Taking a personal look at diabetes in Guatemala

October 7, 2015. Odette Zero was volunteering in a small Guatemalan town flanked by volcanoes four summers ago when she started to notice a common narrative.

“Diabetes -- it’s endemic,” said the Northwestern University junior. “Many people don’t understand the basics of the disease.”

San Miguel Dueñas, located in south-central Guatemala and unknown to most, is like a second home to Zero, who has returned year after year with her mother, a native of the country.

An anthropology major in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences with a minor in global health, Zero saw an opportunity to help separate fact from fiction on the causes, prevention and treatment of the disease. She spent part of this past summer exploring cultural perceptions of type 2 diabetes through personal stories, or “illness narratives” after receiving an undergraduate research grant. Read more