Survey Points to State Gap in Medical Research, Goals

Article excerpt

A statewide poll has found 95 percent of Oklahomans say it's important for Oklahoma to be a leader in medical research, but only 34 percent think the state has achieved that status.

Another 40 percent said that Oklahoma "leads moderately."

Results of the scientific study were announced Tuesday at a press conference featuring representatives of the three organizations funding the study -- Dr. Joseph Ferretti, senior vice president and provost of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; Dr. J. Donald Capra, president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation; and Jean Gummerson, president of the Presbyterian Health Foundation.

While they believe Oklahoma's leaders are supportive of medical research initiatives, Capra and Ferretti said this survey may further strengthen the resolve of politicians to push for research. The pair also took the opportunity of the press conference to express their support for State Questions 680 and 681 -- two ballot initiatives before voters Nov. 3 that will allow private corporations to use public university facilities for technology research and development, allowing the schools and their employees the right to own technology patents.

Other study results include:

* 88 percent believe that spending money on medical research is either "very important" or "somewhat important" to Oklahoma's economy.

Capra supported this view, saying that the $75 million spent by OU Health Sciences Center and the OMRF provide jobs and utilize many local goods and services.

* 97 percent of Oklahomans feel it's important for the United States to maintain its role as a world leader in medical research, with 84 percent saying it's "very important." Nationwide, 94 percent agreed, with 55 percent saying it's "very important."

* 80 percent of Oklahomans agree the federal government should support basic science research "even if it brings no immediate benefits," with 45 percent saying they "strongly agree."

* 92 percent believe clinical research has value, with 55 percent considering it to be of great value.

* 87 percent approve of the state offering incentives to attract medical research, with 50 percent approving strongly. …