Sansum Diabetes Research Institute (SDRI) is enjoying a milestone this month with the 100th anniversary of the organization’s founder, Dr. William Sansum, arrival in Santa Barbara.
On Nov. 8, 1920, Dr. Sansum arrived in Santa Barbara by train with his wife, Mabel, and their 6-year-old son, Donald. Dr. Sunsum immediately committed himself and his skills to improving the lives of people living with diabetes.
The following day after his arrival in Santa Barbara, Dr. Sansum was introduced as the new Director of the Potter Metabolic Clinic at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he told his new staff, “The outlook for medical research is brighter than at any time in history.”
Eighteen months later, Dr. Sansum made history by administering to one of his diabetes patients the first American-made insulin, that he painstakingly produced in his laboratory. By the third day of doses, that dying man, Charles Cowan, tested sugar-free and regained his health with regular insulin injections. He lived to the age of 90.
“I will never forget seeing my first palm trees, roses and geraniums blooming on all sides, a cloudless blue sky over the mountain range behind the city,” Dr. Sansum recalled. “All that and the Pacific Ocean. You have no idea the visual impact all this beauty had on newcomers from Chicago. We became instant Barbareños!”
— Gerry Fall