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International Society of Nephrology

Business Overview

The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) is a global not-for-profit society dedicated to pursuing the global advancement of kidney care by supporting education, science and patient health. It also aims to bridge gaps between the developing and developed world in researching, diagnosing, treating, and preventing kidney disease.

 With 10,000 professional members from more 129 countries, ISN represents a wide international network. It provides an efficient platform for timely scientific exchange, debate and communication between all healthcare professionals involved in preventing and treating kidney disease. By collaborating with over 70 national and regional societies, ISN represents about 20,000 professionals around the globe.

Since 1960, the ISN has been providing nephrologists worldwide with highly valuable services, such as publications, meetings, capacity-building programs, and has been spearheading concerted awareness-generating efforts such as World Kidney Day. For more information, visit

Health Program Overview

Non-communicable chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease (CKD), have replaced communicable diseases as the leading threat to public health and health budgets worldwide. In emerging countries, kidney disease accounts for over a million deaths a year. A lack of formal medical training, inadequate screening tools, limited funding and public awareness means that these populations are losing out on proper care. By focusing on prevention, education, collaboration, and awareness, there is hope for better treatments. 

The ISN works to alleviate this growing socio-economic burden through a portfolio of global initiatives to enhance nephrology through education and research. These global initiatives are organized and managed through the Global Outreach (GO) Programs, which identify the educational and clinical needs in emerging countries and offer valuable training and educational activities for kidney specialists of all levels. 

Key GO Programs include:

  • The Sister Renal Centers Program (SRC) links renal centers in emerging countries with supporting centers of excellence in the developed world. With this educational support and guidance, self-sufficient renal centers are created in emerging countries.
  • The Fellowship Program helps educate physicians coming from emerging economies, giving them hands-on training opportunities unavailable in their home nations. Fellows are sponsored for a period of 3 to 12 months to train in a developed renal center, after which they return to their home country to implement their knowledge and improve standards of care there.
  • The Continuing Medical Education Program (CME) brings essential teaching and training to some 14,000 doctors in over 40 settings every year. CME meetings take place in the developing world, where expert speakers from the developing and the developed world share their knowledge and experience in clinical care and research.
  • The Educational Ambassadors Program sends experts to developing renal centers for one to four weeks to provide hands-on training or help develop new services, community-based research or screening programs.
  • The Research and Prevention Program aims in part to educate people in developing countries about the importance of having healthy kidneys. Many of the projects funded through the program set up screening and education to raise awareness and improve the understanding of kidney disease.

These and other ISN programs work together to vastly improve standards of renal care in less developed countries.

In addition, ISN initiated World Kidney Day (WKD) together with the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF) to inform and educate health policy-makers, medical staff, and the general public worldwide about chronic kidney disease, to drive the earliest possible diagnosis and optimal treatment. The mission of WKD is to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

  • Achievements: World Kidney Day has grown to become a worldwide success with 801 reported local WKD activities in more than 154 countries. It has achieved global media coverage, impressive prominence on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and, most importantly, catalyzed meetings between renal patients, medical professionals and government health authorities in many countries. This local participation and commitment to the campaign have been an essential contribution in creating more awareness for CKD as a growing threat to public health.
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ISN’s vision of reducing the incidence and impact of kidney disease worldwide has led it to actively expand and develop strategic partnerships and collaborations with such organizations as:

  • World Health Organization (WHO): In January 2012, the International Society of Nephrology was accepted as a non-governmental organization into official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO). ISN is one of only 182 non-governmental organizations worldwide to currently be in official relations with the WHO, as well as the first and only kidney-related organization to have attained this prestigious status. This partnership provides new opportunities for ISN to make clear the importance of kidney disease to global health, and show how cost-effective changes in healthcare systems can make a real difference to the problems caused by kidney disease worldwide.
  • Declaration of Istanbul: In 2008, the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the Transplantation Society (TTS) worked on preparing content for the Istanbul Declaration on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism. Their efforts culminated in the Declaration being finalized at the International Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. This framework governs organ donation and transplantation activities. It is not binding but ensures donor and recipient safety, enforces standards and prohibits unethical practices worldwide. ISN has also set up a group to guide activities and help governments as well as the medical and patient community fight this problem.
  • Affiliated Societies (national and regional renal societies) to establish a more effective network among renal organizations around the world, ISN closely collaborates with over 70 national and regional nephrology societies around the world, representing about 20,000 professionals.
  • Partner Societies (such as the International Pediatric Nephrology Association, International Society of Hypertension, International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis, and the Transplant Society) to help further deliver on its overarching goal of advancing nephrology in the developing and developed world.
  • Corporate Partners to set up a collaborative forum for the exchange of views how to treat kidney disease around the world.

ISN Website:

ISN Facebook Site:

Profile Series on YouTube:

Turning their World Around - 50 Years of ISN Film:

ISN Membership: