GARDENA — Keiro will present a free health seminar focused on issues related to chronic kidney disease at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute (GVJCI) on Sunday, March 22, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Speakers, including health professionals, will provide an overview of chronic kidney disease and discuss options to manage the condition along with ways to prevent it. More than 20 million adults age 20 or older in the U.S. have kidney disease and most don’t know it.

Iku Kiriyama
Iku Kiriyama

Given the impact of chronic kidney disease among Japanese Americans, Keiro is targeting the Japanese American community with this informational seminar. A recent California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) for 2011-2012 conducted by UCLA Center for Health Policy Research indicates a prevalence of hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and heart disease in Japanese American adults in California at or above levels for the state overall. Two of those conditions, diabetes and high blood pressure, are the leading causes of kidney disease.

Motivated by her own health experiences, community volunteer Iku Kiriyama reached out to Keiro for assistance in organizing a program to benefit others in the community who are similarly seeking information and resources to improve their health.

“I began doing forums in 2006 after my husband died, mostly with professionals in the field, to share my negative experiences as a way to turn them into positives for those who attend,” said Kiriyama. “After I found out last April that I will eventually have to go on dialysis, I was taken by surprise as I was not told this was what chronic kidney disease could lead to, and I asked Dianne Belli, CAO of Keiro, to help me put a program together.”

Featured speakers include Dean A. Kujubu, MD, staff nephrologist and Nephrology Fellowship Program director at Kaiser Permanente, and Mika Sugano-Isa, MS, RD, renal dietitian at Kaiser Permanente, who will present information on kidney disease prevention, proper diet, and ways to prevent other chronic conditions including diabetes and high blood pressure. Kiriyama will also share her experiences and the importance of preventative care.

For over a decade, Keiro has been presenting a variety of health-related programs in the community, including Vitality Forums, wellness promotion/health education programs, seminars, and workshops, supporting healthy lifestyles and vitality across the lifespan, and Lifelong Learning Courses, targeted research-based education to empower older adults to age in the place of their choice with better health, more independence and a higher quality of life.

Commenting on Keiro’s growing role with health programming in the community, Keiro Chief Administrative Officer Dianne Kujubu Belli, MPH, FACHE stated, “Keiro is committed to enhancing wellness for older adults in our community building on our legacy of care and support for seniors and their families. Working in collaboration with groups, temples, churches, and organizations like GVJCI, Keiro is expanding this support beyond the walls of our facilities to positively impact the well-being of our community.”

Individuals concerned about diabetes and high blood pressure or caregiving for a loved one with these conditions are encouraged to attend. This seminar is made possible through support by Kaiser Permanente and Keiro Endowment Fund and will be held in the GVJCI’s Nisei Veterans Memorial Hall, located at 1964 W. 162nd St. Admission is free, but reservations are required. For additional information and to RSVP, contact Mei Kameda at (213) 873-5710 or

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