American Society of Nephrology Partners with Renal Fellow Network Blog


  • On the 10th anniversary of the Renal Fellow Network (RFN), one of the first nephrology blogs, the American Society of Nephrology has created a partnership with RFN to continue its legacy and forge new opportunities.

Newswise — Washington, DC (September 14, 2018) — Social media platforms, such as blogs, Twitter, and user-produced videos, are now at the forefront of medical education. One of the first nephrology blogs was the Renal Fellow Network (RFN), a forum where trainees specializing in kidney health can share posts that are open to the community to read and comment. On the 10th anniversary of RFN, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) has created a partnership with RFN to continue its legacy and forge new opportunities. A perspective published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) reviews the goals and structure of RFN, considers how RFN can continue to positively influence nephrology education, and discusses the new partnership with ASN.

“Renal Fellow Network has provided an important avenue for trainees to share and discuss topics relevant to their training for the past decade. We are very excited to partner with ASN to ensure future trainees can benefit by contributing and reading the blog,” said co-author and RFN co-faculty lead Matthew Sparks, MD, of Duke University Medical Center.

In 2008, Nathan (Nate) Hellman, MD, aptly named his newly released blog the “Renal Fellow Network” while a nephrology fellow, and the blog has served as a virtual meeting place for nephrology fellows from around the world ever since. After its initiation, RFN quickly became a popular site, with 25,000 monthly unique visitors by 2011, and 50,000 by 2018.

Trainees may select a topic on the basis of their experiences or interests. Trainees draft a post and submit it to a faculty advisor for review. After an exchange of edits and revisions are completed, the faculty advisors publish the post. This peer review process helps to ensure high-quality and accurate content. Finally, the post is shared on ASN’s social media platforms and emailed to RFN subscribers.

The new partnership with ASN will accelerate the growth and increase the reach of RFN. In addition to social media followers and RFN subscribers, ASN’s membership of nearly 20,000 will significantly increase the RFN following.

To increase involvement of nephrology fellows, two nephrology or postdoctoral fellows will serve as coeditors of RFN for a two-year term with faculty advisors. They will serve as interns on the ASN Media and Communications Committee to offer perspectives on effective ways to engage with trainees and recruit contributors to provide a steady stream of content. 

“This collaboration with ASN will help introduce RFN to a new generation of nephrology trainees, increase the profile of the site, and help bring in new contributors and editors who will continue the tradition of teaching evidence-based medicine to the nephrologists of tomorrow," explained RFN co-faculty lead Gearoid McMahon, MB, BCh, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“We are thankful for the past contributors and editors, and we can’t think of a better way to honor Nate Hellman’s memory than to ensure RFN’s success for the future,” said Dr. Sparks. “We are looking to broaden the contributor pool to RFN by including PhD students, post-doctorates, medical students, and residents in addition to fellows.”

The CJASN perspective, entitled “Renal Fellow Network—Past and Future,” will appear online at on September 14, 2018.

The Renal Fellow Network blog can be found at

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies. 

Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has nearly 20,000 members representing 124 countries. For more information, please visit or contact the society at 202-640-4660.

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