Offering Patients Transplant Information & Outreach through Navigators (OPTION)

Primary Investigator: Ashwini Sehgal, MD

Project Coordinator: Cathy Sullivan, MS, RD, LD

Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health

Research Associates: Julie Pencak and Jaqueline Theurer, MBA

As part of the research core of the P60, OPTION builds upon a pilot transplant navigator study conducted by the Center for Reducing Health Disparities (CRHD). Based on the evidence that minorities and women are less likely to receive a kidney transplant, the CRHD looked to find a way to change this reality in 2 Cleveland transplant centers and surrounding dialysis units. In the pilot study, navigators, consisting of individuals who had undergone a kidney transplant, went into dialysis units to talk to patients on how to work through the many steps in getting onto a transplant waiting list. These steps are often confusing and challenging, but with the assistance of a navigator, patients were shown in the pilot to complete more of the steps towards getting on the waiting list than those in the control group who did not receive assistance.

In the roll out of OPTION, we look to disseminate the findings of the pilot study in a more simplified and wider basis. Transplant centers in Columbus, OH, Fort Wayne, IN, Lexington and Louisville, KY will implement the use of navigators in surrounding dialysis facilities in order to reduce disparities and increase the number of kidney transplants overall. The measure of success of this study will not be reliant upon steps completed, but instead whether these navigators increase the number of people on the waiting lists and the number of people who receive kidney transplants.