University of Alaska Anchorage nursing student Ben McCormack was excited when a professor showed a YouTube video in his pathophysiology class. “She tries to bring in a lot of multimedia stuff to each unit,” he reports. “And ‘Diabetes Rap’ actually has all the information about [type 1] diabetes right in the video.” “The Diabetes Rap,” starring diabetic Luke Widbin, was the 2008 winner of the World Diabetes Day Young Voices video contest, thanks in part to Luke’s willingness to make rhymes like “Sugar overdoses give me ketoacidosis.” With well over 100,000 views, this video does an educational and entertaining job of relating the facts about diabetes. See it here.
More recently, three Temple University students have created a whole YouTube channel dedicated to diabetes. Diabetes Diaries currently features just a few videos, but the channel hopes to serve as a place where people with diabetes can come together to share their stories, struggles, and triumphs. Emily Hooven, who has type 1 diabetes, along with Tom Simon and Matthew Law-Phipps, made the channel for people with both type 1 and type 2. “Our hope is that Diabetes Diaries will provide a kind of release for [people with diabetes], that they can come out with their true thoughts and feelings about the disease via the video,” says Hooven, noting that many she spoke to don’t really talk to anyone about the issues that come with their disease. Whether you have diabetes yourself or have a close relationship with someone who does, Diabetes Diaries can serve as a place to talk about what it means to live life with this condition.
The American Diabetes Association also has a YouTube channel, hosting public service announcements and informational videos. Its Living With Diabetes series is a go-to place for the newly diagnosed, and the whole channel is an excellent resource for friends and colleagues who have questions about the disease.
With increasing numbers of Americans facing diabetes, the issue is gaining attention. From well-known celebrities like Halle Barry and Nick Jonas to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, people with diabetes are front and center in many aspects of life. Media strategies to explain the disease and risk factors, bring focus to research, or simply provide a haven for sufferers to share are increasing. Get involved in the dialog by contributing your story to Diabetes Diaries or passing along links to various resources. The more people know, the better we can do to stem the tide of type 2 diabetes and find a cure for both type 1 and type 2.