Oklahoma is just a few years away from joining the handful of
states with a top-rated diabetes center, said Gov. Brad Henry on
Monday. Plans are to break ground on a Children's Diabetes Center in
September, with construction of the Oklahoma Diabetes Center to
begin as early as 2008.
The Legislature has provided $12 million toward the project, and
tribal nations are contributing millions more to create a faculty
endowment for the center. The investment will put Oklahoma at the
top of the list to secure federal grants for diabetes research, said
David Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma.
With more than 200,000 Oklahomans with diabetes, Henry said
Oklahomans suffer from the disease at a higher rate than the
national average. Diabetes contributes to a host of other medical
problems, including heart attacks, strokes, limb amputations,
blindness and kidney failure.
Diabetes is a terrible disease and a terrible problem throughout
this nation, and in Oklahoma nearly 10 percent of our population has
been diagnosed with diabetes, said Henry, adding that his mother
died due to complications related to diabetes. The Oklahoma Diabetes
Center will be a cutting-edge clinical research and treatment
facility with offices and facilities both in Oklahoma City and in
The Oklahoma City facility will be built on the campus of the
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The Tulsa facility
will become part of the Research and Medical Clinic at the OU-Tulsa
Schusterman Center, constructed with funds from Tulsa County's
Vision 2025 sales tax.
On Monday, Henry held a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 90xx,
passed during the special session and approved by the governor on
June 28, which provided $12 million to make the Oklahoma Diabetes
Center a reality. The center was created during the regular session
by SB 1056, authored by state Sen. Cal Hobson, D-Lexington, and
state Sen. Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. The measure was carried in
the House by state Rep. Thad Balkman, R-Norman.
This wouldn't happen without the partnership between the state of
Oklahoma and our wonderful sovereign tribal nations, said Henry.
Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Choctaw Nation Chief Greg Pyle
and Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith joined the press conference
Monday to announce their nations' contributions to the project.
The tribal leaders said their participation in the planning and
funding of the center is fitting since Native Americans are more
susceptible to the disease. …