Transforming Kidney Care and Research
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How a KIDNEYcon Workshop was Invented
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KIDNEYcon brings dedicated nephrologists together to discuss recent healthcare advances and practice new procedures. John Arthur pioneered the idea of the conference three years ago and continues to look for new ideas to improve the event each year. So if you liked it a lot last year, expect it to be even better this year! 

Regarding the Kidney Biopsy Academy (KBA) workshop, the idea took roots and grew when multiple pieces of the puzzle addressing kidney biopsy came together. During one of John and I’s many conversations regarding the state of education in this area, I happened to mention a particular problem we kept seeing in practice. We were receiving multiple inadequate kidney biopsies and the rate of inadequacy varied from hospital to hospital. This made John think the issue had to do with training and the number of biopsies done by the people performing the procedure. The lack of available training in this area inspired us to teach the proper procedure, to as many physicians as possible.

The KBA is a classic example of John's vision for the conference, which is bringing ideas to fruition through multidisciplinary collaboration. I had seen lightly embalmed cadavers at UAMS during a teaching session in anatomy. Serendipity had it that I was also working with Stephen Bonsib and Pat Walker on designing a teaching model for the anatomy of accessing the kidney from the posterior side, which makes accessing the kidney easier for physicians doing biopsies. A team of physicians from multiple institutions worked together to plan and refine the KBA workshop curriculum: Kevin Phelan (UAMS) helped dissect the cadavers and managed the anatomy facility; Stephen (Arkana Labs) hand-drew the image of the body as we needed, as no such drawings were available for reference at that time; Manisha Singh (UAMS) developed the handouts; Nithin Karakala (UAMS) arranged the ultrasound machines; Diane Bricco (UAMS) incorporated interventional radiology; Vandana Niyyar (Emory) and Juan Carlos Velez (Ochsner Clinic) conducted the workshop and created evaluation tools; and Kelly Bulloch (UAMS) helped us coordinate everything.

The Kidney Biopsy workshop and KIDNEYcon give me an opportunity to interact with fellows, residents and anyone interested in learning more about the kidney. In 2018, KIDNEYcon will offer several new workshops, including one dedicated to Kidney Pathology. We look forward to seeing you April 6-7 in Little Rock. We promise your time here will be both educational and fun!

Shree Sharma, MD, FASN
KIDNEYcon Co-Director
Nephropathologist, Arkana Laboratories

John Arthur
#KIDNEYcon A Planner's Point of View

KIDNEYcon is so much more than a CE meeting, it is an experience.  The passionate group of doctors involved truly strive to make the conference outperform itself each year.  When Dr. Arthur asked me to help him plan the inaugural KIDNEYcon, I initially thought it would be a cinch.  I even worried that putting on an annual meeting would get monotonous, and lack opportunities for growth.  Looking back, I clearly (and thankfully) didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  I accepted the position and immediately wandered into a world of firsts for me:  my first time to partner with the anatomy lab and secure human cadavers, including jumping through legal hoops as the first person to seek permission for non-UAMS students/staff to work with them; first time to work with standardized patients trained in our simulation center; first time helping design a website and creating marketing materials; and my first time to be responsible for securing annual financing for a large conference.  Each year as the meeting grows, I have come to expect crazy outlandish requests from the planning committee, and can frequently be heard trying to talk Dr. Arthur out of many of them for the sake of staying within our budget.  Fortunately, he doesn’t often listen to me.  Dr. Karakala and I joke about the best method to break news to me regarding their latest great (and often expensive and logistically tough to plan) ideas.  I try not to complain too much because I like a challenge, and these difficult to implement ideas are the real reason everyone loves KIDNEYcon.  We test the limits and do things that no one else does.  Among other things, we bring in real patients, offer numerous specialized workshops, and fly in dozens of expert presenters from around the world.  We work really hard to make the meeting a hands-on experience where attendees can learn in realistic practice conditions.  It makes the meeting fun and unique.  It fosters excitement and enthusiasm among attendees young and old, and it generates an atmosphere of collaboration and camaraderie.  Even though it takes an enormous amount of planning, we think this experience stays with attendees and their new knowledge is what we are all about.

Kelly Bulloch, JD,  KIDNEYcon Program Manager


What is #KIDNEYcon ? and why you should check it out

John Arthur reached out and asked me to get involved with KIDNEYcon last year. I recall seeing a few tweets about the conference in 2016. In fact, I sent a few out myself.

It looked like a great program. Tons of great workshops and lectures. The bonus is that Little Rock, Arkansas is my hometown. I was born there, my family is still there, and I walked the halls of UAMS for 8 solid years as a med student and resident. How could I resist. I jumped on the opportunity and did what I could to give the meeting a boost, not that it needed much help from me. I'm a conference junky. I haven't missed a Kidney Week since 2008 and try to make it to NKF, AHA and whoever else will invite me. First thing you have to realize about John Arthur is that he is open to anything and ultra collaborative. He had a vision for KIDNEYcon but was open to experimenting. The idea is to create an environment that is bursting at the seams with collaboration and innovation. To allow passionate people a chance to interact, build knowledge, and relationships. The foundation for KIDNEYcon are hands-on workshops. We wanted to make sure that these are interactive and allowed for the participants to build important skills. 2018 will see this expand to cover not only procedures but also kidney pathology, acid/base/electrolytes, and even communication skills. The second part of KIDNEYcon is the ability to network, make new friends, and deepen relationships. There are plenty of opportunities to relax and get to know your colleagues from around the world. KIDNEYcon 2017 was a great experience and I would love to give others the opportunity to come to Little Rock for KIDNEYcon 2018. I have always been interested in education. I spend a majority of my time at Kidney Week walking through the education posters or attending the education oral sessions. The education sections are relatively new at Kidney Week and my sense is that interest continues to grow. I am very excited to host the Nephrology Education Summit this year with my good friend and long time education collaborator Kenar Jhaveri next year. This will be a mix of nephrology and non nephrology speakers with the intent to inspire others to begin innovative education projects. Take a few days out of your schedule and come to Little Rock April 6-7 and check it all out. We would love to have you attend.

Matt Sparks
KIDNEYcon Education Director

#KIDNEYcon view from an Internal Medicine Resident

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of KIDNEYcon! I had a blast! KIDNEYcon allowed me to add US guided Kidney Biopsy to my repertoire. That is unique opportunity to be able to have a skill set that is physically applicable. I am so grateful to have had the chance to have dedicated hands on teaching time to learn and perfect a procedure I would have otherwise not learn in residency. My outlook of Nephrology is broadened having learned the different aspects of the field as it relates to everything from interventional radiology to critical care through this conference.

It was an amazing weekend. I have learned more than I had hoped for.

Trinh Nguyen, DO
UTMB Internal Medicine Resident
Galveston, TX
2016 KIDNEYcon attendee