Diabetes Literacy Campaign Wins WHO Initiative

On Dean Schillinger's "The Bigger Picture"

Last year the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the NCD LAB, an initiative leveraging community-driven grassroots innovations with the potential to be game changers in beating non-communicable diseases including diabetes. Since its launch, nearly 100 innovative projects have been submitted to the NCD Lab.

One of the winning selections is The Bigger Picture campaign—co-founded by affiliate faculty member Dean Schillinger, MD, ⁠and initially funded in part by a gift from Joanne Kagle's Diabetes Family Fund through Diabetes Center—which encourages young people to use language, metaphor, and imagery to improve public health literacy and creatively expose the drivers of Type 2 Diabetes in marginalized and low-income communities in the United States of America.

In dedicated writing workshops, artists aged 14-19 years from marginalized and low-income communities learn about the environmental and socioeconomic inequities contributing to the diabetes epidemic with the help of a public health expert. Monica Mendoza is one of the young artists participating in the program. In a poem that she wrote, she criticizes the advertising campaigns for sugary drinks targeting the Latino community, particularly the portrayal of sugary beverages as an essential part of a happy family gathering. The poem highlights cheap sugary sweetened beverages and other unhealthy products that she sees families buying.

The majority of this article has been excerpted by this World Health Organization article