Patient perspectives are at the heart of a new strategy to boost kidney donation.

The Transplant Ambassador Program is a patient-led initiative that connects past kidney donors and recipients with individuals who are facing a transplant or thinking of donating a kidney. By offering peer mentorship and support, the program is aimed at addressing one of the major barriers to living donation identified by patients.

An Ontario-wide patient-led roundtable in 2016 helped identify several key barriers and potential solutions to improve living kidney donation. Participants at the meeting agreed that in-person support from trained peer mentors would dispel misinformation and encourage potential donors.

TAP offers the opportunity for patients to interact with others who have had a similar illness experience and who demonstrate the fullness of life after a transplant or becoming a living kidney donor. The program is a component of a Can-SOLVE CKD research project led by Dr. Amit Garg that aims to boost Canada’s rate of living donor kidney transplantation. To date, TAP has rolled out in 13 regional renal clinics across Ontario, and a further 13 clinics will be added in 2019.

Video by Graham Pollock

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