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Diagnosing the Legacy: The Discovery, Research, and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes in Indigenous Youth
Krotz, Larry
University of Manitoba Press / Softcover / 2018-03-01 / 0887558232
Aboriginal Issues / Medicine: General Medicine
price: $24.95
192 pages
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In the late 1980s, pediatric endocrinologists at the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg began to notice a new cohort appearing in their clinics for young people with diabetes.

Indigenous youngsters from two First Nations in northern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario were showing up not with type 1 (or insulin-dependent diabetes), but with what looked like type 2 diabetes, until then a condition that was restricted to people much older. Investigation led the doctors to learn that something similar had become a medical issue among young people of the Pima Indian Nation in Arizona though, to their knowledge, nobody else.

But these youth were just the tip of the iceberg. Over the next few decades more children would confront what was turning into not only a medical but also a social and community challenge.

"Diagnosing the Legacy" is the story of communities, researchers, and doctors who faced—and continue to face—something never seen before: type 2 diabetes in younger and younger people. Through dozens of interviews, Krotz shows the impact of the disease on the lives of individuals and families as well as the challenges caregivers faced diagnosing and then responding to the complex and perplexing disease, especially in communities far removed from the medical personnel a facilities available in the city.


Diagnosing the Legacy vividly describes the impact of this ‘new disease’ on the lives of individuals and communities and outlines clinicians’ attempts to diagnose, treat, and control it. It illustrates the limits of biomedicine in dealing with the totality of the personal and communal costs of this public health crisis and highlights the need to recognize and to integrate traditional ways and knowledge in an effort to counter it.”

– J.T.H. Connor, Professor, History of Medicine, Memorial University

“The United Nations-sponsored World Health Organization (WHO) has declared type 2 diabetes a rapidly growing epidemic. Diagnosing the Legacy addresses this complex issue through interviews with members of the reserves of Island Lake (St. Theresa Point, Garden Hill, Red Sucker Lake) in Northern Manitoba and Sandy Lake in Northern Ontario. Krotz also interviews local health-care providers, including retired pediatric endocrinologist, Dr. Heather Dean; researcher, Jonathan McGavock; Dr. Ron Mundy; and professor and physician, Dr. Michael Moffatt. Their stories personalize the struggles of those living with the disease and the ways in which communities are working together to address this epidemic.”

– Peggy Archer, The Diabetes Communicator

About the Author:

Larry Krotz is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and author of five previous books, including Midlifeman and Tourists, which looks at how mass tourism is changing the world. Over the past 25 years he has travelled to a number of African countries, where he produced the documentary film, Searching for Hawa’s Secret, and wrote extensively for magazines and newspapers on scientific research and foreign aid projects. Originally from Winnipeg, he currently lives in Toronto.

Other contributors: Frances Desjarlais, Heather Dean, Jonathan McGavock, Michael Moffatt, Elizabeth Sellers.

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