The Bigger Picture is a collaboration between the CENTER FOR VULNERABLE POPULATIONS and YOUTH SPEAKS to end Type 2 diabetes in young people. The Bigger Picture empowers youth to raise their voices to change the conversation about Type 2 diabetes by exposing and working to change the social and environmental factors that have led to its spread. The campaign has educated over 2400 public Bay Area high school students, 40 youth poet mentors and over 800 stakeholders about the social factors that affect the rising Type 2 diabetes crisis.

The Bigger Picture has garnered national attention, including a feature on the homepage of The Huffington Post, over 1 million video views, recognition on Upworthy.com and the Food Farms Films Festival, as well as special presentations at the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine Public Health Literacy Roundtable, the National Soda Summit and the James Beard conference. The campaign’s most distinguished national awards include the APHA Spirit of 1848 award for best video linking social justice to health, the UCSF 2014 Excellence in Partnership Award, the Real Food Media 2015 Grand Prize, the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California’s Young Champion for Latino Health award and most recently best short film in the Youth category at the 2015 Sacramento Food Film Festival.

The Bigger Picture Strategies

Writing Workshops

We have facilitated seven curated Bigger Picture Writing Workshops that were led by Expert Poet Mentors from Youth Speaks and health professionals from the Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital.



Select pieces from the writing workshops were chosen to be produced as short films. These films invite people to join the conversation and encourage young people to take action against the spread of this disease.

School Assemblies and Outreach Events

The Bigger Picture School Assembly features live spoken word, short films from the campaign, and an interactive presentation that introduces young people to the environmental drivers of Type 2 diabetes.


Educators Toolkit

This toolkit is a resource for educators and students to learn more about The Bigger Picture behind Type 2 diabetes. It includes lesson plans, writing prompts, visual aids, facts and figures, conversation starters, a glossary of terms, and insightful ways to view and examine the existing films. It is our hope that as you implement the lessons and activities in this document, you inspire more stories to be told, and empower more people to care about preventing the spread of Type 2 diabetes.

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Food Farm Films Festival
Real Food Media Contest
APHA Spirit of 1848 Award for best video linking social justice to health (Lost in Translation)
UCSF Excellence in Academic-Community Partnership Award (staff category)
Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (Young Champions for Latino Health)
Sacramento Film Festival
2016 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for TBP co-founder Dr. Dean Schillinger


Featured In…

In Defense of Food – Documentary film about best-selling author and activist Michael Pollan
Soda Politics – Dr. Marion Nestle’s critically-acclaimed book “Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning)”. The Bigger Picture is also part of the ActionLab plugin for this book.

Links include:


General Info: biggerpicture@youthspeaks.org
Press Contact: jrivera@youthspeaks.org

JAMA | Science and Public Health on Trial: Warning Notices on Advertisements for Sugary Drinks
Auggust 1, 2016

Recordnet | 18 teaspoons of sugar are tough medicine to swallow
June 19, 2016

CALIFORNIA HEALTH REPORT | Activating Young Artists Against Diabetes
February 1st, 2016

SACRAMENTO BEE | Daniel Weintraub: Young poets get the message out on preventing diabetes
February 1st, 2016

Dean Schillinger Receives 2016 James Irvine Foundation Award
February 18th, 2016

Upworthy – “Health Justice Manifesto”
June 6th, 2014

Diabetesmine.com – Feature Article
“Poets and Rappers Raise D-awareness w/ The Bigger Picture”

March 27, 2014

Civil Eats – Feature Article (by Jose Vadi)
“Not Your Grandfather’s Disease”

March 14, 2014

GOOD Magazine – Feature Article
Friday, January 24th, 2014

The Daily DoGOODer
January 15, 2014

KPFA Chronicas de la Raza – featuring Monica Mendoza
January 14, 2014

GOOD Magazine
December 18, 2013

Institute for Medicine
December 9, 2013

Simone Bridges – Pushin’ Weight:
“Meet A Young Person Who Can’t Distinguish Corporate Farmers From Drug Dealers”

November 28, 2013

Josh Merchant – Product of His Environment:
“Meet A Young Person Who Can’t Distinguish Corporate Farmers From Drug Dealers”

August 12, 2013

DCYF”Pushin Weight” was featured on DCYF’s website:
June 4, 2013

Food Farm Films festival (BiRite x Roxie Theatre)
March 30, 2013

KQED California Report
July 31, 2012