Skip to content

An Interview with Elizabeth Mwanga


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2016/07/01


An interview with Elizabeth Mwanga. She discusses: geographic, cultural, and linguistic background; responsibilities with profiles and representation in numerous outlets; lessons from an emergency; change in life course from the emergency; greatest risk factors for diabetes; B.A. in politics from New York University for personal growth and professional success; lifestyle factors most important for diabetes prevention; earning Identifying Best-in-Class Support Services for Patients with Diabetes from INNOCENTIVE; blog topics; Bob Friedrich in District 23; linguistic talent; Louis Kayanda Mwangaguhanga and work with the Open Society Foundation in South Sudan; core motivation, purpose, and final goal for the initiative in South Sudan; management of a polyglot team; First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama: Instagram ‘Hate’ (2015); self-description as a diabetes advocate; services and products for customers; most meaningful initiatives and accomplishments; the future of diabetes; and near and far future technological disruption and diabetes advocacy.

Keywords: diabetes, Elizabeth Mwanga, Louis Kayanda Mwangaguhanga, South Sudan.

An Interview with Elizabeth Mwanga: Founder & CEO, HCODE; Founder & CEO, MCODE; Founder & CEO, Winning Diabetes LLC[1],[2],[3],[4]

*Footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Appendix II for Interview with Louis Kayanda Mwangaguhanga by Elizabeth Mwanga.*

1. In terms of geography, culture, and language, where does your personal and familial background reside?

My parents were born and raised in Southwest Uganda, in towns bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I currently reside in New York City, as does my immediate family – my three older brothers, as well as my parents. Our extended family mainly reside in Sub Sahara Africa and England. My immediate family speaks English. I have a basic level of understanding of Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili. I was born, raised and educated in the United States, and thus, through schooling, I took many years of Spanish, so I am proficient in that language, as well. Culturally, I consider myself African American. A broad term, but an accurate one, nonetheless.

2. You have profiles and representation in numerous outlets.[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15] What responsibilities come with this public recognition?

When you are considered a ‘public figure’, whether it be online, or in mass media, there is a tremendous responsibility to represent yourself honestly, but also in a manner that affords respect to those who view your work. I take this responsibility very seriously. I am building a legacy which will benefit many people who must face life’s hurdles, be them financial, health, political, etc.

3. You have Type 1.5 diabetes.[16],[17] In On The Verge Of A Diabetic Coma, She Realized She Couldn’t Wait Any Longer To Take Off The Weight (2013), it portrays the risks of high blood sugar in the form a diabetic coma:

Elizabeth was on the verge of a diabetic coma. A seemingly shocking diagnosis for a woman who’d just seen a doctor, had her blood levels tested and was told she was fine — despite the fact that at 5’2″, she weighed 210 pounds.

“The doctor noticed my blood sugar was very high that day,” she continued, “but he just asked what I’d had for breakfast. When I listed off the fried eggs, the bacon and bagel, he said, ‘It’s probably because you ate a lot this morning.’ He didn’t do any follow up testing, even after I told him there was a history of diabetes in my family. He never said a thing about my weight. He just told me I was healthy.”

But that day in the ICU, it was clear that Elizabeth was anything but healthy. Her blood sugar was nearly 1000, ten times what’s considered normal.[18]

Furthermore, Diabetes-Fighting Secrets from a Former Fat Chef (2013) states:

In 2007, Elizabeth Mwanga, 36, was found unconscious on the couch of her Manhattan apartment. She was rushed to the hospital, where tests revealed that her blood sugar levels had skyrocketed to 1000 mg/dL—nearly 10 times the normal range. At this level, Elizabeth risked not only a diabetic coma, but also possible death.

That day, Elizabeth was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after doctors determined she had been experiencing what is known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), an acute, potentially life-threatening complication that occurs in patients with Type 1 diabetes. In the months prior, she had turned to sugary treats and alcohol as a way of coping with a bad breakup. But the medical crisis showed Elizabeth, who was morbidly obese at 201 lbs and 5’1, that she needed a lifestyle makeover—and fast. “In the hospital, I made a conscious decision to eat healthier, lose weight and manage my condition better,” she recalls. “It wasn’t driven by vanity. It wasn’t driven by, ‘Oh, I want to look fabulous in a bikini.’ It was driven by the fact that I needed to make these changes in order to live.”

Doctors told Elizabeth she would be on insulin for the rest of her life, but she was determined to prove them wrong.[19]

Upon further reflection, what did this emergency teach you?

