PORTRAITS OF AN EPIDEMIC


This digital series dives into the lives of individuals who have been affected by diabetes: people living with or caring for someone with the disease, or working on the frontlines of research into managing and eventually curing diabetes. Each episode is an intimate portrait of one person, and their story points to important themes and lessons from the PBS project.

DR. VALERIE BLUE BIRD JERNIGAN - portrait

DR. VALARIE BLUE BIRD JERNIGAN

Dr. Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, see diabetes as “the tip of the iceberg” of health problems in Native communities.

MONTEIL LEE - portrait

MONTEIL LEE

Diabetes care is a mix of big and little choices, every day, as Monteil Lee discovers – and choosing right or wrong can be critical.

GRETCHEN CARVAJAL - portrait

GRETCHEN CARVAJAL

Reaching the increasing number of children being diagnosed with diabetes can be difficult. Gretchen Carvajal is a poet mentor at an innovative program in San Francisco.

THE SMITH-HOLT FAMILY - portrait

THE SMITH-HOLT FAMILY

What happens when you can’t afford your insulin? For the Smith-Holt family, the answer to this question was tragic.

KAREN WASHINGTON - portrait

KAREN WASHINGTON

For Karen Washington, it’s obvious: bringing healthy foods to her community is a social justice issue, and she’s a committed activist.

NICOLE - portrait

NICOLE

Managing diabetes on a daily basis can be complicated, especially since it’s a silent disease – it doesn’t “hurt.” Many young people find it’s tempting to just ignore their doctors

ED DAMIANO - portrait

ED DAMIANO

When Ed’s infant son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Ed found his life’s work: inventing an artificial or “bionic” pancreas.

LAURA GREUSER - portrait

LAURA GRUESER

Laura Grueser loves cooking and sharing food, a key part of Appalachian culture, but she was surprised to find out how little her diabetes patients knew about eating right.

TRACEY TIRADO-VASQUEZ

From her diagnosis to her life in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see first-hand the lengths to which Tracey must go to manage this life-threatening disease.