Sansum Diabetes Research Institute logo

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute logo

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute (SDRI) is observing a significant milestone in 2019; the Institute’s 75th anniversary. SDRI was established in May of 1944 by world-renowned medical pioneer Dr. William Sansum, the first American to successfully manufacture insulin in the United States and administer it to patients with diabetes.

Two decades earlier, on May 31, 1922, Dr. Sansum made history treating a terminally ill patient, Charles Cowan, with insulin, saving his life and countless others. Until the discovery of insulin, a diagnosis of diabetes was a death sentence. Dr. Sansum established Santa Barbara as America’s center for advances in diabetes research and treatment.

Dr. Sansum, who earned the nickname “Santa Barbara’s Genius” for his ground-breaking work with insulin, established Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, and is a global leader in diabetes research, education and care.

“The world beat a path to work with Grandpa,” recalled Armand Sansum, the 84-year old grandson of Dr. Sansum. “The country was just overwhelmed with what he was able to contribute to civilization.”

Renowned SDRI physicians who followed in Dr. Sansum’s legendary footsteps have carried on his legacy and important work with other life changing medical breakthroughs over the decades.

Dr. Lois Jovanovic, who served SDRI for over 25 years, developed the protocols adopted around the globe, giving a woman with diabetes the same chance of having a healthy baby as a woman without diabetes,” said Ellen Goodstein, SDRI’s Executive Director. “Before that, women with diabetes had less than a 20% chance of having a healthy baby.”

“In addition to our innovative work on the artificial pancreas, SDRI has expanded into type 2 diabetes with two important programs,” added Goodstein. “Mil Familias, a major research project to understand why diabetes is so common among Latino families, and then establish treatment interventions to reverse the upward trend of this disease, and Farming for Life, a program using “food as medicine” to improve outcomes for those affected by type 2 diabetes.”

In addition to the Mil Familias and Farming for Life programs, SDRI offers a variety of educational programs for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in both English and Spanish. SDRI has pending recognition from the CDC for the Diabetes Prevention Program, and has applied for ADA accreditation for their Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support programs. SDRI also offers education programs in Spanish and English for women with and at risk for gestational diabetes.

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute has a series of celebrations planned throughout the year to commemorate the significant milestone. To learn more about the world-class team at SDRI, ongoing research, clinical trials, and the many programs, classes and resources offered, go to our website