Job title: Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Calgary
Why he’s a 2022 Top 40 Under 40: Physician-researcher David Campbell designs programs to improve diabetes care among socially disadvantaged populations.
Midway through his undergraduate studies, David Campbell moved to Florida to volunteer with a mission set in a poor community of mostly immigrants. He stayed two years, and the experience changed the rest of his life. “It led me down a road of being interested in advocating for those who are not well-served by the medical system,” he says.
Campbell obtained degrees in kinesiology and medical anthropology, followed by an MD, a PhD in health services research, and fellowships in endocrinology and inner-city health research. Today, his work focuses on metabolic diseases, particularly diabetes, and how these conditions are affected by social disparities.
Diabetes is difficult to manage, requiring medications, a strict diet, regular exercise, monitoring of blood sugar levels and access to a health-care team. But it’s especially challenging for those who do not have access to drug insurance, healthy food or a home. Campbell developed a screening program for people with complications of diabetes at Calgary’s Drop-In Centre and a diabetes outreach program at the Mustard Seed Wellness Program in conjunction with the University of Calgary’s student-run clinic.
In addition to his work as an endocrinologist, Campbell leads research designed to improve health among socially disadvantaged communities. Since returning to Calgary in 2019, he has received more than $28 million in funding and authored 35 papers in peer-reviewed journals (78 papers since 2010).
Campbell credits his wife, a policy analyst, for sparking his interest in working with the vulnerably housed. “What motivates me is [reducing] the impact of inequities in our society, specifically by making health care more accessible and acceptable to people who face various forms of social disadvantage,” he says.
“Rachel Campbell, Stew Campbell, Kim Campbell, Braden Manns, Brenda Hemmelgarn, Cello Tonelli, Kathy King-Shier, Gillian Booth, Stephen Hwang, Johannes van Leenen, Noel and Sydney Reynolds, Chuck McMann, Paul Kerber, my team, trainees, co-researchers and collaborators.”