The most important thing this extraordinary experience taught me is how to stay alive and healthy. My survival instincts kicked in and I quickly understood that if I did not take control of my health, that I would not be around much longer, So I learned a lot about my particular type of diabetes (Type 1.5), how to cook and eat healthful in relation to my condition, and also how to motivate myself to regularly exercise in order to keep my blood sugar levels at a normal rate. It’s all worked, I haven’t needed insulin since late 2009, and my A1c (3 month blood sugar levels- required to be taken at least 2x per year) last taken in January 2016 was 4.6, which is that of a non-diabetic. Since 2010, my A1c has been below that of a diabetic, or even a pre-diabetic. So, I must be doing something right!

Another thing I have learned from the experience is to never fear the pursuit of your own happiness.

4. How did this change your life course?

Prior to my hospitalization, I was in transition, both professionally and personally. I had no real passion or drive. Afterward, I realized that what I desired most in life is to own my own highly successful businesses, which in my case has evolved into a two-part disruptive technology firm. Thru this venture I contribute to humanity though technology innovation, as well as philanthropy. In short, my near death experience actually gave me a purpose in life. Ironic.

5. What remain the greatest risk factors for diabetes?

The food we eat, a sedentary lifestyle (Type 1, 1.5 & 2). Heredity plays a large role in Type 1 & Type 1.5 diabetes. However, Type 1 & Type 1.5 diabetes can both be greatly controlled by diet and exercise. Also, mental stress can very much impact diabetes, in all types – 1, 1.5, and 2.

6. How has the B.A. in politics from New York University helped with personal growth and professional success?

The best major for me was Politics, and I know that now. For many years, I regretted obtaining a degree in Politics, because I thought that majoring in business would have been more suitable for my career goals. However, much of what the political science curriculum teaches is understanding how to navigate through professional and social situations to achieve your end goal. My area of concentration is International Studies; learning about the history of various governments has given me advantages when speaking with C-level executives of multinational corporations, as well as government officials, when negotiating contracts.

7. What lifestyle factors remain the most important in terms of diabetes prevention?

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that Type 2 diabetes, which is directly linked to obesity, accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes cases. With this in mind, keeping your BMI normal- which is internationally recognized as 18.5-24.9, is key. The NIH has an easy BMI calculator tool: . Of course this entails regular exercise, avoiding refined sugars, limiting refined carbs, and in general, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. For those with type 1 and type 1.5 diabetes, prevention is trickier because these gradations of diabetes are mainly hereditary, and thus more difficult to prevent. That said, my solution for everyone is to: 1) Limit or eliminate refined sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet, 2) Limit or eliminate glutens altogether, from your diet. An ideal meal plan should be at least 50% vegan and gluten free. Most diabetics are allergic to glutens, meaning, their blood sugar levels spike when they intake gluten products.

8. You earned the Identifying Best-in-Class Support Services for Patients with Diabetes from INNOCENTIVE. What does this award mean to you?

I was very proud to receive the award and have since expanded on the mobile health plan, which I designed for both diabetic patients and their providers. I am currently in talks with a major technology company to fold the program into one of their diabetic initiatives,

9. You are a Diabetes ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ Blogger. What topic in Diabetes remains the consistent theme with regards to attitude diet, exercise, lifestyle, and medical advice in these articles?

The most consistent theme and concern is diet and meal planning. Many diabetics are completely lost when it comes to what to eat in order to keep their blood sugar levels stable.

10. You volunteered for the campaign of Bob Friedrich in District 23. What distinguished him – platform and personality?

Bob has a long standing commitment to District 23. He’s the CFO of the Glen Oaks co-op board, a District 23 resident for decades. He is very down to earth, authentic and says what he means. What attracted me to his platform was his pragmatic approach to fiscal matters (he is an accountant by trade), and his long standing experience as a community advocate. He is not a traditional politician, which unfortunately worked against his campaign. However, I find him to be someone who would have made a dynamic Councilperson.

11. You speak four languages: English, Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili, and Spanish. Where does this linguistic talent source itself?[20]

Obviously, English being my native tongue has helped me in business dealings worldwide. Recently, I have been utilizing my (limited) Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili and Spanish skills to forge business relationships in countries where those languages are spoken. Language proficiency is a major tool in forging relationships and also can be utilized as a tactic to express cultural respect.

