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LATINOS/HISPANICS are at greater risk of developing kidney disease and kidney failure. In fact, Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to have kidney failure than non-Hispanics. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the main culprits, making kidneys the organ in demand within the Latino community. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), nearly 50% of the patients on the waiting list for a transplant in the greater Los Angeles area are Latino. And at a national level, there are more than 23,000 Latinos currently awaiting an organ transplant.


After identifying the most common challenges Latino dialysis patients face in pursuing transplantation, MNIT discovered that nothing existed to meet the educational needs of the Latino population in an engaging format. To address this, MNIT created the groundbreaking Fixing Paco series to augment the One-on-One Kidney Transplant Education Program, and the episodes complement the teaching sessions of the program.


While the series is highly educational, it is also full of cultural humor and drama that defines dynamic Latino families. Margie Fuentes (Gloria Garayua), a young adult and aspiring doctor, deals with the stress of her father’s kidney failure by vlogging. Her father, Paco (comedian Paul Rodriguez), struggles with dialysis. Not only is Paco’s health failing, so is his handyman business. Fortunately for Paco, he has the support of his wife, Carmencita (Emmy-winner Marabina Jaimes), and their family to help him get through the ups and downs.

Fixing Paco shows the Fuentes family’s vulnerabilities and highlights the strength and determination that ultimately helps them prevail.




THE KIDNEY TRANSPLANT VIDEO NOVELA PROJECT, also referred to as the Fixing Paco Study, is a direct result of lessons learned from providing the One-on-One Program to dialysis patients. Based on patient evaluations and feedback from peer educators over time, MNITF developed a deep understanding of Latino/Hispanic dialysis patients' educational needs in terms of learning more about transplantation.


After determining that culturally sensitive, non-conventional educational tools were needed, MNITF created Fixing Paco, a telenovela-style digital series about kidney transplantation. Fixing Paco aims to inform dialysis patients and their families about the entire kidney transplant process, and teaches patients how to be proactive in their healthcare. Through using an entertaining format, Fixing Paco effectively communicates the essential information patients on dialysis desperately need to know prior to deciding to have a transplant.


The initial project also included an evaluation component to assess the series’ impact on viewers’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about transplantation. Jennifer Unger, Professor of Preventive Medicine at USC Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, led the evaluation to determine the program’s effectiveness. The evaluation at dialysis centers included the completion of a survey by participating patients and their family members before receiving the program and after completing the program.


PUBLICATION: Myriam Forster, Jon-Patrick Allem, Nicole Mendez, Yasir Qazi & Jennifer B. Unger (2016). Evaluation of a telenovela designed to improve knowledge and behavioral intentions among Hispanic patients with end-stage renal disease in Southern California, Ethnicity & Health, 21:1, 58-70, DOI: 10.1080/13557858.2015.1007119. To link to this article, click here.




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