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Health Equity


Health Equity Key Terms 

Health Equity: CMS defines health equity as the attainment of the highest level of health for all people, where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their optimal health regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, preferred language, or other factors that affect access to care and health outcomes. To learn more on CMS’s Health Equity Pillar visit 

Social Determinants of Health: Defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work, and age, and the systems put in place to deal with illness. These circumstances are in turn shaped by a wider set of forces: economics, social policies, and politics.

Health-related Social Needs: In the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model, CMS uses the term to describe unmet health-related social needs such as food insecurity, inadequate or unstable housing, that may increase the risk of developing chronic conditions, reduce an individual’s ability to manage these conditions, increase health care costs, and lead to avoidable health care utilization.

ESRD NCC Health Equity Advisory Board

The ESRD NCC is honored to present the members of the Health Equity Advisory Board. The purpose of the Advisory Board is to gain insights and guidance and to explore new opportunities to improve access to care for all ESRD patients. The role of advisory board members is to provide knowledge, lived experience, critical thinking, and analysis of strategies and tactics that improve health literacy throughout the kidney community.

Deidra C. Crews, MD, ScM, FASN, MACP

Crews_Deidra-cropped.jpgDr. Crews is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She holds appointments with the School of Nursing, the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, the Center on Aging and Health, and the Center for Health Equity, where she is Deputy Director.  Her research focuses on addressing disparities in the care and outcomes of kidney disease and hypertension through epidemiologic studies and clinical trials. Dr. Crews received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and her medical degree from Saint Louis University. A graduate of the Osler Medical Training Program, she completed a nephrology fellowship and a master’s in clinical epidemiology degree at Johns Hopkins.

Otilia E. Fonseca, MA

Fonseca_Otilita-cropped.jpgOtilia is a patient subject matter expert for ESRD Network 7 Patient Advisory Council. She has supported the patient perspective with ESRD Network 7 by developing flyers, conducting lobby days, and giving one-to-one presentations to potential Peritoneal Dialysis patients. She also joined ESRD NCC National Patient and Family Engagement Learning and Action Network. She also attended the 2020 Annual CMS Conference in Baltimore where she was a group presenter.

Otilia came to the United States in 1961 from Cuba as part of Operation Peter Pan. She attended high school in Elizabeth, NJ. She attended Columbia University School of General Studies with a full scholarship for her undergraduate degree. She went on to graduate school, attending Montclair State University with a teaching assistantship, and obtained a master’s degree in educational psychology and a certificate in school psychology.

Her two greatest challenges are battling bipolar disorder and kidney failure. She believes both battles can be conquered with tenacity, hope, family and friends, a good health care team, and above all, faith.

Earl Fowlkes, Jr.

Earl serves as the President/CEO of the Center for Black Equity, Inc. (formerly the International Federation of Black Pride -IFBP). He founded the IFBP in 1999 ago as a coalition of organizers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and South Africa formed to promote a multinational network of Black LGBTQ Pride and community-based organizations. Earl has nearly thirty years of senior management experience including stints as the Executive Director of the DC Comprehensive AIDS Resources and Education Consortium (DC CARE Consortium) and Damien Ministries, organizations that provided services to Person Living With HIV/AIDS in Washington, DC.

Earl has served as a member of the National African American Tobacco Education Network; as Lead Manager for the former CDC HIV Prevention Project, as the Principal Investigator for the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health POWER research project; was a member of the 100 Black Men of American National Health and Wellness Committee; and chaired Ryan White HIV Community Planning Councils in Jersey City and Washington, DC. He currently serves on seven non-profit Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards.

Earl is the former Chair of the DC Human Rights Commission and a national partner of the LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, The NAACP, United Church of Christ, AARP International, and the U.S. Travel Association.

Patrick O. Gee, Ph.D., JLC

Gee_Patrick-cropped.jpgDr. Gee is a retired Major/Chief of Security from the Virginia Department of Corrections; and currently serves as the Founder & CEHD of iAdvocate, Inc., a non-profit Faith-based Health & Wellness organization. He is also an Ordained Minister at Mountain Movers Ministry in Richmond, VA. In April 2013, Dr. Gee was diagnosed with Stage 3b End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD). He is a former Peritoneal/Hemodialysis patient suffering from Diabetic Kidney Disease. On April 21, 2017, He received a kidney transplant, and after several complications, his new kidney began functioning on the 47th-day post-transplant.

As a Patient Representative for the Diabetes Kidney Disease-Collaborative Task Force, Vice-Chair of Kidney Health Initiative’s (KHI) Patient Family Partnership Council (PFPC), and an advocate for those living with chronic kidney disease and the morbid conditions that contribute to this disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity, Dr. Gee uses his personal experiences to teach, coach, mentor, and educate others on how best to manage their outcomes. He also ensures that underserved, undervalued, and disenfranchised communities of color have a voice in their quality of life and equitable healthcare access. Dr. Gee graduated from the American University School of Public Affairs in 2012 with a Doctor of Philosophy in Justice, Law, & Criminology.

Dr. Gee’s mantra is, "I am the Voice for the Voiceless and the Face for the Faceless in the fight against kidney disease and health equity.”

Elisa J. Gordon, PhD, MPH

Gordon_Elisa-cropped.jpgDr. Gordon is a Professor in the Department of Surgery-Transplant Division, the Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research, and the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois. She is a medical anthropologist and trained as a clinical ethicist.

