would be possible without the support of our members and volunteer leaders, collective and affiliated societies, corporate supporters, and the resilience and flexibility of the ISN team.
The pandemic has snatched away several nephrology leaders around the world – too many to name here. We mourn their loss but recognize that the best tribute to them is to continue our work to advance ISN’s vision and mission.
Although the last two years brought many unexpected challenges, we can find solace in humanity’s resilience and our ability to find solutions in times of crisis. These solutions start with science and international collaboration and culminate with a commitment to equitable access to care and learning. It has been an honor to be president of an organization that acts as a gatekeeper of these principles.
ISN President 2019-2021
The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) is a global professional association dedicated to advancing kidney health worldwide since 1960 through education, grants, research, and advocacy.
ADVANCING KIDNEY HEALTH WORLDWIDE. TOGETHER.
WE DO THIS FOR ALL OUR
We’re constantly inspired by our community of tens of thousands of kidney health professionals. They’re the reason we’re able to advance kidney health worldwide for 60 years and counting.
ISN MEMBERS WORLDWIDE
THE ISN GLOBAL NETWORK
The ISN collaborates with Affiliated Societies, Collective-Member Societies, Partners and Corporate Members to maximize valuable exchange worldwide.
- Collective-Member Societies
- Affiliated Societies
- Capacity Building Sponsors
IN 2019-2020 ISN GRANT
PROGRAMS WERE ABLE
48 CME meetings where ISN representatives trained and interacted with local nephrology workforces in 29 countries worldwide
18 ISN Educational Ambassadors to deliver expert hands-on training in 14 different countries
2 ISN Clinical Research Projects in 2 countries
49 doctors (as ISN fellows) from 30 countries to acquire essential nephrology training and bring this expertise to their home region
14 early-career nephrologists from 12 countries through the ISN Emerging Leaders Program toward becoming future leaders in the advancement of global kidney care
85 kidney health institution partnerships (ISN Sister Renal Centers) enhancing renal care facilities in 37 countries. This includes 18 pairs focusing on developing transplantation services (jointly funded with TTS).
$3,43 million in low- and middle-income countries (2019-2020) for a future with equitable access to sustainable kidney health for all.
ACHIEVING OUR MISSION IN 2019 AND 2020 WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF:
127 experts in their fields traveling the world to meet and train local nephrologists
78 supporting centers which contribute to the growth and development of 85 emerging centers
34 institutions in 13 countries that train and support fellows
20 organizational partners, sponsors, and individual donors
421 ISN leaders and volunteers who participate year-round in the ISN’s 32 Comittees and 10 Regional Boards, ensuring ISN Grant Programs and activities achieve their mission
OUR IMPACT STORY
CELEBRATING SIXTY YEARS OF ADVANCING KIDNEY HEALTH WORLDWIDE. TOGETHER.
2020 was an exciting year spent celebrating the range and impact of the ISN’s many global activities in education and training, research, and advocacy, all enhancing its role as the leading professional organization in global nephrology.
To kick off the year, two new series focusing on influential research papers were launched: Kidney International’s “Milestones in Nephrology” series, a monthly highlighting of five influential papers on critical topics in nephrology over the last few decades, and “Breakthrough Discoveries”, a monthly series which presented 60 + 1 globally representative narratives outlining discoveries of significance to the nephrology community.
A special 60th Anniversary section of the ISN website highlighted the impact of ISN granting programs through in-depth articles and presented a synopsis of ISN’s six decades of history on the ISN Timeline.
Celebrating 60 years of service, the ISN welcomed the future with the launch of a fresh new logo, website, and membership platform (MYISN) in September, providing ISN members with a fast, easy to navigate, user-friendly online experience. This proved to be all the more relevant as virtual activities increased alongside the coronavirus pandemic.
The new logo symbolizes the ISN’s worldwide vision, diverse initiatives, and commitment to advancing global kidney care, which we look forward to continuing in 2021.
The ISN has long recognized the importance of research initiatives in advancing its mission for global kidney health. The last two years were no different. It drew attention to the growing burden of kidney diseases and the significant inequities in access to treatment across countries and regions through its second edition of the Global Kidney Health Atlas report released in April 2019.
The ISN spearheaded international research collaborations, starting with the 1st International Consensus Meeting on Defining Kidney Failure in Clinical Trials in January 2020 and resulting publication, followed by the launch of the ISN Observatory of CKDu in May 2020 as part of its Collaboration Plan with the World Health Organization (WHO) to facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge to raise awareness of the urgent issue of Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown etiology.
Since the novel coronavirus outbreak in early spring 2020, the ISN’s SharE-RR (SHARing Expertise to support the set-up of Renal Registries) group began working with its global network of registry experts to identify plans to establish COVID-19 surveillance systems and share experiences.
More important than ever during a pandemic, the ISN focused on providing open-access and online resources, such as the ISN-ACT Clinical Trials Toolkit and their monthly Global Trials Focus list, which summarizes recent interesting trials relevant to kidney disease from around the world.
