More than 350 supporters of the William Sansum Diabetes Center (WSDC) turned out on Saturday, August 27, for the 14th annual Taste of the Vine fundraiser held at QAD Inc. on the picturesque bluffs of Summerland.
The fundraiser supports the education, care, and research programs at the Sansum Center. “Diabetes is the health epidemic of our time,” said WSDC executive director Ellen Goodstein. “If left unchecked, it will affect one in three people in our community in the next 20 years.” The cost of treating diabetes is staggering — 20 percent of all health-care spending in the U.S. goes to diabetes patients.
Guests mingled on the expansive outdoor balcony and on the spacious grounds at QAD, enjoying the panoramic ocean views while sampling offerings from fine wineries, breweries, and food purveyors. Bacara’s executive chef, Vincent Lesage, and the executive chef for the Bistro Restaurant at Bacara, Jeff O’Brien, were both on hand, serving pork carnitas. The Collins Jazz Tonic Band provided soothing standard and Brazilian jazz music throughout the afternoon.
Goodstein welcomed the supporters, and KEYT senior news reporter John Palminteri rallied the crowd for an entertaining live auction.
The entire event, including the live and silent auctions, netted $75,000.
The WSDC (formerly known as the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute) develops new treatment protocols and tests new drugs and medical devices for their efficacy and safety. The center is known for its work in the field of diabetes and pregnancy and for its ongoing work in the development of artificial pancreas technology, which strives to enable patients to have automated glucose control. The center also provides direct clinical care to patients, including free services to thousands of uninsured Santa Barbara County residents, and offers diabetes and nutrition education.
Dr. David Kerr, director of research and innovation, has designed an exciting new project aimed at reducing diabetes and cardiovascular disease among the regional Latino population. Under the Santa Barbara 1,000 Project, 1,000 Latino families on the Central Coast will be followed during the next 10 years to help determine why the incidence of diabetes is higher among this ethnic group. The project is run by a consortium led by the WSDC that includes UC Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, and Westmont Downtown.
It will look at nontraditional factors such as crime, poverty, transport, temperature, air pollution, and food choices and their impact on diabetes risk, in addition to known factors such as blood pressure, excess weight gain, inactivity, and family history. The project is the first of its kind in the nation, and there has been wide support from academia, major technology companies, and the health insurance industry. The consortium is close to raising the necessary seed funding for a 2017 start.
Another exciting initiative that Kerr designed is Tu Puedes, a smartphone app for women contemplating pregnancy. Operating from the premise that “you are what your mother ate,” the app seeks to modify behavior in women before pregnancy. According to Kerr, the womb atmosphere is of critical importance, and modifying behavior before pregnancy is the most cost-effective approach to health improvement. The WSDC is also the lead on this project, working with the same three entities as the Santa Barbara 1,000 project, and with the U.K. start-up, yoodoo.biz. The consortium has completed the user evaluation and is now bringing together key stakeholders interested in testing its use.
For more information on the William Sansum Diabetes Center, go to http://sansum.org
By Gail Arnold