The prevalence of chronic disease, especially chronic kidney disease, continues to increase in the U.S. For patients that progress to kidney failure, kidney transplantation remains the preferred treatment for many patients, and is associated with improved quality of life, longer survival, and lower hospitalization cost compared to dialysis. However, there are significant disparities in access to kidney transplantation and the availability of kidney transplantation does not seem to keep up with the demand. Through her graduate work at the University of South Carolina and postdoctoral work at Emory University, Dr. Jennifer Gander recognized her basic interest was focused on improving healthcare access for vulnerable patient populations while building on her experience with predictive model analysis and translating statistically-based results to a patient’s bedside. Dr. Gander continues to work alongside her mentor to develop a number of research questions and NIH funded projects aimed to 1) improve kidney transplant referrals in the Southeast (North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia), 2) increase patient interest in transplant through a dialysis facility-based peer mentor program, and 3) improve patient knowledge through educating patients on the short- and long-tern benefits of transplant
Dr. Gander is committed to the advancement of clinical epidemiology research through service, leadership, and mentoring. Dr. Gander has mentored more than 15 students in various stages of their academic career and served as the primary facilitator for a community-based coalition comprised of more than 45 southeastern partners from transplant centers, patient advocacy groups, non-profit organizations, dialysis facilities, and government agencies. Dr. Gander also served as the American College of Epidemiology Associate Director where she represented the views and suggestions of junior, associate member, epidemiologists to the American College of Epidemiology Board of Directors. Through her service as the American College of Epidemiology Associate Director, Dr. Gander gained the in-depth knowledge of the careful and thoughtful planning and teamwork required to continue the American College of Epidemiology’s mission of promoting good science while remaining dedicated to epidemiologists’ continued education. Dr. Gander is grateful to the American College of Epidemiology for the ability to become involved in leadership activities while learning how to advance the field of epidemiology from senior researchers.