Bridging the Divide: Empowering Hispanic Patients to Live a Life Beyond Dialysis

Published on: August 1, 2023
By Veronica Martinez, Brand Lead, Solid Organ Transplant

In 2020, nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. were living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), a condition that disproportionately impacts minority populations.1 For every three (3) non-Hispanic people who develop ESRD, four (4) Hispanic people will develop ESRD.1

In addition, of the more than 100,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list in 2021, more than half are minorities.2 Furthermore, minorities are also underrepresented on the national donor registry3, making it more difficult to find a match for a kidney transplant and more likely to require long-term dialysis. Distressingly, the five-year survival rate for patients on dialysis is less than 50%, whereas kidney transplant recipients have a five-year survival rate of more than 80%.4

To effectively navigate these barriers, it is critical to bridge the gap between minority communities and healthcare professionals. Storytelling provides a way to connect people on a deeper, emotional level. It is through storytelling that Sanofi’s Kidney Transplant Connectors (KTC) program empowers people to advocate for themselves and their loved ones. During KTC presentations, living kidney donors and those who have received the gift of a kidney donation speak about their experience. For many patients and their families, attending a KTC event is the first time they will hear about the possibility of kidney transplant.

While Sanofi’s KTC programs were shown to be successful in English, we knew we needed to expand our reach and work with Spanish-speaking donors and recipients. We believed their personal stories could expand access to our program in communities that are disproportionately affected and may have unique cultural barriers impacting their healthcare.

It is an honor to work closely with colleagues Olga Hernandez, Jordan Sexton, and many others, whose passion for this program is unmatched. I have been privileged to forge relationships with members of the Spanish-speaking KTC program who are making a positive impact on patients.

As a Latina, I’ve seen how long-term dialysis impacts the people I love. I have also seen the benefits of empowering patients and empowering family members to seek out more information about kidney transplant so they can make decisions on their own.

That’s why I am so passionate about Sanofi’s Spanish-speaking KTC Program, where patients and their loved ones hear directly from other patients who look and sound like them about how to advocate for themselves and what to expect on their kidney transplant journey.

During National Minority Donor Awareness Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness of the need for more donors from minority groups, I’m reflecting on the true gift that is kidney transplantation. It is a game-changer in improving lives and it is a uniquely rewarding experience to see the tangible difference work like this can make.


  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDKK). Kidney Disease Statistics for the United States. Accessed June 25, 2023.
  2. Lentine KL, Smith JM, Miller JM, Bradbrook K, Larkin L, Weiss S, Handarova DK, Temple K, Israni AK, Snyder JJ. OPTN/SRTR 2021 Annual Data Report: Kidney. Am J Transplant. 2023 Feb;23(2 Suppl 1):S21-S120. doi: 10.1016/j.ajt.2023.02.004. PMID: 37132350; PMCID: PMC9970360.
  3. Organ Procurement & Transplantation Network (OPTN). Living Donors Recovered in the U.S. by Donor Ethnicity, January 1, 1988-May 31, 2023. Available at: Accessed June 25, 2023.
  4. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). End Stage Renal Disease: Mortality. Accessed June 25, 2023.