Dr. Gordon has been conducting research on transplant ethics, health disparities, and treatment decision-making for over 20 years and has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles. Her research is funded primarily by the NIH, DOD, and HRSA, and has entailed multi-site studies and clinical trials involving qualitative and mixed-methods research, and implementation science. She has the expertise in developing and evaluating culturally sensitive complex organizational and educational interventions to reduce health disparities. She serves on national committees including the Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability (ACBTSA), as Chair of the American Society of Transplantation’s Psychosocial and Ethics Community of Practice, and on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Transplantation. She recently served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on A Fairer and More Equitable Cost-Effective and Transparent System of Donor Organ Procurement, Allocation, and Distribution.

Tamara Kear, PhD, RN, CNN, FAAN

Kear_Tamara-cropped.jpgDr. Kear is the Executive Director for the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA) and a tenured Associate Professor in the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing at Villanova University

In her role as ANNA’s Executive Director, she manages an 8,500-member professional nursing association, national office staff, and the association’s budget with attention focused on the strategic plan and advancing nephrology nursing. She was the 2019 National President for the American Nephrology Nurses Association during which time she directed ANNA’s response and actions related to the Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative.

Dr. Kear has 30 years of clinical experience in the care of patients with kidney disease and is considered a nurse expert in the field. She publishes and speaks on topics related to kidney care and dialysis modalities and practiced in the acute dialysis setting for Fresenius Kidney Care until April 2019. Dr. Kear has received extensive grant funding for her research on nurse and patient safety in nephrology/dialysis settings, hypertension self-management, and infection prevention related to dialysis. She developed a hypertension measure using the PatientsLikeMe™ platform.

Dr. Kear is also the recipient of numerous awards for her research and leadership from Villanova University, Sigma Theta Tau International, and the American Nephrology Nurses Association. She has been invited to serve on several national committees and boards including Kibow Biotech Scientific Advisory Board; CMS's TEP on pediatric, PD and home dialysis; and the CDC Foundation's Making Dialysis Safer for Patients Stakeholder's Committee. In October 2019, Dr. Kear was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. In 2020, Dr. Kear received the American Association of Kidney Patient’s Medal of Excellence in Nursing for leading ANNA’s response to the Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative. Dr. Kear has also been involved in the Renal Physician Association’s initiatives related to patient and practitioner safety.

Praise Matemavi, MD

Matemavi_Praise-cropped.jpgDr. Matemavi is currently a transplant and vascular access surgeon at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. She received her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2010 and then went on to complete an osteopathic surgical internship at Sinai Hospital -Detroit Medical Center in 2011. She then went to New York Presbyterian Queens Hospital - Weill Cornell where she completed her general surgery training in 2017. In 2019 she completed an abdominal transplant and hepatobiliary surgery fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Praise is passionate about individualized patient care and strives to meet each patient with compassion, respect, and dignity by meeting patients where they are and working together as a team to achieve the best outcomes.

Dinushika Mohottige, MD, MPH

Mohottige_Dinushika-cropped.jpgDr. Mohottige is a Nephrologist and Assistant Professor in the Division of Nephrology at Duke University Hospitals. She received a B.A. in Public Policy and a Health Policy Certificate from Duke University in 2006, where she was a Robertson Scholar. She then earned an MPH in Health Behavior/Health Education from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, followed by Internal Medicine and Nephrology training at Duke University Hospitals. She has authored and co-authored numerous publications associated with medical mistrust, racism, health inequities, social determinants of health, clinical pathways to improving quality of care, etc. Dinushika is committed to patient and community-centered inequity-focused kidney disease research focused on the role of structural racism and socio-structural inequity in CKD and kidney transplant.

Mary Owen, MD

Owen_Mary-cropped.jpgDr. Owen is a member of the Tlingit nation. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School and North Memorial Family Practice Residency Program before returning home to work for her tribal community in Juneau, Alaska. After eleven years of full-scope family medicine, she returned to the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth in 2014, as the Director of the Center of American Indian and Minority Health (CAIMH). Her work includes developing and managing programs to increase the numbers of American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) students entering medical careers, outreaching to local and national Native leaders to ensure the University of Minnesota Medical School remains in tune with AIAN health care and education needs, developing an AIAN track for all students interested in providing healthcare to AIAN communities and developing research efforts to address AIAN health disparities. She continues to provide clinical care at the Center of American Indian Resources in Duluth and is the current President of the Association of American Indian Physicians. 

Rory Caswell Pace, MPH, RD, CSR, FAND

Pace_Rory-cropped2.jpgRory has dedicated her career to Nephrology Nutrition, a field in which she is a leader, educator, and patient advocate. As Senior Director of Nutrition Services at Satellite Healthcare, Rory has used her clinical and leadership experience to guide clinical practice for over 120 Nephrology Dietitians across the United States, implementing evidence-based nutrition practice in the care of more than 8000 dialysis patients. She is a strong advocate for the role of nutrition in the care of people with kidney disease and has been a key player in the development and implementation of numerous successful clinical initiatives. Rory is experienced with home dialysis therapies and is a supporter of self-care for patients.

Rory has published and presented on numerous nephrology nutrition topics and is co-author of the 2020 Standards of Practice and Standards of Professional Performance for Nephrology Nutrition. An active volunteer leader, Rory currently serves as Chair of the Renal Dietitians practice group and Chair of the Council on Future Practice, both under the umbrella of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She also serves on the National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meetings planning committee and has served with the NKF Council on Renal Nutrition.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Community Health from UCLA. Rory completed her dietetic internship at the West LA VA Medical Center

Thursday, August 4, 2022

  • Powerpoint Presentation (coming soon)