Media contact: Adam Pope
The grant will fund her project “Promoting Increases in Living Organ donation via Tele-navigation.”
In 2017, Locke was awarded her first R01 grant from the NIDDK for her research “CKD Risk Prediction among Obese Living Kidney Donors.” The roughly $3.3 million, five-year award will conclude in 2022.
Last year, Locke received her second R01 grant, funded by the NIH, NIDDK, and United States Department of Health and Human Services. The grant supports her project “Genetic, Environmental & Histologic Basis for Kidney Disease Risk among Persons Living with HIV” across five years.
In all, her three R01 grants have totaled more than $10.5 million.
Locke stated, “Geographic disparities in likelihood of living donor kidney transplantation exist with the southeastern United States having the lowest rates. Existing programs to increase LDKT have failed to narrow geographic gaps as they were developed and implemented in resource-intense urban settings limiting generalizability in rural areas. Moreover, no existing program has addressed donor concerns impeding sustained LDKT increases.”
Her newest project will utilize patient navigators, with expertise in relationship building, to overcome donor-related concerns regarding evaluation processes and educational programming delivery, and expand a navigator-based training platform via telehealth. This would be a novel method for overcoming geographic disparities in access to LDKT.
Ultimately, this research could help mitigate disparities in LDKT. Locke will engage her health services research group, Transplant Epidemiology and Analytics in Medicine, to complete the three R01 grants.
Herbert Chen, M.D., Fay Fletcher Kerner Endowed Chair, is proud of Locke and the impact of her research on national organ donation policy and procedure.
“Dr. Locke has tirelessly devoted herself to the cause of reducing disparities in access to transplantation, and the entire department is so proud of her hard work,” Chen said. “Dr. Locke and the TEAM lab are spectacular advocates for equity in medicine.”