Pushin’ Weight: The Bigger Picture

Mo, the Morselist Q&A with Sarah Fine from The Bigger Picture

The Bigger Picture
The Bigger Picture

Before you read my interview with guest, Sarah Fine from The Bigger Picture, please take a minute to watch this powerful PSA created by one of their own.  This is what inspired me to reach out to this incredibly MORSELICIOUS organization.

Pushin' sugar
Pushin’ sugar


Q.  How did The Bigger Picture begin?

A.  Youth Speaks works with a diverse body of youth through a comprehensive approach to literacy, civic engagement, and cultural involvement by utilizing the art forms of the Written and Spoken Word inside a social justice youth development framework. YS serves over 45,000 Bay Area youth each year who come from a variety of communities, experiences, and educational backgrounds. YS targets youth who have limited access and/or opportunity to participate in programs that build their creative and critical thinking skills. Therefore, most youth served come from low-income families, including 61% of students who receive free or reduced-fee lunch at school. By accessing YS, youth develop the skills to share their unique, personal experiences that are shaped by their economic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.


Health Justice Manifesto
Health Justice Manifesto

The UCSF CVP is recognized for its research in health communication and health policy to reduce health disparities, with special expertise in the social determinants of health, with a focus on the clinical conditions of pre-diabetes and diabetes. The CVP was co-founded by Dr. Dean Schillinger, a leading expert on diabetes and health communication, who serves as the CVP’s Director of Health Communication Program.


In 2009, 17 year-old YS poet Ericka Sheppard performed an original piece at the San Francisco Opera House about her self-described “addiction to food.” Dean Schillinger was in the audience and an idea was born: to use poetry to engage youth in the movement to prevent type 2 diabetes and empower youth to become vehicles for social justice.


YS has an intense interest in environmental justice and works to empower youth to become agents of change. UCSF CVP has an equally significant interest in health and in improving health literacy. We discovered our two missions overlap around chronic disease risks in young people, and The Bigger Picture was born.


Q.  What is your role and mission for The Bigger Picture?

A.  I am the Project Director and the CVP lead for The Bigger Picture. The campaign’s mission is to reverse the trend of spiking diabetes rates in young people. We also aim to reduce health disparities for low income youth of color by enlisting and empowering young people to be agents of health justice.



Q.  What is the biggest challenge facing young teens in America, health wise?

A.  I think to really get at the heart of your question, you’d have to ask young people what they think. Personally, as a health professional, I believe that a youth movement to combat diabetes is critical to California’s future. According to a recent study from the American Journal of Pediatrics, twenty-three percent of US teens have pre-diabetes, with 50% of them projected to develop full-blown diabetes within five years. Minority youth are especially vulnerable to type 2 diabetes. One in three California minority youth are projected to contract diabetes in their lifetime. Using cutting-edge, activist poetry to engage youth to become agents of social change is an innovative, effective strategy to prevent diabetes and improve young people’s lives.



Q.  How is your organization different from other youth group-health advocacies?

A.  Unlike other diabetes-prevention efforts, The Bigger Picture shifts the focus from encouraging individual behavior change to the societal forces that perpetuate obesity and diabetes, and urges youth to transform their environment and take charge of improving their own lives.


Q.  If you could have one crazy wish come true for The Bigger Picture, what would it be?

A.  I would honestly wish that our program wasn’t needed anymore.


Q.  What would you like Mac-n-Mo’s MORSELITE’s to consider today after reading this interview?

A.  That youth are incredibly effective agents of change and that anyone can make help transform one’s environment – whether it be your home, school, workplace or neighborhood – to improve health.


Q.  How can my readers get involved with The Bigger Picture?

A.  Like us on Facebook, check out our resources and watch our videos on TheBiggerPicture.org, partner with us and most importantly, spread the word and help us share our work! For more information please contact Sarah Fine at fines@medsfgh.ucsf.edu.


Thanks a million morsels to Sarah and The Bigger Picture for doing an incredible job increasing awareness for childhood diabetes and obesity in a creative and accessible manner.  I am a HUGE fan!!

Sarah Fine is the Project Director for The Bigger Picture campaign and directs multiple projects for UCSF’s Center for Vulnerable Populations’ Health Communication Program. She has over ten years of experience in project management, health education, social media and the nonprofit sector.

2 more powerful videos:


A Product of His Environment


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4 thoughts on “Pushin’ Weight: The Bigger Picture”

  1. great interview, mo! and wow, excellently done video. i agree that this issue needs to be put out there for the younger generation. thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you, Jill! Soo glad you were as moved as I was!
    They are a MORSELICIOUS organization!
    Hope you are enjoying a MORSELICIOUS Monday! 🙂

  3. Well done, Maura! The Bigger Picture is certainly a noteworthy organization, and let’s hope they have a positive impact on their targeted population.

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