Dr. Mina Matsuda-Abedini’s passion for pediatric nephrology – with a focus on clinical research – was first sparked by mentors when she was at McGill University in Montreal in the mid 1990s. She has since taken a position as a pediatric nephrologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and now at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, where she is working to improve care for Canada’s youngest populations affected by kidney disease.
“The main focus of my research has always been improving the care of children with chronic kidney disease and kidney transplants, as well as optimizing their transition of care from pediatric to adult care,” says Matsuda-Abedini.
One of her research projects has involved working closely with patient and parent partners to develop a novel patient-reported symptom tool for children living with chronic kidney disease. This has been through the national patient-oriented kidney research network Can-SOLVE CKD. By consulting patient-parent partners, it had become clear a standardized way to formally assess the symptom burden of kidney disease in children was needed.
This prompted Matsuda-Abedini to collaborate with Dr. Allison Dart at the University of Manitoba to develop and then validate PRO-Kid, a novel tool that can be used by clinicians to assess patient-reported symptom burden of chronic kidney disease in children ages 8 to 18 years. The research team is now in the midst of validating a French version at two sites in Quebec. As well, they have developed two additional modified versions, one for children ages 5 to 7 years and another for children ages 2 to 4 years, who may be too young to adequately communicate their symptoms and need their parents to fill out the assessment on their behalf.
Matsuda-Abedini is also involved in another national research project led by Dr. Samantha Anthony (Toronto), titled Embarking on a journey to explore the realities of pediatric solid organ transplantation for Indigenous patients, families and communities across Canada. The goals are to learn perspectives on health equity, the presence of culturally safe education, treatment and care for Indigenous patients and families during the transplant journey, and to identify opportunities to optimize transplantation access and care to improve health outcomes.
She says she loves working with children and their families, collaborating with amazing colleagues nationally and internationally, and having the opportunity to address health and social justice. “I love the work I do,” says Matsuda-Abedini. “It’s a really exciting time to be in medicine – the pace of innovation is unprecedented, and elevating the patient voice in research is so important.”