Toolkit on creating a young nephrologists committee

Toolkit on Creating a Young Nephrologists Committee

The Young Nephrologists Committee of the ISN has developed this toolkit on how to create a young nephrologists committee or group in your national or regional society, because we believe that empowering the young kidney health professionals can bring great benefits for both the professionals in their early careers and also to the societies who invest in them. This toolkit is based on the experience of ISN and other organizations which have already established their young professionals’ committees, working groups or similar groups.

There are national, regional, and international organizations and associations. In this toolkit, we refer to both as “societies.”

Societies offer multiple benefits, including education, research, advocacy, and career advancement. However, many still lack a young nephrologists committee (YNC) (In this toolkit, the acronym “YNC” refers to a working group or any other denomination that suits a society’s glossary). A YNC can serve as the dynamic pulse of a scientific society and drive its mission forward exponentially.

The keys to successfully approaching your local, regional, or national society to propose the creation of a YNC are:

  • Knowing who to contact in the organization
  • Mastering how to approach the organization
  • Providing clear initiatives to contribute meaningfully
  • Being patient and perseverant

If you know someone in a leadership position in your national or regional organization, they should be your first port of call to access the executive committee or council. Otherwise, as a rule, try to contact the president or the society’s general secretary. Alternatively, members of the executive committee or council can be contacted.

Email is considered the most effective and professional means of communication to introduce yourself briefly and rapidly. Society email addresses and senior members are usually listed on their websites or online directories.

Another good way to approach the leaders of your regional or national society is during regional or international conferences . Events such as the annual World Congress of Nephrology are excellent places for contacting the relevant people.

Clearly defining what you can offer a society and what you need from a society is very important. (Table 1). In a personal meeting, preparing a short pitch (one to three minutes) to capture the decision maker’s attention would be wise.

What we can offer What we are requesting
  • Integrate young nephrologist and trainee
  • perspectives into the society’s work
  • Help organize academic activities
  • Encourage trainee/YN membership
  • Develop online educational materials
Creation of a formal group of young nephrologists (a YNC) within the existing society, which should be able to:

  • Utilize the dissemination channels to promote the group’s initiatives
  • Receive administrative support
  • Enable trainee/YN representation on committees and working groups.
  • Provide opportunities for face-to-face meetings, training courses, and contacts with industry
  • Mentorship/guidance opportunities

Young nephrologists must be persistent and patient. It is important to realize that senior nephrologists lead busy lives with very tight schedules. If you do not receive a reply immediately, wait a few days. After a week or so, a polite reminder is acceptable. This shows that you are passionate and dedicated but not demanding. Under no circumstances should a negative or no response from the regional/local society be taken personally or as a source of frustration.

If you are unsuccessful, consider an alternative strategy: Join the ISN Young Nephrology Network to grow your network and get personally involved in international activities.

The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) is an excellent community to build connections. Its regional boards comprise nephrologists who have positively impacted their home regions. These members can help you approach the relevant national association.

Both are important and relevant. They are not in competition with each other; on the contrary, they are synergistic. The ideal case would be to have YNCs in both national and regional level and coordinate the work of both of them to cover different needs.

Once you have convinced your national society of the benefits of having a YNC, you must follow their specific procedures for its creation. Please refer to your society’s by-laws and follow the instructions to be officially recognized.

As part of creating a committee, you must prepare a charter or define terms of reference for your committee (please refer to the specific governance rules for your society).

There are several points that you need to check and consider when creating your charter. These include:

  • Defining your objectives, mission, vision and roles within the national/regional society
  • Defining the committee’s structure and number of members
  • Defining who can be a member
  • Defining terms and their duration

Your YNC should represent the younger members of the nephrologist community in your country or region. Membership should reflect the local diversity in culture, gender, and workforce and be as inclusive as possible.

  1. As a reference, the ISN considers members under 45 to be young members. However, the age threshold depends on different factors: In countries where training is longer or starts later, the age limit for membership could be higher or open to nephrologists in training regardless of age.
  2. Your YNC members must be members of the host nephrology society or affiliated with it.
  3. Your committee must comprise no fewer than five members, including the chair, and ideally include representatives from all sections of your country/region.
  4. The committee should ideally include members with different subspecialties, such as pediatric nephrology and pathology (or trainees). When feasible, allied healthcare professionals (nurses, dietitians, and dialysis technicians) enrich the membership and provide a more holistic perspective.

