Create effective Chronic Kidney Disease patient education materials for Hispanic patients


Nate Bernhard
3 min readMay 13, 2024


In the United States, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) afflicts approximately 37 million adults — 1 in every 7 adults — and another 20 million people have risk factors for its development.

Medically underserved and vulnerable populations are at much greater risk of CKD and exhibit worse outcomes, including higher mortality. Roughly 14% of Latine adults have CKD as a result of disparities in things like education, language, and lack of health insurance.

The Problem

Assessments of CKD patient education materials have found that they are not easy to read or understand, especially for non–English-speaking patients.

Existing CKD Patient Education Materials are complex

The lack of patient awareness and barriers to effective CKD education leads to poor screening and management of kidney disease, which subsequently yields adverse patient outcomes among vulnerable populations and minority groups including cardiovascular events, need for urgent dialysis, and decreased quality of life.

Tailored, actionable education is a necessary part of a comprehensive strategy to improve kidney health outcomes in Latine communities to increase awareness, enhance prevention, and promote the control of known risk factors.


We partnered with Dr. Janet Diaz Martinez and Caridad Center, Florida’s largest free health clinic, to conduct participatory design with medically underserved and vulnerable Latine communities with or at risk for CKD to identify the common and consequential barriers to CKD screening.

Co-design session led by Dr. Janet Diaz

Together with Latine community members who had or were at heightened risk of kidney disease and with Community Health Workers, we co-created easy-to-understand, culturally and linguistically appropriate patient educational materials.

We developed materials in Spanish that made use of metaphors and illustrations that we workshopped with people from the target audience and Community Health Workers (CHWs). In addition to a flip chart for CHWs to provide patient outreach and education, we developed bus-stop posters and lab result cards with easy to understand charts and graphics.


The materials we created were tailored to Latine communities and addressed subgroup differences in order to increase screening in Latine community members with or at risk for CKD.

The new patient education materials are now being used. As summarized by Dr. Janet Diaz, Caridad is finding that:

“Feedback from patients regarding the educational materials has been overwhelmingly positive. Patients expressed feeling empowered and well-informed, and kidney disease testing increased. The educational materials have met and exceeded expectations, providing a valuable, high-quality, sustainable resource for the community.”



Nate Bernhard

Partner at Ker-twang ( building high-quality, scalable services for low-income people.