David M. White
When I heard the words "your kidneys are no longer working" during an emergency room visit in 2009, I was not prepared to accept the news. My first six months as a dialysis patient were challenging and, at times, perilous. I was fortunate to have a loving family and support system that did not give up on me when I tried to give up on myself.
A care plan meeting in 2010 changed my attitude and my outlook. My care team used shared decision-making and root-cause analysis techniques to develop a plan of care that empowered me to pursue my full potential as a human being living with a serious illness. Most importantly, I was told in no uncertain terms that I had to own my plan of care for it to work. Thankfully, I listened, took charge of my health, and eventually thrived on dialysis before receiving a kidney transplant from a deceased donor in 2015.
I serve or have served in leadership roles with the American Association of Kidney Patients, the Kidney Health Initiative, the Patient Advocate Foundation and the National Patient Advocate Foundation, PCORI, Quality Insights Renal Network 5, and the Veterans Transplantation Association, and was an inaugural member of the FDA Patient Engagement Collaborative, an advancement in the FDA's efforts to strengthen its relationship with patient communities.
I believe that the best way to eliminate disparities in health outcomes is to empower communities to take collective responsibility for their own well-being.