Staff Report

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute (SDRI) announced on April 10 the creation of three vital resources to assist the local Latino diabetes community during the Coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19/Coronavirus is a serious threat to everyone, especially Hispanic and Latino people with diabetes.

“In the current COVID-19 crisis we are seeing extraordinary numbers of people with diabetes around the world having poor outcomes from the infection,” said Dr. David Kerr, Director of Research and Innovation at SDRI. “Because of this, we need to look closely at what we can do to prevent someone with diabetes becoming unwell with COVID-19.” 

The situation is especially dire right here in our community, explains Dr. Kerr.

“In Santa Barbara County, in the Hispanic and Latino population, the rates of diabetes are almost double that of the background population in the United States,” he said.

In response to the disproportionate impact and the information gap facing Latinos, SDRI, a global leader in diabetes research, education and clinical care, is stepping up by developing three new trustworthy resources to help in this special time of need.

  1. SDRI’s free, bilingual web resource – – provides relevant, up-to-date diabetes information and daily updates in Spanish and English on what Latinos with diabetes should know and do about avoiding and/or treating COVID-19.
  2. SDRI’s new Latino Diabetes Helpline – 805-350-8730 – means that answers to individual questions and concerns about diabetes and/or COVID-19 are just a phone call away. This new 24/7 Helpline is staffed by experienced bilingual SDRI diabetes care experts.
  3. SDRI’s bilingual community health workers are conducting a phone contact campaign to reach out to SDRI patients and participants, especially those with recent high blood sugar readings, to check on their well-being, share knowledge and resources, encourage healthy practices, and combat the loneliness that comes with social isolation.

 “Diabetes is a very lonely disease and it is so important for us to support people at this difficult time when you have a lot of anxiety and worry about diabetes and what the effects of the virus might have,” Kerr said.

SDRI’s goal is to help people control their diabetes as well as possible, especially at this time, which will dramatically reduce their chance of becoming infected with COVID-19, because uncontrolled diabetes is shown to impair one’s immune response.

 “Preventing even one person from ending up in critical care has major health and economic benefits for everyone,” Kerr added.

We invite you to go to or for more information on COVID-19 and diabetes.