You can use existing charters as an example when creating your own, for instance, these generic Terms of Reference for committees based on ISN’s YNC.

Once the YNC is established, opportunities for further development and building capacity should be considered. The newly established committee structure should have a plan for how to grow and increase its reach.

Visibility is essential for a newly established YNC. A dedicated web page (on the national or regional society website), social media group, or platform is a place to publish news about events, advertise upcoming projects, and is a portal for young nephrologists to contact you or apply for committee membership.

To retain visibility, you should remain constantly active – organize and maintain events, sessions, and webinars dedicated to your target audience–young nephrologists.

The topics you choose should align with the purposes outlined in the charter. The following are the four most common categories of activities: education, research, mentorship, and advocacy. It is crucial to tailor the activities to the needs and challenges of early-career nephrologists within your region and in line with the general strategy of the society you are part of.

Educational: (align education to the needs of young nephrologists and trainees)

  • Training modules and subspecialty curriculum
  • Courses to prepare for specialty exams
  • Tips to start a practice
  • Advice on business practices


  • Basic principles of research methodology for clinicians
  • How to interpret basic statistics
  • How to read research papers
  • How to apply for grants

Capacity-building courses and workshops

  • Advertise opportunities for young nephrologists: courses, leadership positions, etc.


  • Consider courses/workshops to build capacity in advocacy.

To increase engagement and build a vibrant community, organize interactive events focusing on career choices and challenges, socializing, competitions, and networking.

Ideas to get started:

  • A trainee/young nephrologist welcome reception (social event) at the leading nephrology conference(s) each year
  • Dedicated trainee sessions at the annual nephrology conference(s)
  • Scientific competitions (such as the best research abstract for young nephrologists), topics presented by YNs
  • Quizzes, table talks, open forums
  • Webinars and online courses
  • Weekend/educational events where YNs can discuss clinical nephrology, career opportunities and self-growth (online, on-site, hybrid)
  • A starter club/taster day for people considering nephrology in the future

Nephrology is strongly connected to almost every other field of medicine – cardiology, rheumatology, oncology, endocrinology, intensive care medicine, etc. Some of your activities can interest those working in different specialties. Consider other groups who align with your goals and who could benefit from your events. For example:

  • Other healthcare professionals such as nurses, dietitians, physician associates, etc. who might join your group in the future.
  • Young representatives of other national medical associations who may be interested in organizing joint events, research, and other activities.

Since a YNC operates as a part of a professional association, it would be reasonable to discuss how they can support your society. The society should be able to provide indirect funding to activities through administration, event planning, communication platforms, and technical support and by including some of your activities in their yearly budget.

Both national and international nephrology associations and foundations can sometimes provide grants for YN projects and initiatives. If this type of grant or funding is not already present, you might want to advocate for creating research or travel grants and awards dedicated to young nephrologists.

Both national and international nephrology associations and foundations can sometimes provide grants for YN projects and initiatives. If this type of grant or funding is not already present, you might want to advocate for creating research or travel grants and awards dedicated to young nephrologists.

What are other sources of funding?

In some cases, your society may not have the capacity to cover the costs of your activities, or you may need additional funding. In that case, you can consider raising funds on your own through the following:

  • Industry sponsorship: They may sponsor educational events or lectures for your healthcare professional audience. However, it is imperative to coordinate the fundraising activities with your local/regional association leaders.
  • Fundraising events can be organized to acquire additional finances for the YNC. However, it would be wise to establish a realistic goal and be able to provide clear and comprehensive reports of the money spent.

The purpose can be multifold:

  • Connecting members for career guidance, mentorship, and networking.
  • Promoting powerful resources for trainees or young nephrologists working in areas without support.
  • Advertising upcoming events/seminars/meetings
  • Promoting the work of the YN society to the general public
  • Advertising recruitment and career opportunities

The means of communication depend on the purpose of the communication.
Platforms for connection, networking, and communication:

