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Major New Study On Latinos And Diabetes Kicks Off In Santa Barbara County


Santa Barbara County is going to be home base for what researchers hope will be a groundbreaking new study on the causes behind the higher-than-average rate of diabetes among Latinos.

Diabetes is an epidemic in America. The percentages are even higher in the Latino population. In Santa Barbara County, diabetes cases increased 41% in the Latino population in the last decade.

Now, the Sansum Center is spearheading a decade-long study which researchers hope will answer some key questions about the high numbers.

Dr. David Kerr is the Director of Research and Innovation for the Diabetes Center. He says while blame is commonly associated with bad diets and a lack of exercise, Kerr says they really need to look past that, to things like genetics and environmental factors. He says by considering all of the potential factors together, they are hoping to develop a better insight into why diabetes numbers among Latinos are so high.

The project is being called “Santa Barbara One Thousand,” because the goal is to have a thousand families involved. The first phase just getting underway calls for recruiting 100 adults with type two diabetes, and then expanding to 500 families.

The project involves a coalition of more than a half dozen community groups, like the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics. Eli Lilly and Company, which introduces the world’s first commercial insulin for diabetes treatment in the 1920’s, is providing five years of funding for the research, with an option to fund the second five years as well.

Officials with the Sansum Diabetes Center say it’s fitting that they are at the center of the cutting edge research. The Santa Barbara Center was founded in 1944 by Dr. William Sansum, the first U.S. doctor to administer insulin to a diabetic.