12. Your father,Louis Kayanda Mwangaguhunga, was a former UN Ambassador of Uganda – responsible for the construction and development of the Uganda embassy building in NYC. You have deep interest in African Development and Domestic, and Foreign Politics. Now, you have begun work to do with the Soros funded Open Society Foundation program with a focus on South Sudan with respect to government transparency and technology infrastructure. What does this personal history bring to this recent work with the Open Society Foundation in South Sudan?

The parcel of land was purchased by the first Ambassador, Apollo Kironde. My dad was responsible for the construction and development of the building, which is now estimated at over $25M USDone of Uganda’s best assets, to date.

Senator Daniel Parick Moynihan was extremely instrumental in facilitating our family to establish residency in the United States. He literally helped save our lives.

Northern Uganda is directly below South Sudan – the countries share a border. There are many South Sudanese people in Uganda, throughout the country. I have several South Sudanese friends and associates and I have fully supported their fight for freedom and victories over the last years. The next hurdle for ‘the newest country in the world’ is to advance political transparency via technology.

13. What is the core motivation, purpose, and final goal for this initiative for South Sudan?

My company is developing an iris detection platform which will refine accuracy for South Sudanese elections.

14. You manage a team of individuals with 17 separate languages spoken amongst them.[21] How does this increase the effectiveness and strength of the team?

Everyone on my team is proficient in English, some better than others, of course. However, having access to technical professionals with 17 additional language skills, widens the pool of potential clients exponentially.

15. In First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama: Instagram ‘Hate’ (2015), you described the “hate” towards the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, and gave personal positive feelings about her, and a negative reaction to some public feelings about her.[22] What seems like the source of the negative feelings about her to you?

Unfortunately, I had to remove this post because I was receiving disturbing comments and emails. I will, however answer the question:

The most obvious answer is that Mrs. Obama is the first African American First Lady, and that is a shock to some people. Unfamiliarity often breeds fear, which can breed hate. At the very core, though, I believe the negative reaction toward our First lady stems from racism. This is rather disturbing.

16. You self-describe as a diabetes advocate. What does this implicate to you?

In my (limited) free time, I speak at schools in the New York City metropolitan area regarding diabetes, and the importance of good nutrition and fitness. I also offer gratis advice to a roster of endocrinologists and diabetic nutritionists, on patient compliance. Additionally, because of my media presence, I receive a regular stream of emails from diabetics who request recipes, fitness tips, etc.

17. You founded Winning Diabetes LLC, MCODE, and HCODE. MCODE invented Minesweep. A hand-held laser detector of mines. HCODE invented AMAGARA. The first non-invasive continuous glucose monitor for diabetics. HCODE invented Mindchair. An EEG-driven wheelchair. What other services/products does each company provide for customers?

Winning Diabetics, LLC is a distributor of healthy food, as well as fitness equipment, mainly to schools, hospitals and prisons. HCODE focuses primarily on medical technology and software research, design and development. MCODE does the same as HCODE, however covers all other aspects of technology development, with a heavy emphasis on artificial intelligence, and advanced sensors. Both MCODE and HCODE offer the most cutting edge tech development, from facial and iris detection, data mining via machine learning, 3D printing, robotics, EMR, cybersecurity design and development, and more. A full list of services can be found at All three companies are registered US government contractors and offer services worldwide.

18. What initiatives and accomplishments within this personal and professional work means the most to you?

Creating financial opportunities for talented developers worldwide is very rewarding to me. Disseminating information that helps diabetics and pre-diabetics improve their quality of life is very rewarding to me I am presently working on a project that utilizes Apple’s ResearchKit. The project will create an OpenSource platform for developers, to further the understanding of PTSD in military veterans, its correlates, and its relation to social context. This will take the form of a mobile app, utilizing Apple’s HealthKit, and various iPhone sensors as well as other datasources. I am very excited about this project.

19. What does the future hold for diabetes in the health, medical, and wellness domains?

A strong focus will be via technology, mainly wearables, mobile apps, and sensor-based invasive and non-invasive solutions. Human health solutions in general will be very much digitalized.

20. Finally, what do the near and far future for technological disruption and diabetes advocacy hold for you?

Near future: I am aggressively pursuing governmental, NGO and private sector clients for MCODE and HCODE advanced disruptive technology projects. The team is doing a ton of research and development in the areas of remote sensor technology, galvanic vestibular in particular. With regard to my diabetes advocacy, I will continue to consult with my network of health professionals to help create solutions for diabetic patient compliance. Far future: I plan to take MCODE & HCODE public, with a wide variety of ground-breaking patented disruptive technology and software solutions. With regard to diabetic advocacy, I will definitely start a foundation which provides free diabetic testing materials and medical solutions for patients in need worldwide.

