VCKD Members


Kerri Cavanaugh MD MHS

Department: Medicine


I specialize in the care of patients with chronic kidney disease as a result of any cause and have specific expertise in caring for patients with kidney failure. This includes treating kidney failure with the best medical therapy, which may include options such as dialysis. I am passionate about delivering kidney disease care that fits with a patient’s and their family’s goals. This includes working with the other members of our kidney care team, nurses, dietitians and social workers as well as coordinating with the Vanderbilt palliative care providers to offer treatment in line with these goals. Our team specializes in this type of care for patients with kidney disease.

My patient-oriented research focuses on identifying ways to improve doctors’ and other health providers’ communication with patients and their families. This includes developing new written and video materials to enhance the way we talk about kidney health, its evaluation and its treatments. I have led a team that has developed surveys that evaluate the kidney knowledge and self-efficacy related to care of kidney disease. These are important tools to understand the impact of new communication strategies. I have received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Kidney Foundation and the American Society of Nephrology to support this research to improve patient-centered care for those with kidney disease. These contributions have also been highlighted in The New York Times.

At Vanderbilt, I am the Medical Director of the Vanderbilt Dialysis Clinic-Campus and also serve as a research mentor to nephrology fellowship trainees.

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