Flattening the Playing Field for Treatment of Diabetic Kidney Disease

Keith C. Norris*, Sandra F. Williams, Robert Nee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) remains a major health care issue and is beset with significant racial and ethnic disparities in regard to its incidence, progression, and complication rate. An individual's health is influenced strongly by an array of societal-level factors commonly called the social determinants of health. Among these, DKD is influenced highly by structured resources and opportunities, as well as an individual's socioeconomic status, health insurance status, access to care, education, health literacy, nutrition, green space exposure, level of trust in the medical community, and more. Health equity is considered a state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain his or her highest level of health. Conversely, health inequities are a consequence of a structured discriminatory system of inequitable allocation of social determinants of health. When this discriminatory system is race-based it is referred to as structural racism, which eventually leads to racial and ethnic health disparities. The further downstream sequela of structural racism, consciously or unconsciously, impacts health systems, providers, and patients, and can lead to disparities in DKD development, progression, and complications. In this article, we explore potential interventions at the societal, health system, and provider levels that can help flatten the playing field and reduce racial and ethnic disparities in DKD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151428
JournalSeminars in Nephrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetic kidney disease
  • disparities
  • ethnicity
  • health equity
  • race
  • social determinants of health


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