Dr. William David Sansum, founder of the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, was born in 1880. He started pursuing his goal of being a doctor at Rush Medical College at the University of Chicago. Cottage Hospital’s board of trustees invited him to Santa Barbara to become the new Director of the Potter Metabolic Clinic.
While Dr. Sansum was pursuing diabetes research in the early 1920’s, other researchers were doing the same and successfully treated animals and ultimately humans with an extract they developed. They named their extract “insulin”, from the Latin for “island”, referring to the Islets of Langerhans found in the pancreas. In Santa Barbara, Dr. Sansum decided to pursue the same direction— the production of insulin from animal pancreases. Researchers everywhere were trying to develop better methods and to increase purity and strength for use in humans with limited amounts of insulin available. On May 31, 1922; after two years of research the first American patient was injected with U.S.-made insulin at the Potter Clinic.
In 1928, Dr. Sansum decided to form his own clinic group with a staff of five. Later, Dr. Sansum was encouraged to build a clinic on Pueblo Street. Dr. Sansum retired from active practice in 1942, but continued his research efforts. In 1944 he founded the Sansum Clinic Foundation. Later the Foundation’s name was changed to Sansum Medical Research Foundation and to Sansum Diabetes Research Institute.
Learn more about the history of Sansum Diabetes Research Institute here.
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