Celebrating 100 Years of Lifesaving Insulin

By Giving List Staff   |   November 26, 2022
Today, approximately 1.84 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, and 244,000 of those people are under the age of 20. By 2050, an additional 600,000 people of this age group are expected to have diabetes. As these numbers grow, our research continues to help us better understand the chronic condition.

Dr. William Sansum, renowned diabetes specialist and Sansum Diabetes Research Institute’s (SDRI) founder, was the first U.S. physician to manufacture and administer insulin, saving millions of lives.

Dr. Sansum cared for the gravely-ill diabetes patients in Santa Barbara and conducted diabetes research in the hope of finding a cure. Prior to the discovery of insulin, diabetes was a death sentence. In 1922, Dr. Sansum’s work became a functional cure for diabetes, and his research was on the front page of newspapers across the country. Once the news spread, patients stampeded into Santa Barbara from all over the world for Dr. Sansum’s lifesaving insulin.

Dr. Lois Jovanovic served SDRI for 26 years, and her groundbreaking research resulted in the current global standards for care in diabetes during pregnancy. Today, Dr. Kristin Castorino, SDRI’s Senior Research Physician, continues to advance Dr. Jovanovic’s legacy, and leads our Diabetes in Pregnancy research team.

“Dr. Sansum’s work profoundly changed the landscape for those living with diabetes,” said Ellen Goodstein, Executive Director at SDRI. “Since then, SDRI has celebrated his legacy through our groundbreaking achievements in diabetes research, education, and clinical care.”

Dr. Sansum worked tirelessly to manufacture insulin for his patients and founded SDRI in 1944 to further his groundbreaking work. Dr. Sansum’s enormous contribution to diabetes research and care had an everlasting impact. He paved the way for current and future SDRI researchers to continue their important work impacting the quality of life for people with diabetes.

Today, clinical research for all types of diabetes is at the forefront of SDRI’s mission and gives hope to the global diabetes community. SDRI’s work has led to critical advances in the treatment of diabetes, garnering national and global recognition for breakthroughs in diabetes in pregnancy and artificial pancreas technology.

“As SDRI looks to the future, we will expand our work in diabetes in pregnancy research, artificial pancreas technology, and move forward with new initiatives that look to metabolism and nutrition as new areas that hold the promise of breakthrough research,” said Dr. Samuel Klein, SDRI’s Chief Scientific Officer. “This research will take us beyond glucose control and create evidence-based solutions to improve metabolic health and multi-organ system function related to all forms of diabetes.”

SDRI continues to be leaders in diabetes research as well as addressing the growing health disparities for underrepresented populations affected by diabetes. Additionally, the priority in providing high-quality clinical care to children and adults impacted by diabetes will not waiver.  

“SDRI remains steadfast to its mission,” said Goodstein. “In 2021 alone, 4,510 people participated in clinical trials at SDRI. The diabetes in pregnancy team assisted 158 women navigate the difficult road of a pregnancy complicated by diabetes. SDRI is incredibly grateful for the philanthropic support for new ideas, new research, and the opportunity to continue Dr. Sansum’s legacy.”

Today over 37 million Americans live with diabetes and the important work in diabetes research continues. Your support helps make it possible for SDRI to continue their promise to improve the lives of people impacted by diabetes through research, education, and clinical care.


Sansum Diabetes Research Institute

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(805)682-7640 ext. 246
Director of Development: Kara Hornbuckle


Dedicated to improving the lives of people impacted by diabetes through research, education, and care.

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Living with type 1 diabetes since age seven made my journey to motherhood uniquely challenging. Thankfully, I found invaluable support and care at SDRI through the exceptional guidance of Dr. Kristin Castorino. Throughout my pregnancy, Dr. Castorino’s weekly meetings extended beyond diabetes management; she genuinely cared about my emotional well-being. Our hour-long one-on-one sessions demonstrated the exceptional level of care I received. Working with Dr. Castorino at SDRI felt serendipitous. Her close collaboration with the late Dr. Lois Jovanovic, SDRI’s visionary Chief Scientific Officer, whose pioneering work transformed diabetes care during pregnancy, was profoundly meaningful. Dr. Castorino’s unwavering support turned my dream of motherhood into a beautiful reality.

Halle Wray, SDRI Patient

Our $20 Million Campaign in the Fight Against Diabetes – Every Dollar Counts

“Creating a state-of-the-art research facility is critical for our future,” adds Hornbuckle. “Much of our facility has not been updated since the 1960s. Our team is seeking philanthropic support to make our future possible.”

Part of our campaign will also support the recruitment of healthcare professionals whose dedication will help bring about a positive transformation for people with all types of diabetes, explained Dr. Klein.

“We can make significant progress, yet it is imperative that we enhance our capabilities to further engage in groundbreaking work.” said Dr. Klein.

To learn more about SDRI’s $20 million campaign, please visit https://www.sansum.org/campaign.

Key Supporters

Ann Jackson Family Foundation
Barker Foundation
Jerry and Geri Bidwell
Timothy and Louise Casey
Tom and Nancy Crawford
Virgil Elings
Norman Kurland
and Deborah David
La Centra Sumerlin Foundation
Fred and Joyce Lukas
Mosher Foundation
The Ogle Family
The Paskin Family Foundation
The Radaz Family
The Redman Family
Robert and Ruth Reingold
Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree
Matthew and Natalie Rowe
Santa Barbara Foundation
William K. Bowes, Jr.
Etty Yenni