Towards the end of 2020, the ISN Research Working Group launched a webinar series focusing on the current state of therapeutic options for Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetic Kidney Disease, with specific attention on accumulating evidence from recent SGLT2i trials.
Building on our recognition as a non-state actor (NSA) in official relations with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the ISN continued to bridge the gaps of available care through advocacy and collaboration with global partners in 2019 and 2020.
At a global level, this saw us co-host – with our partners in the Global Coalition for Circulatory Health (GCCH) – an event on multi-morbidities prevention and control; and deliver a statement on the importance of “strengthen[ing] efforts to address kidney diseases” at the 2019 United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.
Leveraging our NSA status at the WHO, we submitted – unilaterally and with GCCH partners – a total of 19 statements to the WHO’s Executive Board and World Health Assembly (WHA) meetings. Several, including those on oral health and its correlation with kidney disease; the social determinants of health; and the prevention and control of diabetes, were delivered by ISN representatives and contributed to the progression of WHO policy in these areas.
Similar efforts occurred at a regional level, with the second Global Kidney Policy Forum in Melbourne, in April 2020. Focusing on the challenges in securing equitable access to kidney care in Oceania and South East Asia, the Forum promoted the society’s 12 Recommendations to Global Kidney Health.
Underpinning these activities is World Kidney Day (WKD) – a global campaign raising awareness of the importance of our kidneys, – which reached over 2.5 billion people on social media in over 10 languages, supporting – 2,500 promotional events and leading to news coverage in almost 100 countries.
Through its flagship publications, Kidney International (KI), Kidney International Reports (KIR), and Kidney International Supplements (KIS), the ISN brought its members the latest news in research, highlights from current literature, comprehensive reviews, and in-depth case studies in 2019-2020.
COLLECTIVELY, THE JOURNALS RECEIVED
5,578 submissions in 2019-2020 from 75 countries. They reviewed 4,450 articles and accepted 1,202 submissions for publication.
IN TERMS OF READERSHIP, COLLECTIVELY,
full-text articles from ISN Journals were downloaded across
144 countries from 2019 to 2020.
MEETINGS AND NETWORKING
Throughout 2019 and 2020, the ISN created live and online networking opportunities to develop relationships within the global nephrology community. In 2019, the ISN hosted its World Congress of Nephrology (WCN) in Melbourne, Australia, welcoming 3,580 delegates from 107 countries around the world for scientific exchange and to advance kidney health worldwide.
The ISN also endorsed 45 high-quality stakeholder meetings, courses, and workshops to benefit its members and affiliated scientific communities.
Despite having to cancel its WCN’20 in Abu Dhabi, originally planned for March 2020, the ISN quickly made 25 recorded talks, 37 poster talks, 9 visual abstracts and 618 e-posters from the congress available on its ISN Academy for virtual learning during the pandemic.
The ISN is committed to building capacity in kidney health professionals, whether in person or virtually. Our online learning platform, the ISN Academy, went into high gear this past year with the outset of COVID-19, connecting ISN Members worldwide and providing a timely platform to share education, science, and resources.
The ISN Academy immediately and consistently provided ISN Members and the public with information, guidelines, and resources on COVID-19. Academy users rose from 598 users per month in 2019 to over 1,900 users per month in 2020.
Over the last two years, the ISN Academy has hosted 83 webinars, released 7 mini-modules, 23 videos abstracts, 49 quick-case based presentations, and 20 COVID-19 online educational materials. It currently houses 140 video presentations and 1,200 e-posters from the ISN’s 2019- 2020 World Congresses of Nephrology and hundreds of hours of educational material.
The ISN Academy launched the first ISN Global Kidney Care Podcast (GKCP) in May 2020, covering science, stories, and experiences impacting nephrologists and kidney healthcare professionals worldwide. The GKCP is open access and available via numerous podcast platforms.
CONNECTING – ISN ON COVID-19
In March 2020, the ISN launched its COVID-19 resource page in response to the epidemic to host information and recommendations for preventing and treating the virus, as well as the latest articles on the topic from Kidney International and Kidney International Reports.
ISN President Vivek Jha authored, “Novel Coronavirus 2019 Epidemic and Kidneys,” published in Kidney International on March 7, 2020.
The first editions of the ISN Global Kidney Care Podcast (GKCP), launched in May, were on the impact of the novel coronavirus on nephrologists working in epicenters of the virus outbreak in the UK and the US.
The ISN made an official joint statement alongside other nephrology societies calling for optimal care for patients with kidney diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ISN announced the online adaptation of its Continuing Medical Education (CME) and ISN Educational Ambassadors Programs in October and received an encouraging report from an ISN Fellow demonstrating the granting program’s success despite the restrictions.
Sister Renal Centers (SRC) and Sister Transplant Centers (ISN-TTS STC) partnerships continued to collaborate within the programs in 2020 through interactive webinars. Recordings of these sessions are available on the ISN Academy.