Thank you for your time, Ms. Mwanga.

Thank you for the opportunity.


  1. Dickens, A. (2013, July 3). Diabetes-Fighting Secrets from a Former Fat Chef. Retrieved from
  2. Dickens, A. (2014, March 30). Five Tips from a Diabetic Chef. Retrieved from
  3. Everyday Health. (2015). About The Author: Elizabeth Mwanga. Retrieved from
  4. Fritz, J. (2012, April 20). Defeating diabetes demands lifestyle changes, conscious eating. Retrieved from
  5. Gowo, R. (2014). Five Tips from a Diabetic Chef. Retrieved from
  6. Levitt, S. (n.d.). A Better Body at 36 Than at 20. Retrieved from
  7. Mayo Clinic. (2015). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from
  8. Mwanga, E. (2015, June 30). First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama: Instagram ‘Hate’. Retrieved from
  9. Mwanga, E. (2010, October 12). The Tale of a Diva Diabetic. Retrieved from
  10. Padgett, T. (2009, November 2). Elizabeth Mwanga: ‘Almost losing my life motivated me to lose weight’. Retrieved from
  11. Summerland, C. (2012, April).Real Women Series: Surviving diabetes and obesity and inspiring others to do the same. Retrieved from
  12. Weiss, L. (2013, December 11). On The Verge Of A Diabetic Coma, She Realized She Couldn’t Wait Any Longer To Take Off The Weight. Retrieved from
  13. Williamsburg Therapy+Wellness. (2012, May 15). How Are Diabetes And Mental Health Connected?. Retrieved from

Appendix I: Interview with Louis Kayanda Mwangaguhunga on Daniel Moynihan by Elizabeth Mwanga

EM: Elizabeth Mwanga; LKM: Louis Kayanda Mwangaguhunga.

EM: How exactly did Senator Moynihan help our family establish residency in the United States?
LKM: Because I was the last Ambassador to the United Nations before Idi Amin was overthrown, our situation was very complicated. Although I was a career diplomat (no political ties to any of the ‘regimes’ who were in power – for over 20 years) – it did not matter. At the time, Idi Amin was a brutal dictator who had absolutely no regard for international law, and was widely known throughout the world for his human rights atrocities and violations. Anyone affiliated with his administration was either killed or blacklisted from Western countries. So, Senator Moynihan did take a risk by doing the following:

– working with our attorney to secure me a job in the United States, to ensure my ability to apply for legal residency for myself and my family.

– worked with our attorney to lobby in Washington to pass the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which stated that any ‘alien’ living and working in he United States before 1982 would be eligible for temporary residency. “This bill gave unauthorized aliens the opportunity to apply and gain legal status if they met mandated requirements. The fate or status of all those who applied fell into the hands of “Designated Entities” and finally the U.S. Attorney General. Applicants had to prove that they lived and maintained a continuous physical presence in the U.S. since January 1st, 1982, possess a clean criminal record, and provide proof of registration within the Selective Service. Moreover, applicants had to meet minimal knowledge requirements in U.S. history, government and the English language or be pursuing a course of study approved by the Attorney General.”

EM: When you were seeking to obtain residency in the United States, after fearing for the safety of our family, how did you get in contact with Patrick Moynihan?
LKM: It was thru our pastor at the Roman Catholic church we attended. I sought assistance thru the church and he suggested that our complex situation needed to be intervened by the then NY Senator, Patrick Moynihan. We were then connected thru our attorney and our pastor. Senator Moynihan remembered me from our days working together at the United Nations in the mid 1970’s when he was a permanent representative to the United Nations. We were friendly and I had mentioned that given the political climate in Uganda at the time, would probably in the future need to seek refuge in a Western country. I suppose that may have jarred the Senator’s memory, and when called upon to assist in our family obtaining legal residency, he chose to help us.

ME: Why do you believe Senator Moynihan took an interest in helping our family legally immigrate to the United States, at such a precarious time in American-Ugandan diplomatic relations?

LKM: Well, first, there was the fact that we previously worked together in the United Nations. We were also both Roman Catholic. I received a BSc in Economics from Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland; Senator Moynihan was of Irish descent. We also both received degrees from the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE). So you see, even though we both were raised in very different environments — we bonded through our career paths as well as our moral code.

