Watch video of Dr. Hawkins explain what is causing the epidemic, the factors contributing to the disease in the Bronx, and the rewards of her work.
Around the world today, 170 million people are living with diabetes. That number is expected to increase to 370 million in the next 20 years. Health professionals call diabetes an epidemic. The disease requires a lifetime of expensive medication and is deadly to 90 percent of diabetics in developing countries.
According to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 23.6 million children and adults have diabetes in the U.S. One in three children will develop the disease in their lifetime. About 40 percent of people born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes when they become adults.
According to the New York City Department of Health, the Bronx is the borough with the highest death rate for diabetes melitus.
Dr. Meredith Hawkins at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, one of 17 diabetes research centers in the U.S., is trying to do something about it.
“We have a problem that is dwarfing HIV AIDS somewhere between six and ten times, and yet we’re not yet getting an awareness of this to the people that are giving the money,” she says.
Hawkins is director of a program called the Global Diabetes Initiative.
Her team of researchers and physicians have traveled to several developing countries to help find ways to combat the disease . They have teamed up with other universities around the world, as far and wide as Uganda, India and Thailand to increase researching efforts.