NephCure’s Patient Navigation Services: Meet Montrez Lucas, LCSW

We are very proud to introduce the NephCure Patient Navigation Program, a key component in helping the rare kidney disease (RKD) community get the answers and care they need, and Montrez Lucas, LCSW, is leading the way.

Montrez Lucas, Associate Director of Patient Navigation

Montrez, NephCure’s Associate Director of Patient Navigation, is a licensed social worker who helps patients, caregivers, and care partners navigate through healthcare services and systems. Before coming to NephCure, Montrez led a team of social workers at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

In his role, Montrez offers a resources, guidance, and hope to our community. By offering practical support as well as building helpful and lasting relationships, he ensures RKD patients and families have help navigating the uncertain rare kidney disease journey.

Learn more about our Patient Navigation Program in this Q&A with Montrez.

What is patient navigation?

ML: Patient navigation is used to help patients and care partners navigate through healthcare services and identify problems they may face. These services offer helpful resources they may not have immediate access to, reduce health disparities in the community, and empower patients to receive the care they deserve, while receiving support from someone they can trust.

How does this program serve caregivers and partners?

ML: The program serves caregivers and partners by giving them access to resources to pass along to their loved ones and providing lasting support in a timely manner to assure they can continue to provide the best care to the patient.

It is my duty to keep care partners up to date on how to best serve patients and guiding them to better patient care. The patient journey is important, but care partners serve an important role in every patient’s life.

Why are patient relationships important to you?

ML: I build relationships with patients and families to help guide them and solve the problems they are facing. Each patient is just as important as the next, which is why supporting them through the process of navigating healthcare systems and their general issues is vital.

Building relationships with patients provides them the support they need to promote positive health behaviors and establishes trust. Patients and caregivers deserve to have a great relationship with someone they can rely on to give them the best resources, bring them closer to their goals, and resolve the issues they have.

How can these navigation services help patients and families?

ML: Navigating through the disease journey can be stressful, especially when conquering it alone.

Patients should use these resources if they find themselves needing support. We will be able to provide patients with necessary resources for their journey, and connect them with the right tools, including informative events, webinars, support groups, and more.

They’ll also receive assistance in healthcare access, school support services, medication assistance programs, and access to experts that can put them on the right track. The goal is to get to the patient before it’s too late.

Learn more about NephCure’s Patient Navigation Program and connect with Montrez here.

Rival Game Relay Raises Money and Awareness for NephCure

RGR Organizers Kate and Mike Maurer
RGR Organizers Kate and Mike Maurer

Mike and Kate Maurer are runners who came up with an inspired idea and organized a great event for a great cause, but they’re more than that: they’re parents to a wonderful little boy named Alex. Five-year-old Alex is active and energetic, he loves climbing and running…when he’s feeling well enough to play like other five year olds. Alex has Nephrotic Syndrome, a condition neither of his parents had even heard of before he was diagnosed.

Ultra-runner Troy Thompson
Ultra-runner Troy Thompson

Mike and Kate know the trials of managing and living with NS, and like tens of thousands of others rely on breakthroughs in medical research to find better treatments and a cure for their son. They decided they needed to do something. As avid runners having completed numerous races of distances ranging from 5k to marathon, and team relays of 212 miles, they decided to blend their love of running with their desire to fundraise and created a 124-mile race called the Rival Game Relay.  Capitalizing on a centuries-old Iowa rival between the University of Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones, they timed their race to coincide with the annual Iowa/ISU football game.

Eleven teams registered to complete the course beginning in Ames, IA, Cyclone territory, and finishing just outside of Iowa City, IA, land of the Hawkeyes. Several teams were comprised of eight or more runners who ran various legs, “ultra” teams contained 5 runners or less, and ultra runner Troy Thompson completed 102 of the 124 mile course on his own!

NephCure Kidney International thanks the Maurers and all of the runners who participated in the inaugural Rival Game Relay event.

The 2014 RGR trophy went to the ISU Cyclones
The 2014 RGR trophy went to the ISU Cyclones
NephCure and the RGR team up to fight kidney disease!
NephCure and the RGR team up to fight kidney disease!
Post-race festivities under the RGR tent
Post-race festivities under the RGR tent

NephCure Kidney International Rings Opening Bell at NYSE

NephCure Kidney International (NKI) rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at 9:30 AM Friday, August 15, 2014.

“We are thrilled to have been asked and for the opportunity to join the legions who have come before us in having this honor,” said Mark Stone, NephCure Kidney International CEO.

Representatives from NKI took the podium alongside NephCure Board Members and NephCure families including The Silvermans, The Genatt’s, Michael Levine, and Tim Brink. Five-year-old Jed Silverman had the honor of ringing the bell.

“This is an incredible opportunity for NephCure Kidney International. We appreciate the chance to raise awareness of the foundation, and its work to find a cure for the devastating kidney disease FSGS and the other diseases that cause Nephrotic Syndrome,” said Michael Levine, NKI Board Member. Mr. Levine’s 11-year-old son Matthew is currently battling FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis).

More than 8,000 people are diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome every year, and FSGS is the leading cause of kidney failure in children. In the United States alone more than 26 million suffer from some form of kidney disease. Since its inception, NephCure has contributed more than $13 million dollars toward FSGS and NS research. NKI remains the only organization dedicated to funding research to end FSGS and NS.