It Takes 2 Remix: Rob Base Lends His 1988 Classic To a New Chronic Kidney Disease Health Initiative

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Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly's "It Takes 2" campaign, featuring a remix by hip-hop artist Rob Base, promotes early diagnosis and testing for chronic kidney disease, aiming to reduce complications, including infections.

With over 35 million adults in the US suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) and a staggering 90% of them being unaware of their condition, more awareness must be made about early diagnosis and testing for kidney disease.

Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) have launched the "It Takes 2" campaign to promote a new health initiative. This health initiative aims to highlight the significance of taking early action to reduce the risk of serious complications, including infections.

This cause is significant to Rob Base as his friend and collaborator, DJ E-Z Rock, passed away due to complications from diabetes. E-Z Rock remixed his popular song to raise awareness about the importance of early diagnosis and testing for kidney disease.

Rob Base     (Photo credit of It Takes 2 initiative)

Rob Base

(Photo credit of It Takes 2 initiative)

“I am excited about my collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim and Lily to reinvent my 1988 classic hit “It Takes Two” for their health campaign,” Rob Base told Infection Control Today® (ICT®) exclusively. “I am honored they chose me for this partnership, especially when Hip Hop is celebrating its 50th year. This cause has a great deal of meaning to me, given that I’ve lost good friends to complications from type 2 diabetes, which is a main risk factor for kidney disease. Music is a strong motivator, and my hope is... “It Takes 2 - The Remix" will help bring more awareness of the risks of CKD, and people will understand the importance of putting their kidney health first.”

To learn more about this health campaign, ICT® spoke with Charles Vega, MD, family medicine specialist and director of Irvine’s Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community, who discussed the initiative and the complications that CKD can cause, including the infections that are all-too-often seen with patients with CKD.

ICT also asked Noelle Bush, director of renal marketing, C-R-M Franchise, at Boehringer Ingelheim, about the main goals and objectives of the It Takes 2 health initiative.

Find the new videos and access educational resources on the It Takes 2 website at TestYourKidneys.com and as a health care professionals’ version of the site at CKDtesting.com.

ICT: Can you explain the main goals and objectives of the It Takes 2 health initiative and why it is crucial in kidney disease awareness?

Dr. Vega, Thema (patient), Rob Base on the set of the video.    (Photo credit of It Takes 2 initiative)

Dr. Vega, Thema (patient), Rob Base on the set of the video.

(Photo credit of It Takes 2 initiative)

Noelle Bush: The approach of It Takes 2 is unique in that it addresses the critical need for complete chronic kidney disease (CKD) testing with dual messaging that speaks directly to both health care professionals, as well as at-risk adults.

The initiative is a call to action, particularly for those who have type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure and are at greater risk for CKD, to understand that It Takes 2—you and a health care professional—to detect the disease. It also encourages health care professionals to follow clinical guidelines and proactively screen for CKD with 2 tests, an eGFR blood test commonly included in kidney panels and a uACR urine test, to get the full picture of their patients’ kidney health.

With more than 35 million adults in the US affected by CKD, there has never been a better time to elevate public awareness. Most of those who have this disease – a staggering 90% – are not even aware of it, as there are often no symptoms in the early stages. This points to the need for greater education about the importance of early testing and diagnosis.

Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) recognize these unmet needs and create the health initiative to shed light on the unknown nature of CKD and the benefits of regular comprehensive screenings to reduce the potential for long-term complications.

ICT: Could you share more about the collaboration with hip-hop artist Rob Base and how his involvement is helping promote the importance of complete testing for kidney disease?

NB: What a thrill to team up with a musical icon! For the launch of It Takes 2, we wanted to capture people’s attention and to help do this, we tapped into the resurgence of nostalgia sweeping pop culture. With hip-hop’s 50th anniversary also being celebrated this [past] year, Rob Base became an ideal choice to help bring the initiative’s mission to life by recreating his ‘80s hit “It Takes 2” in an engaging way that resonates across audiences.

While released decades ago, if you fast forward to today, the sentiment of this song, which declared “it takes 2 to make a thing go right,” still rings true—especially when it comes to managing kidney health. We worked with Rob to reimagine the lyrics and collaborated on 2 new music videos for at-risk adults and health care professionals, which puts a modern spin on the beloved classic. Rob created a memorable testament to “It Takes 2” as well as DJ E-Z Rock, his friend and collaborator, who passed away due to complications from diabetes, a main risk factor for kidney disease. Rob’s personal connection to the cause made our partnership that much more profound.

