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Reflections on a Year as Young Nephrologists Committee Chair

By Marina Wainstein

While for some this has been a year of rebirth after the darkness of COVID isolation and loss, many continue to see the devastation of this virus upfront, and for some, the year has been defined by survival: survival of communities, families, workplaces and of the commitment to protect patients and never abandon them.

Young nephrologists have been seen setting up makeshift dialysis units and carrying heavy reverse osmosis tanks on their backs. They have been standing behind tables piled with donated food and clothing at refugee camps and volunteering to take on whatever new skills are required to serve their communities.

They have been logging on to ISN Webinars in the middle of the night with unstable internet connections, submitting lengthy applications for funding and training programs for opportunities to challenge the status quo, forming local young nephrology societies, and so much more. It is from these dedicated professionals that we have drawn inspiration to set the agenda for the year ahead. It is an honor to continue advocating for them.

The Young Nephrologists Network has now been live for over three months. It has attracted the enthusiasm of over 100 young ISN members eager to explore ISN opportunities and engage with the international kidney care community.

The need for more capacity building in research, particularly in clinical trials, has been clearly expressed through the network a few months ago. In addition, the network has prompted a partnership with the Scientific Writing Course Committee, who welcomed our involvement in the selection of successful applicants and the course itself.

We have reached out to other young nephrology societies such as the UK SpR  club, the Young Australia and New Zealand Society of Nephrology and the Asia-Pacific Nephrology Society Young Nephrologist Committee (APSN-YNC). Together, we will explore avenues for collaboration, including the development of a how-to kit for local young nephrology societies, coming soon to the ISN Young section of the ISN website.

The Young Nephrologists Committee (YNC) has taken on an ambitious project to create a series of patient leaflets on basic nephrology topics which crystallize patient voices and needs and can easily be produced globally. To this end, our task force includes not only YNC members but various consumer groups and advocates.

Our YNC members are now represented on every ISN Committee within the ISN, elevating the voice of younger peers and working to create more tailored opportunities for them. In this spirit, the Global Kidney Health Atlas has welcomed two additional YNC members from low- and middle-income countries, introducing a more balanced global and socioeconomic representation to the team.

As WCN’23 approaches, the YNC has partnered with the APSN-YNC to prepare an exciting line-up of sessions and activities. Stay tuned for more details in a future Insight piece.

Finally, and thanks to the efforts of the ISN Advocacy Working Group, the ISN was invited to nominate a young member to the WHO Youth Council earlier this year. I have taken on this enormous responsibility and privilege and will be traveling to Geneva in the new year for the first council meeting and introduction to the WHO executive board.

I hope to continue our shared efforts to elevate the profile of kidney disease on the world health stage and join a growing movement of young people determined to fight for more equitable access to quality health care worldwide

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