People to Know 2015: Santosh Gupta, MD
Odds are that an Indian child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, stigmatized and without adequate medical care, will not live long.
“Those are the odds I am determined to beat,” Santosh Gupta, MD, said to me as we had lunch one day in 2011. We were discussing her recent efforts in northern India to help save children struggling with type 1 diabetes.
After traveling to rural India years before and seeing the inadequate health care, she felt a calling and decided to act. She retired from her pediatric endocrinology practice of 37 years (where I was one of her patients) and, with her husband, started the nonprofit Manav Seva Foundation, which serves individuals with diabetes in northern India’s resource-poor communities.
Today, she has trained a team of physicians, a diabetes educator, and a community worker to provide comprehensive diabetes care.
Santosh has not stopped there. Witnessing the success of diabetes self-management education and its critical need in India, she started the Certified Diabetes Educator India program with International Diabetes Federation recognition.
In addition to inspiring many in India, Santosh inspired me to found Penpals United and connect children in resource-poor communities around the world with diabetes mentors. Her work has served as a model for providing diabetes care in places without the resources needed to maintain health. And her incredible work ethic, determination, and caring heart will break down more barriers in the years to come.
Jack Terschluse, a political science major in his senior year at Washington University in St. Louis, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2005. Six years later, he founded Penpals United, a nonprofit that provides online support groups and pen pal opportunities to more than 250 kids and teens with type 1 diabetes around the world.