  • WhatsApp or Telegram group (or any other messaging application used in your country/region). This platform is helpful for trainees and young nephrologists working in isolated areas to ask questions and share expertise. The purpose of the WhatsApp group is to relay information, including upcoming events and seminars.
    • The committee should launch the group and include all young nephrologists in the region.
    • An invitation to the group should be sent to members when they join the committee.
    • Be sure to preset the regulations and goals of the group.
  • X, formerly known as Twitter – or a similar social media application.
  • Email – use to advertise upcoming events and, seminars and job opportunities.
  • Periodic newsletters – to be sent to subscribers.
  • Involve as many trainees as you can:
    • o Ask local leaders in nephrology to spread the word about your committee to younger fellows in their circle (your national nephrology association can help with this)
    • o Find YN/trainee representatives from different geographical regions for a broader reach.
  • · Create a framework for disseminating quarterly newsletters.
  • Once a committee is formed, consider appointing a member to oversee communications.
  • Responsibilities include:
    • Promoting group cohesion
    • Broadcasting and advertising all events/seminars/meetings on relevant channels
    • Updating social media platforms
    • Creating and circulating the newsletter to subscribers
  • For more prominent committees with available funding:
  • Ask your national body/society’s administrative team to assist with this role.

Enthusiasm and engagement are the cornerstones of every newly established YN committee. However, attracting new members and keeping existing ones interested is hard without clear benefits and rewards.

Some options require negotiation with the national association (see “Approaching your local nephrology association“):

  • Advocate and obtain cheaper annual fees for local society membership and conferences.
  • Advocate and obtain free annual fees for training nephrologists.
  • Advocate for a complimentary subscription to the society nephrology journal.
  • Create recognized awards for exceptional work from young nephrologists.
  • Educational opportunities suited to the YN needs.
    • Advocate and obtain travel grants to courses and conferences
    • CME points for participation in educational events
    • Certificates (printed or electronic) to event attendees
    • Skills development programs
  • Provide networking and research opportunities, such as:
  • Multicenter research participation and priority publication in the organization’s journal(s).
  • Mentorship programs and career advancement opportunities
  • Forums to discuss challenging issues and clinical cases.
  • Opportunities to join panel discussions on career development tips for young nephrologists.

  • Time constraints may be challenging for young nephrologists, especially if they are still in training:
    • Offer flexible meeting schedules, including rotational meeting times and virtual options.
    • Offer initial short-term, time-limited commitments for members to get involved in committee work without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Uncertainty of expected role or ability to complete tasks:
    • Define clear roles, expectations, and measurable outcomes/KPIs to ensure effective and efficient participation.
  • Feeling under experienced:
    • Assign experienced members to mentor young nephrologists committee members.
    • Offer orientation sessions that can be conducted online.
  • Feeling overwhelmed with workload:
    • Delegate tasks within committees to foster a sense of responsibility and allow the entire team to contribute.
  • Cost of membership
    • If there are no discounted fees for the young members or trainees, the YNC can advocate for the creation of these discounted membership plans.

Involving young nephrologists in existing committees within the parent society requires a strategic approach to ensure their commitment and meaningful contribution.

First steps should be to contact committee leaders in your parent society to ensure applications from young members are encouraged and considered in the selection process. Having reports of the involvement of young members in other committees and their contributions can support your claim.

Discuss roles that young nephrologist committee members can occupy:

Advocate for statutory inclusion of YNs in the structures of the parent society, including committees, working groups, projects, event committees, and even the executive board.

For example:

  • The YNC chair can automatically be included in the national society board
  • A YN member can join the organising committee of the annual congress, or be included on the committee in charge of the scientific program.
  • A YN member can be required in the most relevant committees.

Which working groups or committees are most suited to younger nephrologists?

  • Education committees – providing the perspective of what young nephrologists want to learn.
  • Communication/social media committee – to improve networking opportunities for younger members.
  • Grants committees
  • Advocacy committees
If you are interested in using the toolkit to create an YN committee in your national/regional society, we at the ISN YNC would like to hear from you. Please contact us by sending an email to

Prepared by members of the ISN Young Nephrologists Committee (YNC):

Iman Alshamsi, Nikolay Bulanov, Alexandra Cambier, Miguel Gallardo, Jonathan Samuel, Chávez Iñiguez, Bianca Davison, Sabine Karam, Ahad Qayum, Anim Shah, Marina Wainstein

With support and feedback from:

The Young Nephrologist Committee of the African Association of Nephrology (youngAFRAN), Plataforma Jóvenes Nefrólogos Españoles (JovSEN), Club des Jeunes Néphrologues (CJN), UK Kidney Association Renal SpR Club, The Young Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology (yANZSN), and the Community of Young Nephrologists of the NIS and Russia