Bad Sugar, 2008

Bad Sugar: Episode 3 of the national PBS series “Unnatural Causes: Is Society Making Us Sick?” 2008.

Producer/Director/Co-DP   Dupont-Columbia Broadcast Journalism Award.

The Pima and Tohono O’odham Indians of southern Arizona have arguably the highest rates of Type 2 diabetes in the world. A century ago, the disease was virtually unknown here, but the subsequent diversion of river water destroyed farms and traditional ways, plunging local tribes into poverty and dependence. A sense of “futurelessness” took hold. And so did diabetes.

Decades of medical interventions have not stemmed the tide, not only among Native Americans but globally. In 2004 the Pima finally won back their water rights and are beginning to farm again. Community leaders are cautiously optimistic that community empowerment and sustainable and culturally appropriate development can restore prosperity, hope, and health.

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