Oklahoma Moves Forward with Plans for Diabetes Centers
Francis-Smith, Janice, THE JOURNAL RECORD
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 Tulsa.
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. …