Diversifying Kidney Research

We worked this year to enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in all network activities.


Diversifying Kidney Research

We worked this year to enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in all network activities.

Introducing Our EDI Champions

Across the Can-SOLVE CKD Network, we strive to transform treatment and care for all Canadians living with or at risk for chronic kidney disease.

We have a shared responsibility and commitment to advancing equitable, patient-oriented research of the highest quality through our core values of inclusion, cultural competency, and collaboration.

This year Can-SOLVE CKD welcomed two EDI Champions, Glenda Roberts and Dr. Sofia Ahmed, as part of our authentic commitment to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in research.

These EDI Champions will promote the inclusion and advancement of groups historically excluded or underserved in health research to enhance equity in research, training, and knowledge mobilization. This involves recognizing and reducing systemic barriers, mitigating biases, and supporting the inclusion of diverse perspectives in the patient-oriented research community.

Dr. Sofia Ahmed

Dr. Sofia Ahmed, a nephrologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Calgary, is one of Canada’s leading experts in sex and gender research and an Advisory Board member for the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health. Dr. Ahmed is the lead of EDI capacity development in Alberta’s SPOR SUPPORT Unit and a member of our Research Operations Committee review team and Steering Committee. She participates in the network’s strategic planning to ensure Can-SOLVE CKD is highly responsive to the needs of patient populations who have been traditionally excluded or marginalized within mainstream health care and health research initiatives.

Glenda Roberts

Glenda Roberts is Director of External Relations and Patient Engagement at the Kidney Research Institute in Washington. Based upon her personal experience with kidney disease, Roberts is a passionate activist for kidney research and patients living with kidney disease. She’s involved in a myriad of patient-centered national and international health care transformation initiatives.  All are focused on addressing patient preferences and improving patient reported outcomes. Roberts brings with her a wealth of experience from EDI initiatives in the United States.

Sex and gender in research

There is increasing recognition that sex and gender factors must be considered in all stages of research, from identification of knowledge gaps to dissemination of study results.

With guidance from Dr. Sofia Ahmed, Can-SOLVE CKD Sex and Gender Champion, the network’s research projects are integrating sex- and gender-based analysis into their study protocols. Incorporating these factors results in more impactful science that ultimately improves the outcomes of all individuals living with kidney disease.


The team will look at mental health and renal outcomes separately in girls and boys to identify if there are differences on the biological outcome of stress and distress in adolescents. In addition, the team is looking at the differences in stress/cytokines and kidney function to see if they differ between girls and boys.


The team is measuring the impact of sex and gender on patients’ experiences and clinical outcomes among hemodialysis patients.

Strategies to Enhance Patient Self-Management of CKD

The research team is interested in how men and women tend to self-manage their CKD. They will examine how sex influences the uptake of an e-health website, My Kidneys My Health.

Increasing the Use of Living Donor Kidney Transplantation

The team has planned an analysis to understand equity issues in kidney transplant access with known factors such as sex, ethnicity, geography, and income level.

Did you know?

100% of the Can-SOLVE CKD Phase 2 applicant team has completed CIHR’s Sex- and Gender-Based Analysis Training.

Core values

As we transition to our second phase, we have implemented a core values statement to guide us.

This policy statement, created in conjunction with patient partners, Indigenous network members, and researchers, articulates our commitment to advancing equitable, patient-oriented research of the highest quality through our core values of inclusion, cultural competency, and collaboration.

An internal working group reflecting the network’s diversity drafted and reviewed the policy statement, which was shared publicly this year.

Our core values are shaped by the guiding principles of Looking, Listening, Learning, and Leading. These principles have been articulated by Indigenous patient partners during development of the Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj Learning Pathway:

  • Looking within to observe and examine racial identities, privileges, and biases
  • Listening to diverse voices and stories
  • Learning about the impact of systemic racism and colonialism on health
  • Leading through genuine partnerships with individuals and communities

Overlaid on these “4Ls” are “6Rs” that provide a framework for living out our core values through action (Respect, Reciprocity, Relevance, Responsibility, Relationships, Real).

The specific actions listed in the core values statement are meant to be a living document for the network to change and expand as it practices together. These principles will inform our second phase.