The rewritten lyrics reinforce the initiative’s messaging and empower people to not only listen but take action. By turning "It Takes 2" into "It Takes 2 – The Remix," Rob is helping us reach our key audiences to spotlight the significance of complete CKD testing, which means using both eGFR and UACR tests. Music is a great unifier, and we were excited to leverage its power to help amplify awareness.

ICT: What specific educational resources and content does “It Takes 2” provide for both health care professionals and adults at risk for chronic kidney disease?

NB: The It Takes 2 resources are tailored for our key audiences and provide information to help them prioritize their kidney health, including requesting from their doctor 1 simple urine test (UACR) to ensure they receive complete CKD testing. These were designed to help adults understand the risks associated with kidney disease and to further educate health care professionals on unique considerations for testing adults at increased risk of developing it.

ICT: How does It Takes 2 address the issue of underdiagnosed kidney disease, especially among those with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure?

NB: More than 1 in 7 US adults are affected by CKD, and the majority of them are undiagnosed. It Takes 2 recognizes this public health crisis and aims to prompt action among at-risk adults and those who treat them to drive earlier testing and help transform outcomes.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are responsible for up to 2-thirds of kidney disease cases, and many people may not have symptoms, which is why it’s known as the “silent killer.” The need for greater awareness is grounded in data that shows significant issues exist in the care of adults who are at an increased risk for CKD. Most of them are not receiving a comprehensive screening, even though regular eGFR and UACR testing​ can drive earlier diagnosis and, in turn, treatment​.

Early testing is a considerable gap in care that can detrimentally impact at-risk adults, because once symptoms develop, some degree of irreversible kidney damage may have already occurred. It Takes 2 is tackling this issue head-on by giving people the knowledge and motivation to understand the risks of kidney disease and talk about it with their doctor.

Kidney disease also impacts people at different rates. Unfortunately, Black and Latin Americans are disproportionately burdened by CKD and are likely to have a greater incidence of risk factors and disparities in primary care. For instance, when compared with white Americans, Black Americans are 3 times more likely to have kidney failureandLatin Americans are 1.3 times more likely.

Education and access to the right resources can help close these gaps, and our hope is that It Takes 2 will provide support for people who are at risk and who are disproportionately impacted. Using 2 tests to screen adults can potentially help address disparities in diagnosis and care.

ICT: Can you elaborate on the significance of using both eGFR and UACR tests in detecting and managing chronic kidney disease and how “It Takes 2” encourages their adoption?

NB: Clinical guidelines recommend that health care professionals screen for CKD using both an eGFR test that measures how well kidneys filter the blood and helps determine the stage of kidney disease, in addition to the UACR test, which measures the ratio of a protein in the blood to waste in the urine and can help predict the outcome of kidney disease. There are several benefits of using 2 tests. UACR, when combined with eGFR, can help detect and treat CKD early, thereby helping stage and stratify risk of progression, cardiovascular events, kidney failure and death.

Noelle Bush, director of renal marketing, C-R-M Franchise, at Boehringer Ingelheim  (Photo credit of It Takes 2 Initiative)

Noelle Bush, director of renal marketing, C-R-M Franchise, at Boehringer Ingelheim

(Photo credit of It Takes 2 Initiative)

Despite these guidelines, recent data reveals that less than 20% of adults with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure received guideline-concordant testing. This is why our initiative is focused on bringing attention to the importance and simplicity of adding UACR testing to people’s health plans. Many adults only receive an eGFR, which is typically part of routine blood tests, yet this test only tells half the story. For more information, people can view a visual heat map of the different stages of CKD on the initiative’s website at TestYourKidneys.com.

ICT: What are the potential long-term benefits of this health initiative in terms of reducing the burden of kidney disease, and what are your plans to expand its reach?

NB: While there is still a lot of work to be done to help people realize better health outcomes, education and access to the right resources is a critical step forward in improving the treatment of the at-risk population. The purpose of It Takes 2 is to empower at-risk adults to feel confident advocating for themselves to receive comprehensive kidney disease screenings – while empowering health care professionals to be receptive to providing them.

With disease education, people can advocate for early testing because identifying CKD sooner may help reduce the risk of serious complications down the road. People who are at risk need to know the propensity of CKD to go undetected to heighten urgency and personalization.

The launch of It Takes 2, with the roll-out of the initiative’s website and the remix release, set the stage for its expansion in 2024, and we look forward to evolving it throughout the year with meaningful new tactics that further emphasize the need for early CKD testing and diagnosis. As Rob Base says in the remix, knowledge is power, and by providing information that people need when it comes to their kidney health, we’re hopeful that it will help suppress the growing burden of this disease.

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