The ISN collaborated on several data collection projects throughout 2020 to track the impact of COVID-19 on patients with kidney diseases.
The ISN asked its members how they were coping with COVID-19 and presented first-hand accounts from the COVID-19 frontlines, including dispatches from Young Nephrologists Committee members on the challenges of managing the COVID-19 crisis and experiences of working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In October, the ISN-Covid team presented an infographic and visual abstract for the Cloth Masks Project, an initiative outlined in an @ISNeducation Renal Research Rounds interview.
In December, the ISN released a companion ISN Journals eDigest packed with complementary material to coincide with the December issue of Kidney International dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ISN is proud of all its members for contending with and adapting to extraordinary circumstances in 2020.
Executive Committee (2019-2021):
VIVEKANAND JHA – President, India
AGNES FOGO – President-Elect, USA
DAVID HARRIS – Past President, Australia
FERGUS CASKEY – Interim Secretary/Treasurer, UK
ELENA ZAKHAROVA – Representative of the Council, Russia
ADRIAN LIEW – Representative of the Council, Singapore
SARALADEVI NAICKER – Member at Large, South Africa
VALERIE LUYCKX – Member at Large, Switzerland
CHARU MALIK – International Society of Nephrology, Belgium
CHARLES SWANEPOEL – University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa
GLORIA ASHUNTANTANG – Hospital General Yaounde, Cameroon
RUMEYZA KAZANCIOGLU – Bezmialen Vakif University, Turkey
VLADIMIR TESAR – Charles University, Czech Republic
WALTER GUILLERMO DOUTHAT – Hospital Privado Cordoba, Argentina
MAGDALENA MADERO – National Heart Institute, Mexico
SHAHRZAD OSSAREH – University of Medical Science (IUMS), Hasheminejad Kidney Center (HKC), Iran
ALI ABU-ALFA – American University of Beirut, Lebanon
ELENA ZAKHAROVA – Moscow City Teaching Hospital, Russia
ABDUZHAPPAR GAIPOV – National Scientific Medical Research Center, Kazakhstan
MYLES WOLF – Duke University School of Medicine, USA
RULAN PAREKH – The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
FAN FAN HOU – Southern Medical University, Nanfang Hospital, Guangzhou, China
YUSUKE SUZUKI – Juntendo University Hospital, Japan
ADRIAN LIEW – Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
MUH GEOT WONG – Royal North Shore Hospital, Australia
MANISHA SAHAY – Osmania Medical College, Osmania Government General Hospital, India
DIBYA SINGH SHAH – TU Teaching Hospital, Nepal
ERIC RONDEAU – Tenon Hospital, France
ROSANNA COPPO – Regina Margerita Hospital, Italy
Our team comprises 39 intelligent, energetic, hard-working people committed to a future where all people have equitable access to sustainable kidney health.
This team of experts, spread across three continents and six time zones, draws from expertise gathered across a variety of industries and backgrounds in the effort to advance kidney health worldwide.
COVID-19 brought new and unique challenges to the work environment in 2020, but ISN staff quickly adapted to remote working with regular virtual team meetings, as well as virtual team-building activities, including a virtual book club and group fitness challenges.
As a global professional association, the ISN raises funds from its members, events, and a variety of external supporters and then invests a majority of its revenue back into grant programs, research, advocacy, and education activities aimed at advancing kidney health worldwide.
The ISN extends its deepest gratitude to its supporters who help advance kidney health worldwide. The commitment of these donors – organizations, societies, individual and family funds, corporations – helps enable the ISN to achieve its mission.
The ISN thanks its industry supporters for their commitment to advancing kidney health worldwide.
One World. One ISN.
As you reviewed the 2019-2020 ISN Biennial Report, I hope you got a glimpse into the vast challenges, successes, and global impact of the ISN and its members and experienced the pride and appreciation I feel every day in being part of this ongoing endeavor to advance kidney health worldwide.
The last two years have been about looking back and looking forward.
We celebrated 60 years of the ISN and reveled in its long history of building-capacity, bridging gaps, and connecting communities. This ISN community was tested last March 2020, with the outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns. Despite the challenges, and because of them, the ISN proved resilient, with leaders, members, and staff coming together and being versatile and innovative while traversing unchartered territory. The result is a global ISN community that, while more virtual, remains relevant, bolstered, and more accessible going forward. Perhaps the surest acknowledgment of this for me is the addition of almost 20 new Collective-Member Societies to the ISN community in the last two years.
Looking further to the future, the ISN embarked on a quest for a new brand identity and new ways to connect ISN members and the global nephrology community. The result is a new logo, a new website, and a new membership platform, along with a plethora of new virtual programs designed to reach the evolving needs of ISN members. The ISN has, and will continue, to learn, experiment, and innovate to ensure that we remain enduringly relevant to the global kidney community and continue to advance kidney health worldwide – together.
As I reflect on my first two years with the ISN, which coincide with the term of this report (2019-2020), my pride in ISN’s accomplishments is rooted in gratitude: gratitude for its leaders, members, partners, and staff.