Sansum gets $90,000 diabetes grant

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute (SDRI) received a $90,000 multi-year grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation to support the construction of a new Diabetes Research & Care Center, said Rochelle Rose, Director of Development.

The grant brings the total amount raised to date to $1.8 million toward the $2.7 million capital campaign goal.

Phase 1 of the renovation of the 5,000 square-foot patient care facility at 2219 Bath St. began in October and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2005. The state-of-the-art center will include a new community education center, metabolic training kitchen, medical procedure/surgical laboratory, and offices for a new diabetes educator, nutritionist, and pediatric endocrinologist.

Approximately 17,000 people in the Santa Barbara area have diabetes, Rose said.

One of the research projects in progress at SDRI involves identifying risk factors for Type 2 diabetes in local youth. With the increase in obesity and inactivity among teens, this type of diabetes (which involves resistance to the normal action of insulin by body tissues) is becoming more prevalent.

“We are seeing if we can develop a very simple test using a finger-stick blood sample …. to select out those high school students who look like they’re at particular risk of having the disease,” said Dr. David Pettitt, who heads up the project team.

Eating healthy food and living a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to prevent diabetes at any age. “Every invention of mankind is designed to let us do something with a lower energy expenditure. And it’s just getting to the point where we’re doing less and less,” said Pettitt.

“People can develop little tricks, like instead of driving all the way to work or all the way to school, they can park a mile away like I do and walk a mile twice a day,” he said.

SDRI offers free community education and diabetes prevention classes year-round. For more information on programs or to donate to the capital campaign call 682.7638 or visit

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on November 18, 2004.