Schmidt ’93 Investigates Diabetes Care in Haiti

Benno Schmidt ’93

Benno Schmidt ’93, host of dLife (CNBC), the only TV series dedicated to people with diabetes, began the April 15 episode by telling his viewers, “I recently spent a week in Haiti, investigating the state of health care, particularly for those with diabetes, two years after the earthquake. I came away deeply humbled by what we found.”

The episode included remarks by U.N. Special Envoy and President Bill Clinton, actor and humanitarian Sean Penn, and model and humanitarian Petra Nemcova, as well as members of the new government of Haiti and physicians dedicated to treating those with diabetes in Haiti.

“The main finding was that many Haitians do better than their American counterparts because they simply don’t have the option to gorge on carb-heavy fast-food horrors,” Schmidt notes. “And, because Haitians walk everywhere, they are in better shape than overweight Americans, who contribute to the worldwide epidemic of obesity and diabetes,” but adds an important caveat: “This is, of course, assuming Haitians have access to insulin and food—not a safe assumption there.”

The physicians Schmidt interviews tell of children who died in the days after the earthquake when insulin was unavailable.

Visiting a tent hospital, Schmidt talks with Dr. Elder Pierre who says, “I think that some people in the United States got diabetes because they are eating too much. In Haiti, I think that they are not eating well. If you are living in the United States or in Haiti, you have to eat the healthful food.”

To watch the episode and to learn more about dLife, go here.

To read a profile piece on Benno Schmidt in Wesleyan magazine (2010, issue iii) “A Sense of Purpose,” go here.