Include, Value, Empower

This year, World Kidney Day and its 2018 theme of “Kidneys & Women’s Health – Include, Value, Empower” and International Women’s Day and its 2018 theme of “Press for Progress” both took place on Thursday, March 8. This has made the weeks before and after the perfect time for us to celebrate the more than 175 women of Can-SOLVE CKD and the important work they’re doing to improve the lives of women and all people living with or at risk of chronic kidney disease.

The dedicated and courageous women of Can-SOLVE CKD are involved at all levels and in all aspects of the network. As part of Canada’s largest multi-partner, patient-oriented kidney research initiative, each is working to transform treatment and care for the 4 million Canadians living with chronic kidney disease.

Connect with us as we share inspiring stories and key facts in support of World Kidney Day and International Women’s Day. Check back for new stories added to the top of the Stories section.



For Mary Beaucage, involvement in research is an empowering, eye-opening experience

Mary Beaucage

Like so many of the patients and caregivers who volunteer their time with Can-SOLVE CKD, Mary Beaucage isn’t involved in just one aspect of the network, she’s involved in several. Read More

Inspired by Barb LeGay, two friends carry on her remarkable legacy

Anne MacPhee, Barb LeGay, and Sandi Kidston

Barb LeGay, who passed away in June 2017, was a passionate advocate for people living with kidney disease and an enthusiastic member of the Can-SOLVE CKD Patient Council. In memory of Barb and her legacy, friends Anne MacPhee and Sandi Kidston are carrying on her work of providing patient perspectives to the kidney research community through Can-SOLVE CKD. Read More

Insights from Can-SOLVE CKD new Sex and Gender Lead Dr. Sofia Ahmed about kidney research and women’s health

Dr. Sofia Ahmed, June 28, 2017.Dawn Smith/Libin Cardiovascular Institute
Photo credit: Dawn Smith/Libin Cardiovascular Institute

We’re excited World Kidney Day with its 2018 theme of Kidneys & Women’s Health is upon us and Kidney Month is underway! This made it the ideal time to speak with Can-SOLVE CKD’s new Sex and Gender Lead Dr. Sofia Ahmed recently about what we should be paying attention to when it comes to kidneys and women’s health. We also asked her about where she sees opportunities for her to make a difference with the network and about the value of patient-oriented research. Read More

Can-SOLVE CKD Co-Lead, Dr. Adeera Levin, featured in CTV National News story about kidney transplant gender gap

Adeera-Levin-photo credit ISN-cropped

To mark World Kidney Day and International Women’s Day, CTV National News is running a story focusing on the gender gap between women and men when it comes to receiving a kidney transplant.

The CTV story features Dr. Adeera Levin in her role as Executive Director of the BC Renal Agency and immediate past president of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN). View or read the story to learn about important statistics and also hear from patient, Georgina Kinney, and chair of the kidney transplant advisory committee for Canadian Blood Services, Dr. Kathryn Tinckam.

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Dedicated & Inspired: The women of the Can-SOLVE CKD core operations team


The Can-SOLVE CKD core operations team is almost entirely made up of women – dedicated and inspired women who not only provide a variety of essential expertise, but also really care about improving Canada’s research landscape for people living with chronic kidney disease. In honour of World Kidney Day and International Women’s Day, we’ve gathered some quotes about them and by them.
Read more

Dr. Evelyn Voyageur

Elder advisor, Can-SOLVE CKD

Dr Evelyn Voyageur - photo credit Mondays with MacCredit: Mondays with Mac

We are very pleased to have Dr. Evelyn Voyageur, an Elder of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, support the Can-SOLVE CKD Network as an Elder advisor. In this role, she will counsel the network’s operations team and executive committee on respectful, culturally appropriate engagement of Indigenous individuals and communities.
Read more

Dr. Sofia Ahmed

Sex and Gender Lead, Can-SOLVE CKD


Can-SOLVE CKD is committed to overcoming barriers to care that are driven by social health determinants, including sex and gender. As part of this commitment, we are very pleased to welcome Dr. Sofia Ahmed to the network in the role of Sex and Gender Lead as of January 2018.
Read more

Kate Chong

Past Co-Chair, Can-SOLVE CKD Patient Council
Patient Partner, Can-SOLVE CKD project, Increasing the use of living donor kidney transplantation