ME: What was Senator Moynihan’s disposition?
LKM: Senator Moynihan was among the most objective diplomats I have ever dealt with. He was an intellectual. 

Appendix II: Footnotes

[1] Founder & CEO, HCODE; Founder & CEO, MCODE; Founder & CEO, Winning Diabetes LLC; Disruptive Technology Entrepreneur; Diabetes Advocate.

[2]  Individual Publication Date: July 1, 2016 at; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016 at

[3] B.A., Politics, New York University.

[4] Photograph courtesy of Elizabeth Mwanga.

[5] Everyday Health. (2015). About The Author: Elizabeth Mwanga. Retrieved from

[6] Weiss, L. (2013, December 11). On The Verge Of A Diabetic Coma, She Realized She Couldn’t Wait Any Longer To Take Off The Weight. Retrieved from

[7] Dickens, A. (2013, July 3). Diabetes-Fighting Secrets from a Former Fat Chef. Retrieved from

[8] Padgett, T. (2009, November 2). Elizabeth Mwanga: ‘Almost losing my life motivated me to lose weight’. Retrieved from

[9] Levitt, S. (n.d.). A Better Body at 36 Than at 20. Retrieved from

[10] Mwanga, E. (2010, October 12). The Tale of a Diva Diabetic. Retrieved from

[11] Dickens, A. (2014, March 30). Five Tips from a Diabetic Chef. Retrieved from

[12] Fritz, J. (2012, April 20). Defeating diabetes demands lifestyle changes, conscious eating. Retrieved from

[13] Summerland, C. (2012, April).Real Women Series: Surviving diabetes and obesity and inspiring others to do the same. Retrieved from

[14] Gowo, R. (2014). Five Tips from a Diabetic Chef. Retrieved from

[15] Williamsburg Therapy+Wellness. (2012, May 15). How Are Diabetes And Mental Health Connected?. Retrieved from

[16] Type 2 Diabetes (2014), from the Mayo Clinic, describes Type 2 diabetes, as follows:

Type 2 diabetes, once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), your body’s important source of fuel.

With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells — or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level.

More common in adults, type 2 diabetes increasingly affects children as childhood obesity increases. There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you may be able to manage the condition by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren’t enough to manage your blood sugar well, you also may need diabetes medications or insulin therapy.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, July 24). Type 2 Diabetes. Retrieved from

[17] Type 1 Diabetes (2014), from the Mayo Clinic, describes Type 1 diabetes, as follows:

Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. The far more common type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin.

Various factors may contribute to type 1 diabetes, including genetics and exposure to certain viruses. Although type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, it also can begin in adults.

Despite active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. But it can be managed. With proper treatment, people with type 1 diabetes can expect to live longer, healthier lives than did people with type 1 diabetes in the past.

Mayo Clinic Staff (2014, August 2). Type 1 Diabetes. Retrieved from

[18] Weiss, L. (2013, December 11). On The Verge Of A Diabetic Coma, She Realized She Couldn’t Wait Any Longer To Take Off The Weight. Retrieved from

[19] Dickens, A. (2013, July 3). Diabetes-Fighting Secrets from a Former Fat Chef. Retrieved from

[20] LinkedIn. (2015). Elizabeth Mwanga. Retrieved from

[21] Ibidem.

[22] First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama: Instagram ‘Hate’ (2015) Mwanga states:

I follow the First Lady of the United States on Instagram (I only follow a handful), not only because I am a supporter of our President, but also because of he fact that she has done SO much for veterans, the obesity crises in our nation, is a staunch advocate of healthy living, is IVY educated and an all around awesome person.

Recently, I have been reading comments on her posts, which are always uplifting, she travels the globe and gives light to causes which many are unaware of. Recent comments on her Instagram which ave aught my attention are extremely racist, vulgar and all around disgusting.

My father, who was a high level diplomat under the reign of a very dangerous dictator, defeceted to America, which ultimately saved our immediate family’s life. I will forever be grateful to America…and beyond the crises’ facing us currently, we will prevail.

This sickens me and makes me sad about the future of our society. How anyone can post such filth about a woman who’s mission in life in life to UPLIFT people…is beyond me.

Please people, spread love, not hate.

Mwanga, E. (2015, June 30). First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama: Instagram ‘Hate’. Retrieved from


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: