Discovering barriers to living donor kidney transplantation - Kidney Health Education and Research Group

Discovering barriers to living donor kidney transplantation

We explore barriers that prevent chronic kidney disease patients from receiving living donor kidney transplantation (i.e. a kidney donated by a living donor). Specifically, we focus on psychosocial and ethnocultural factors, identifying and determining if they act as barriers. Factors include:

  • ethnocultural attitudes
  • fears
  • beliefs
  • concerns about living donor kidney transplant

Why is this project important?

Our research investigates rarely studied factors that prevent kidney disease patients from receiving potentially life-saving treatment. That life-saving treatment is living donor transplantation. For many end-stage kidney disease patients, it is the best treatment because it provides better survival and quality of life than dialysis and has a shorter waiting time than deceased donor transplant.

Although it can save their life, our preliminary research indicated that not all patients undergo it equally. Patients of African descent or Asian ethnicity are substantially less likely to get a living donor transplant compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Similarly, those with depression are also less likely than patients without depression to get a living donor transplant. The reasons underlying these differences are not yet well understood and our research aims to explore it, creating the opportunity for patients and clinicians to overcome barriers to health and treatment.

How are we carrying out this project?

This study uses mixed-methods (i.e. a combination of quantitative and qualitative research). In the quantitative part of this study, we enroll potential kidney transplant candidates, capturing information about their transplant-related knowledge, attitudes, fears, concerns, mental health, sociodemographic characteristics, and ethnocultural background. We analyze these factors, determining if they pose barriers to accessing the living donor transplants. In the qualitative part, we gather diverse groups of patients into focus groups and one-on-one interviews to deepen our understanding of ethnocultural beliefs and concerns that may impact living donor transplants.
By learning what prevents patients from pursuing living donor kidney transplantation through this research, we are developing tailored, culturally competent and religiously sensitive kidney health education guides which address the concerns voiced by specific ethnocultural and religious communities in order to improve equal access to treatment

How to Get Involved

Contact us at We welcome collaborations with researchers, community partnerships, volunteers, and research students.

If you are applying to join our team as a research student or volunteer, email us with:

  1. Resume
  2. Motivation letter (1 page)
  3. Transcript (if applicable)


How to Support Us

We are a non-profit organization and your support goes a long way in pushing the frontier for chronic kidney disease research and improving care for patients whose lives are affected by the life-changing disease. If you are able to, we invite you to support our work.

Support this work

See also

Researching and Developing Solutions to Ethnocultural Barriers to Kidney Transplantation
Researching Psychosocial Barriers to Kidney Transplantation