Kate began providing her patient perspective to Can-SOLVE CKD long before she received a kidney transplant from her husband, Brian, in September 2017. In this Providence Health Care story, we learn about their journey as transplant patient and living donor. Read more

Mary Beaucage, Helen Robinson-Settee, Cathy Woods, Sandra Kidston and Anne MacPhee

Patient Partners and Presenters, Can-SOLVE CKD


Shown here is Cathy Woods. The Can-SOLVE CKD Network is proud to work with a diverse and talented group of patient partners who are not only valuable contributors to our research projects but also serve as ambassadors for the network. Read more

Carol Connolly

Patient Partner, Can-SOLVE CKD


Family caregivers play an important, often overlooked role in supporting those living with kidney disease. A recent episode of the web series “House Call with Dr. Yvette Lu” shines a light on this vital support by visiting Can-SOLVE CKD patient partners Carol Connolly and Ken Litchfield in Calgary. Shown here is a screen shot of Carol who is a caregiver to her husband, Ken. Read more and watch the video.

Dr. Allison Dart

Co-Lead, Can-SOLVE CKD project, Defining CKD risk in youth with diabetes

Shayna Quoquat

Patient Partner, Can-SOLVE CKD project, Defining CKD risk in youth with diabetes


To mark World Diabetes Day on November 14, 2017, the ICARE study that’s defining chronic kidney disease risk in youth with diabetes was profiled by CTV News Winnipeg. Project lead Dr. Allison Dart and Can-SOLVE CKD patient partner Shayna Quoquat (second from right here) were interviewed about their work to help youth manage Type 2 diabetes. Read more, watch the CTV video and a powerful second video by the ICARE team.

Chantel Large

Patient Partner, Can-SOLVE CKD


In September 2017, Chantel Large and three other Can-SOLVE CKD Indigenous patient partners attended Pathways Annual Gathering in Whitehorse. Following the gathering, Chantel shared her thoughts and reflections on the value of attending. Read more

Leah Getchell and Susan McKenzie

Co-Creators, Transplant Ambassador Program
Can-SOLVE CKD patient partners Leah Getchell and Susan McKenzie have spearheaded the development of the Transplant Ambassador Program, a new initiative that will connect past kidney donors and recipients with individuals who are facing a transplant or thinking of donating a kidney. Learn more about the program. Read more

Cathy Woods

Co-Chair, Indigenous Peoples’ Engagement and Research Council
Co-Chair, Can-SOLVE CKD Patient CouncilCathy Woods, Can-SOLVE CKD patient partner
For Cathy Woods, becoming a Can-SOLVE CKD patient partner was an opportunity to use the insight gained from her own journey with kidney disease to make a difference in the health of Indigenous people. Read more

Marissa Nahanee

Member, Can-SOLVE CKD Patient Council
Member, Indigenous Peoples’ Engagement and Research Council

Marissa is one of more than 30 patients with direct experience of kidney disease who are helping to shape Can-SOLVE CKD’s research projects and priorities. Press play to learn about Marissa’s experience as a kidney transplant patient and a patient partner.

Dr. Joanne Kappel
Dr. Carol Bullin

Co-Leads, Can-SOLVE CKD project, Improving Indigenous patient knowledge about treatment options
Shown here is Dr. Kappel. She and Dr. Bullin are leading a Can-SOLVE CKD research project to develop culturally appropriate resources that will assist Indigenous people in understanding treatment options for failing kidneys. The Fall 2017 issue of Spirit newsletter produced by the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation features Dr. Kappel and explains more about the project.  Read more

Mary Beaucage

Member, Can-SOLVE CKD Patient Council
Member, Indigenous Peoples’ Engagement and Research Councilmary-wkd
As a Can-SOLVE CKD patient partner, Mary provides her insight as a chronic kidney disease patient, an Indigenous person and a recipient of a kidney transplant. Less than three years removed from her transplant operation, she completed the grueling 100 km Kidney March in Alberta in September 2017. An article in the North Bay Nugget newspaper featured Mary a few weeks before the event. Read more

Dr. Adeera Levin

Co-Lead, Can-SOLVE CKD


As co-lead/co-principal investigator of the Can-SOLVE CKD Network along with Dr. Braden Manns, Dr. Levin was responsible for successfully applying for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant that enabled the network to move forward with 18 patient-oriented research projects that are transforming treatment and care. Promise magazine’s Fall/Winter 2016 issue produced by St. Paul’s Foundation featured Dr. Levin and the network’s novel approach. Read more



