Governor Abbott picks SA doctor to head state Chronic Kidney Disease Task Force

Dr. Francis Wright has spent 27 years in San Antonio developing kidney transplant services

SAN ANTONIO – Chronic kidney disease affects more than 1 in 7 U.S. adults, with Texas ranking fourth when it comes to kidney failure.

That’s why Governor Greg Abbott re-imposed the state’s Chronic Kidney Disease Task Force.

Abbott just announced the task force chairman, prestigious kidney disease expert Dr. Francis Wright from San Antonio.

“It’s quite an honor and a challenge,” Dr. Wright said.

It’s a challenge 40 years in the making.

That’s how long Wright has been working on kidney disease, the majority of that time developing transplant services at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital in San Antonio.

He even performed former Spurs player Sean Elliot’s kidney transplant 20 years ago.

Now, he’s stepping out of the OR and into a directorial role.

“My main goal is to bring all of the stakeholders together that deal with chronic kidney disease. There are many treatments that can slow or stop the progression of kidney disease. Sometimes primary care doctors may not realize are available,” Wright said.

Another huge goal is dialysis and transplantation access in a state that’s mainly rural.

“Many people in rural parts of Texas have to deal with some type of home dialysis or they have to travel sometimes several hours three times a week to obtain treatment,” Wright said.

He said many different things can contribute to kidney disease and kidney failure.

“The major issues in Texas are number one, diabetes, particularly adult-onset type II in our Hispanic population. And hypertension in our African American population in the Houston and Dallas area is more frequent. But it can affect anyone of any age,” he said.

Wright wants patients to know their options and have access to all care, so they never end up in kidney failure needing a transplant.

He called the task force job an “open appointment” with no set time period, saying he plans to remain the chair until he sees some of his goals met.

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About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.