Shera Avi-Yonah

Shera Avi-Yonah is a writer and junior at Harvard College.

Recent Articles

Are Kidney Tests Misdiagnosing African Americans?

A common test for kidney disease adjusts based on race, and that could be leaving some black patients behind.

Kidney doctor Carmen Peralta was having a normal day at her office last year when a patient asked to see her. The man walked in holding a printed sheet of test results he’d received bearing two numbers. Each represented his baseline kidney function. One was within normal range; the other was not. “He walked into my office and said, ‘Well, Doctor, which one am I?’” Peralta said. The test—meant to measure the man’s estimated glomerular filtration rate, or eGFR—came back with two results by design. For the past 20 years, kidney doctors and primary-care practitioners have agreed to use a formula for eGFR that gives split results for African American and white patients, in an attempt to get more accurate measurements. Peralta’s patient, a mixed-race American of Dominican ethnicity, told her he was unsure where this left him. At the time, she didn’t have an answer. Its name may be obscure, but eGFR is far from an unusual...