Kidney Disease Facts – About Women Worldwide & Canadians

  • Chronic kidney disease affects approximately 195 million women worldwide and it is currently the 8th leading cause of death in women, with close to 600,000 deaths each year.
  • Worldwide, there is a need for higher awareness, timely diagnosis and proper follow-up of kidney disease in pregnancy.
  • Kidney infections, such as pyelonephritis, are more common in women than in men, and the risk increases in pregnancy.
  • Women are more likely to be kidney transplant donors than to receive a kidney.
  • Mothers and female spouses are more likely to donate kidneys.
  • Women and girls are less likely to receive a kidney transplant and spend more time on dialysis before being referred for kidney transplant evaluation compared to men.
  • Maternal health and wellness is a determinant of healthy babies and healthy kidneys for future generations.
  • 4 million Canadians are living with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
  • Chronic kidney disease causes approximately 3,000 deaths per year in Canada.
  • Survival and quality of life in advanced chronic kidney disease are poorer than in metastatic breast or lung cancer.
  • Chronic kidney disease disproportionately affects Indigenous peoples, children, and the elderly.
  • Kidney disease involves genetic and lifestyle factors, including high blood pressure and heart disease. You can reduce your risk through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
  • Kidney disease is a “silent” disease, with virtually no symptoms in its early stages. A person can lose more than 50% of their kidney function before symptoms appear, and some symptoms – tiredness and appetite loss – can be mistaken for something less serious.
  • As many as 600,000 Canadians may be at risk of chronic kidney disease and not know it.
  • The number of Canadians living with end-stage kidney disease has grown 36% since 2006.
  • 47% of new patients are under the age of 65.
  • More than 4,500 Canadians are waiting for a donor organ; 3/4 of those are waiting for a kidney.
  • If diagnosed early, many people are able to slow the course of kidney disease with the support of their kidney care team. This includes taking medication, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
  • Kidney disease is linked to many chronic conditions:
    • 12% of those with chronic kidney disease also have heart disease; 20% have diabetes; 50% have high blood pressure.
    • Depression, anxiety, and uncertainty are also associated.
  • The economic impact of kidney disease is substantial:
    • Average annual cost of chronic kidney disease treatment in Canada is $12,000 per patient.
    • Average annual cost of dialysis is $92,000 per patient.
    • Annual cost of chronic kidney disease to the Canadian health care system is roughly $50 billion.
    • Additional insurance costs (both CPP and private disability) total nearly $1 billion per year.




  • More than 175 women across Canada are members of the Can-SOLVE CKD Network, including patient partners, researchers, health care providers, administrators and policy makers.
  • More than 50 female researchers across Canada are involved with the Can-SOLVE CKD Network as leaders or contributors to 18 kidney research projects.
  • 18 women are members of the Can-SOLVE CKD Patient Council that helps guide all Can-SOLVE CKD activities to ensure they address and respect the unique needs and perspectives of patients.
  • Can-SOLVE CKD is a national patient-oriented kidney research network established in 2016.
  • The Can-SOLVE CKD Network is a partnership of patients, researchers, health care providers and policy-makers.
  • The Can-SOLVE CKD Network is Canada’s largest initiative working to transform treatment and care for Canadians living with or at risk for chronic kidney disease.
  • A Patient Council and Indigenous Peoples’ Engagement and Research Council guide all Can-SOLVE CKD activities to ensure they address and respect the unique needs and perspectives of patients.
  • The Can-SOLVE CKD Network is working to close the gaps in kidney health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities by adopting Indigenous ways of knowing and fostering cultural competency.
  • The Can-SOLVE CKD Network is supporting 18 research projects that are at various stages of development.
  • Can-SOLVE CKD research questions are based on key issues that were identified by patients over three years of priority-setting discussions.
  • The Can-SOLVE CKD Network is also developing or expanding core infrastructures, including tools and resources for training, patient and research registries, knowledge translation, and more, to ensure research evidence is moved into clinical practice effectively and in a timely fashion.
  • Can-SOLVE CKD is one of five chronic disease networks funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research through the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research.
  • Can-SOLVE CKD funding is also provided by more than 30 partners, including provincial kidney care agencies, universities, industry, and private donors.
  • Funders are investing a total of $40 million over five years in the Can-SOLVE CKD Network.

For more, please explore other sections of the Can-SOLVE CKD website.



Links and Resources