Milken Institute's Sarah Wells Kocsis on How Climate Change, Aging Impact CKD Care

Sarah Wells Kocsis, MBA, is co-author of the Milken Institute report, “Chronic Kidney Disease: Finding a Path to Prevention, Earlier Detection, and Management.” She spoke to The American Journal of Managed Care® about the findings of the report and how they can be incorporated into care for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Sarah Wells Kocsis, MBA, director of the Center for Public Health at the Milken Institute, talks about the implications of climate change and aging patients on chronic kidney disease (CKD) care in her recently authored report, “Chronic Kidney Disease: Finding a Path to Prevention, Earlier Detection, and Management.”


What are the biggest implications of climate change and the aging population on CKD care?

Another very thoughtful question. Climate change and our increasing aging population are really what's going to define the future of health. And both of them are obviously having [an] impact [on] and implications for everyone in society and on the planet, but there are some certain groups and their health that are impacted more than others. Increasingly susceptible to CKD are outdoor laborers, such as agricultural workers. And then among our seniors, there's a cohort of seniors that are living in isolation, they're living in poverty, and they're struggling with food insecurity. These subset populations are particularly at risk when we're talking about the impact of climate change and aging.

When we were doing this report, we worked with thought leaders who are experts in the space and one of them made a comment that really resonated with our team. That was that CKD is really a mirror of many of the things that are so wrong with our health care system. So I think that when you step back and reflect on that, it really sums up what a growing public health threat we're facing, both at the societal level with those big changes you mentioned, but also the fact that there's just so many health equity gaps that are making CKD also a humanitarian crisis as well.

And so, the report that we wrote, really brings heightened awareness around CKD and it's really trying to call to action all members across the community to come together to respond.