Diabetes Forecast

People to Know: Jenny Mackenzie, PhD

By Bennett Dunlap ,

In her upcoming documentary Sugar Babies, filmmaker and former family therapist Jenny Mackenzie attempts to answer a question she poses to her young, newly diagnosed daughter on-screen: What is diabetes? Her daughter defines diabetes as "finger pricks and shots … and stuff." Jenny aims for a more comprehensive definition, exploring global trends, expert opinions, and personal stories side by side.

Jenny describes Sugar Babies as a film about all of us—those who live with any type of diabetes as well as people without the disease. While explaining new routines and complicated medical terms to friends and family gets easier, explaining the emotional toll the disease takes does not. The film explores this through families dealing with diabetes, and they're the real heart of the film.

Jenny also illustrates the disconnect between families living with diabetes and the public at large through a series of man-on-the-street interviews that reveal how misinformed most people are about the disease. Jenny knows diabetes is much more than "finger pricks and shots," and by using character-driven stories to help define the "stuff" of the disease, she hopes to educate and shift the sense of blame away from individuals.

Bennett Dunlap is an ADA volunteer and a father of four, including two teens with type 1 diabetes. He blogs at Your Diabetes May Vary.



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