David Mendosa, Leading HealthCentral Contributor, Dies at 81

by Erin L. Boyle Health Writer

David Mendosa, the leading type 2 diabetes advocate and writer for HealthCentral for 12 years, passed away after a short illness on May 8, 2017. He was 81.

David was a pioneer in writing about type 2 diabetes on the internet. He started his website, David Mendosa’s Diabetes Directory, in 1995 as one of the first and now, one of the largest, websites on the disease. He published his first article for HealthCentral on October 12, 2005 and went on to write more than 460 articles for the site, including some of its highest-rated, most-read and most-shared articles and slideshows on the website.

He also wrote for organizations including the American Diabetes Association; distributed a monthly newsletter to loyal readers; and coauthored several books on type 2 diabetes.

He retired from writing for HealthCentral in April 2017, following a diagnosis of cancer. In his “Diabetes Update #226: Goodbye,” newsletter, published on his website on May 1, 2017, David let his readers know that this would be his last communication — and that his illness was not related to his type 2 diabetes:

“This is the final issue of this newsletter I will write. I started it 17 years ago, but now I have been diagnosed with an incurable cancer. I am glad to be able to write that this type of cancer is not one of the many complications of diabetes.”

HealthCentral Migraine contributor Teri Robert met David shortly after receiving her own diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. She became a HealthCentral writer in 2010.

“David taught me that we know our bodies better than our doctors and must be active participants in our health care,” she told HealthCentral in an email. “Little did I know that a few years later, what he taught me would be critical when my Migraines became chronic.

“David was one of my role models, and I was blessed to call him ‘friend,’” Teri says.

Who he was

According to his biography on HealthCentral, David was born on August 5, 1935 in Santa Monica, California. After earning a B.A. with honors from the University of California, Riverside in 1960, and an M.A. from Claremont Graduate University in 1961, he became a Foreign Service officer. He worked 11 years in Washington, D.C. and four years in Africa for the U.S. foreign aid program.

David then became a journalist and was an editor of Hispanic Business magazine for four years. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1994, and began to write just about that condition.

An avid lover of nature, a hiker, and a photographer, David lived in Colorado at the time of his death.

Long-time HealthCentral contributor Lene Andersen, who writes about rheumatoid arthritis, says she was just getting to know David after they collaborated in an interview on HealthCentral about her book, which was released last year.

“We connected on writing and photography and started a friendship. He died before we could build on that,” she told HealthCentral in an email.

“The more I learned about David, the more he inspired me,” she says. “He was a giant of a man, having truly lived a life filled with traveling and adventures, as well as dedication to the cause of diabetes education. After his diagnosis two decades ago, he completely changed his life and took full advantage of everything nature and physical activity have to offer.

“His journey to health was a role model for many.”

He shared his most recent journey of his cancer diagnosis with family, friends, and readers through his CaringBridge site. CaringBridge, a nonprofit organization, allows people to set up a free website to create a centralized space to document a health journey. David used the site to update a wide range of people in his life on his final illness.

“My mental attitude was from the beginning, and remains, absolutely normal,” he wrote on April 10, 2017, shortly after he received his cancer diagnosis. “My Buddhist practice has given me compassion for myself and has taught me well not to deny reality.”

Carol Bradley Bursack has been writing for HealthCentral for a decade herself, and while she never met David, she felt that she knew him through his writing.

“David’s zest for learning, adventure, travel, and life itself has been an inspiration to me for as long we’ve been writing colleagues at HealthCentral,” she told HealthCentral in an email. “I admire the way he took charge of his diabetes, learning to live with it and thrive.”

Carol writes about Alzheimer’s disease for HealthCentral, a viewpoint she said could have pertained to David – but didn’t. “Even though diabetes is one of the greatest risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s, he avoided that disease and many others that could have affected him had he not been so diligent,” she says.

“He chose to increase his chances of aging well by staying slim, watching the foods he ate, exercising, and keeping his inquisitive mind busy. Perhaps most importantly, he devoted his life to helping other people who also live with diabetes.”

David and HealthCentral

David was a meticulous writer with a penchant for perfect grammar.

“David Mendosa had a unique voice, both in his writing as well as quite literally,” Lene Andersen says, recalling his deep voice, rich with wisdom, during HealthCentral conference calls.

That voice came through in the many articles he wrote over the years for HealthCentral. His type 2 diabetes was in remission through a body mass index of 19.8 and a strict low-carbohydrate diet, a diet he shared often with readers on HealthCentral.

His five most popular slideshows and articles on HealthCentral are:

10 Low-Carb Beverages to Drink When You Have Diabetes

12 Ways to Lose Weight and Manage Your Diabetes

The Normal A1C Level

The 7 Best Probiotic Foods for Diabetes

The Trouble with Peanuts in Managing Diabetes

Final thoughts

David’s website, mendosa.com, will remain online through its webmaster, Abhijit, who David said would write about the disease in the future.

His articles will continue to attract readers with helpful information and thoughtful reporting through HealthCentral.

Each HealthCentral contributor contacted for this article said that David will be greatly missed by both the diabetes and HealthCentral communities.

“David was a seeker and has left a remarkable legacy through his work and through the people he touched,” Carol Bradley Bursack says.

“Namaste, David. Peace. You’ve helped so many.”

David requested that no service be held. Donations can be made to CaringBridge in his memory or the TRU Hospice Care Center.

Erin L. Boyle
Meet Our Writer
Erin L. Boyle

Erin L. Boyle, the senior editor at HealthCentral from 2016-2018, is an award-winning freelance medical writer and editor with more than 15 years’ experience. She’s traveled the world for a decade to bring the latest in medical research to doctors. Health writing is also personal for her: she has several autoimmune diseases and migraines with aura, which she writes about for HealthCentral. Learn more about her at erinlynnboyle.com. Follow her on Twitter @ErinLBoyle.