Remote Job Fair for Kidney Patients Links Disease and Employment Issues

The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), the nation’s largest kidney patient organization, is expanding their collaboration with CareerEco, a long-time AAKP partner, to provide a Remote and Hybrid Jobs Virtual Hiring Event. AAKP and CareerEco have operated in partnership for over five years to provide job opportunities to kidney patients and U.S. military veterans suffering from kidney diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly brutal to kidney patients, especially minorities, exacting a devastatingly high mortality rate among immunocompromised kidney patients who manage multiple chronic conditions and those on dialysis. Kidney transplant recipients also remain at extremely high-risk due to their immunosuppressive medications and the resulting comparative lack of effectiveness of COVID vaccines on this population. Kidney patients have never faced more challenges in maintaining safe employment or re-entry into the workforce in a manner that supports their need for safety, flexibility to dialyze, and/or attend medical appointments when necessary.

“In 2017, CareerEco was honored to launch our partnership with the AAKP to raise awareness through their Veterans Health Initiative of a virtual fair that allowed veterans, active duty personnel, and dependents to connect with more than 45 graduate schools in the Yellow Ribbon Program to discuss their programs, admissions criteria, and military educational benefits. We thank AAKP for their continued support and sponsorship of our upcoming Remote and Hybrid Jobs Virtual Hiring Event and look forward to future collaborations that continue to support all the communities AAKP serves,” states Gayle Oliver-Path, CEO and Founder of CareerEco.

Richard Knight, AAKP President, former dialysis patient, and 15-year transplant recipient, states, “As an individual who worked throughout my years on dialysis and now teaches at a local college, I know that employment provides both a sense of purpose and income protection for kidney patients as they navigate the myriad number of medical appointments and unforeseen issues that arise while managing kidney disease. The remote and virtual job fairs AAKP has conducted in partnership with CareerEco have proven to be highly valuable to all patients, especially minorities, veterans, and their families. Gayle Oliver-Path is a fine American and tremendous entrepreneur, and we are very pleased with our expanding partnership with CareerEco.” Knight is a former senior Congressional aide and business consultant with substantial experience working with the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional committees overseeing small business and employment issues.

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Edward V. Hickey, III, USMC, AAKP Vice President and Chair of the AAKP Veterans Health Initiative, states, “Individuals with kidney diseases have the same dreams and aspirations as any other person–to remain active, start or support a family, buy a house, retire securely, and contribute to society. Through our ongoing partnership with CareerEco, AAKP expands our support for kidney patients, including veterans suffering from this condition, to align their treatment care choices with new employment opportunities and the financial needs of their families. We are enthusiastic about our partnership and look forward to more virtual job fairs with CareerEco, including dedicated events for veterans managing kidney diseases.” Hickey is a former Administrative Assistant on Capitol Hill, a past senior advisor to the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and an appointee at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Paul T. Conway, AAKP Chair of Policy and Global Affairs, states, “Small business owners, business executives, and other employers across America are competing to recruit, hire, and retain talented and highly skilled individuals, and have creatively incorporated remote work technologies and more flexible benefit programs. The nature of work has transformed, and management has been forced to evolve to stay competitive. In this environment, Americans with kidney diseases and disabilities have tremendous opportunities to chart their own future and steer clear of dependency. We thank CareerEco and every participating employer for respecting patients as people who are not defined by their disease.” Conway is a former Chief of Staff of the US Department of Labor and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and a television news contributor on issues related to national unemployment and the economy.

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AAKP’s national strategy supports patient care choice in kidney treatment, such as aggressive expansions in home dialysis therapies and transplantation, including accelerated development of artificial implantable and wearable organs, so patients can choose treatments that best align with their aspirations to continue either full-time or part-time work, advance in their careers, build financial and retirement security, and contribute to society without dependence on disability income. AAKP is committed to reversing a decades-old status quo in kidney care that typically relegated patients to corporate in-center dialysis care without providing patients with substantive and ongoing education about their choices of home dialysis or kidney transplantation.

Since its founding in 1969, AAKP has defined kidney disease as both a health and workforce issue. An estimated one in seven U.S. adults, about 37 million people, have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Many individuals with CKD who are of working-age do work, but many lose their jobs and benefits or stop working once their kidney disease progresses to kidney failure–where there is the need for a kidney replacement therapy such as dialysis or kidney transplantation. By 1973, the founders of AAKP had helped secure Congressional passage, with the approval of President Richard Nixon, of national dialysis coverage, now known as the End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS), as a bridge to transplantation and rehabilitation so kidney patients could return to the workforce and leave the disability rolls if they were able to do so.

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