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Kidney disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the US, other industrialized countries, and, increasingly, the developing world.

In the US, over 20 million individuals have some degree of chronic kidney disease (CKD); of these, over 600,000 have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), meaning that they are living with a functioning kidney transplant or are receiving maintenance dialysis. Nearly 500,000 individuals in the US (and more than 2 million worldwide) undergo life-sustaining dialysis. The projected worldwide growth in the burden of severe kidney disease is truly daunting: the number of individuals receiving maintenance dialysis is likely to double by 2050. Additionally, the vast majority of people with severe CKD die before they develop ESRD, suggesting that CKD contributes to morbidity and mortality even when it does not result in ESRD. Thus, the study of kidney disease epidemiology is of major importance to public health agendas worldwide.

For over two decades, a core mission of the Chronic Disease Research Group (CDRG) has been the study of kidney disease epidemiology using large administrative databases, including Medicare and employer group health plan databases such as Truven MarketScan. These efforts have resulted in over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals and innumerable abstracts, posters, and oral presentations at national and international meetings.

CDRG’s predecessor organization, Nephrology Analytical Services, and subsequently CDRG, held the National Institutes of Health contract to operate the United States Renal Data System (USRDS) from 1999 to 2014. It was during the early years of the USRDS contract that CDRG acquired its unrivalled experience using Medicare data and the Medicare standard analytic files specific to the maintenance dialysis population.

CDRG continues its interest in kidney disease epidemiology by servicing the Health and Human Services contract for the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, supporting both investigator-initiated and pharmaceutical industry-sponsored observational studies, and making other key contributions to the study of kidney disease.

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The Chronic Disease Research Group (CDRG) is a division of the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute (formerly known as the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation), located in Minneapolis, MN