Background. Hispanic Americans face disparities in access to kidney transplantation, particularly living donor kidney transplantation (LDKT). This study compared characteristics of LDKT recipients before and after implementing the Hispanic Kidney Transplant Program (HKTP) at Northwestern Medicines (NM) and other centers. Methods. The NM HKTP, initiated in December 2006, delivers culturally and linguistically competent and congruent care. Program-specific data were used to compare the mean ratios of Hispanic to non-Hispanic white LDKTs between pre-HKTP (2001-2006) and post-HKTP (2008-2013), and to compare the characteristics of NM's adult LDKT patients between pre-HKTP and post-HKTP. The same ratio was calculated for transplant centers in regions with a significant Hispanic population (≥25%) and performing in the top tertile of total LDKT volume in the pre-HKTP period. The number of Hispanic and non-Hispanic white patients added to the waiting list were compared between pre-HKTP (2001-2006) and post-HKTP (2008-2013) as a proxy for increased patient referrals and a pathway by which the HKTP may increase LDKTs. Results. The ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic white LDKTs significantly increased by 70% after the implementation of NM's HKTP (pre-HKTP mean = 0.20, post-HKTP mean = 0.34; P= 0.001). None of the other transplant centers experienced a similar increase in their ratio of Hispanic to non-Hispanic white LDKTs. The NM waiting list additions grew by 91% among Hispanics, but grew only 4% for non-Hispanic whites. Conclusions. These data suggest that the development and implementation of a culturally congruent transplant program can positively affect Hispanic LDKT and thereby reduce Hispanics disparities in LDKT rates. Further studies are needed to prospectively evaluate the generalizability of implementing such culturally competent interventions at other transplant programs.
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