Tuesday August 21, 2018

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Health & Wellness

Press release


The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), the Pottawatomie County Health Department and Citizen Potawatomi Nation Health Services are investigating possible exposures to a person with measles.

Measles was identified in a person from another state who had visited the Shawnee area in April. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease. The virus many remain airborne up to two hours in a room after the person with measles has left an indoor area.

Based on collected information, persons who visited the following locations may have been exposed to the measles virus at the locations and times below:

• FireLake Discount Foods (1570 Gordon Cooper Drive) in Shawnee, Oklahoma from 7:00pm-9:30 pm on Friday, April 27th. Any persons that worked or visited this grocery store during this date and time are considered exposed.
• Nail Spa (4409 N Kickapoo Avenue, Ste. 103) in Shawnee, Oklahoma from 4:00 pm-7:30 pm on Saturday, April 28th. Any persons that attended or visited the nail salon during this date and time are considered exposed.

The OSDH is collaborating with officials of these organizations to identify persons that may have visited the above mentioned locations to inform them of their exposure and provide recommendations. Persons are protected if they are immunized with two doses of a measles-containing vaccine after the first birthday, or if they were born during or before 1957.

Those who think they may have been at risk of exposure should review their immunization records and contact the Pottawatomie County Health Department at 405-273-2157 or the OSDH epidemiologist-on-call at 800-234-5963 (24/7/365 availability). Citizen Potawatomi Nation Health Services provides care for all Native Americans.


Tribal members may call 405-273-5236 and ask for Public Health.

Persons who are susceptible to measles usually develop symptoms about 10 days after exposure with a range of 7-21 days. Symptoms of measles begin with a mild to moderate fever, runny nose, red eyes, and cough. A few days later, a rash appears starting on the face spreading to the rest of the body accompanied by a fever that can reach up to 105 degrees. Measles can lead to pneumonia and other complications, especially in young children and adults over 20. The disease can also cause serious problems in pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

Individuals that were exposed and are not experiencing symptoms of illness do not need to be evaluated by a healthcare provider. If you experience symptoms of illness suggestive of measles, contact your healthcare provider before presenting for care to discuss instructions for check-in and registration.

People with measles can spread the virus up to four days before the onset of the rash and until four days after the rash starts. Measles can be prevented with the measles vaccine (usually given in combination with rubella and mumps, called MMR vaccine), and is recommended for all children at 12 to 15 months of age and again at four to six years of age. If a person has not received a second dose of the vaccine between four to six years of age, the booster dose may be given at any age thereafter.


Two doses of vaccine normally provide lifelong immunity.

Saturday, 05 May 2018 23:18

OSDH Recognizes Public Health Nurses

Press release

During National Nurses Week May 6-12, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) will recognize the approximately 250 public health nurses who work in county health departments and at the OSDH central office in Oklahoma City.

Unlike other nursing specialties, public health nursing works to improve the health outcomes of entire populations rather than just one patient at a time.


In many communities, public health nurses are often the first line of defense to prevent illness and injury.


Public health nurses are also leaders in improving the quality of care and access to care through health policy advocacy that supports improving the quality of life for all.

This year’s theme for National Nurses Week is “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence.”

“Nurses are ideally positioned to be the best role models,” said Ann Benson, director of the OSDH Nursing Service. “They are educators and advocates of health and wellness. We want Oklahomans to appreciate the full range of public health nurses’ contributions to their communities.”

Public health nurses lead initiatives to increase access to care and improve outcomes by focusing on primary care, prevention, wellness, chronic disease management and the coordination of care among health care providers and settings.


These nurses are even more crucial in helping plan how to expand primary care at community-based clinics in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible, while recognizing the distinct needs of diverse communities.

“From the beginning of public health’s collaboration with emergency preparedness agencies, our nurses have been critical in responding to public health crisis events that occur in Oklahoma,” Benson said.

For more information about the nursing profession, or to find nursing jobs in Oklahoma, visit the Oklahoma Nurses Association website at



Press release

Oklahoma City—The Oklahoma Department of Human Services received a $34 million increase in appropriations for state fiscal year 2019 in the state budget signed by Governor Fallin earlier this week. The increase in appropriations, along with an expected increase in the state’s federal matching dollars for Medicaid programs (FMAP), will allow the agency to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities on the waiting list, increase provider and foster parent reimbursement rates, and provide employees agency-wide with pay raises.

“We are extremely grateful to Governor Fallin and the Legislature for this increase which will allow us to restore some detrimental cuts and provide increases to foster and adoptive families, child care providers, and agencies serving children in our custody and seniors and people with developmental disabilities,” said Ed Lake, Director of DHS. “We appreciate the advocacy efforts of the people and families we serve as well as our partner agencies. Their diligence in telling their stories helped ensure the needs of vulnerable Oklahomans were not forgotten this year.”

The increase in appropriations will be used for the following:
• Restore the five percent (5%) rate cuts to foster care and adoption payments made in 2017 due to the budget shortfall. Rates will be increased an additional five percent (5%), including therapeutic foster care.
• Provide agency-wide employee pay raises according to provisions previously passed in House Bill 1024. Increase the salaries of Child Welfare Specialists to fulfill the obligations of year five of the Pinnacle Plan.
• Dedicate $2M for services to persons with developmental disabilities on the waiting list. DHS estimates it will be able to serve approximately 200 individuals who have been waiting the longest for Medicaid home and community-based services.
• Increase provider rates for child welfare contract group homes by seven percent (7%).
• Increase provider rates in the Advantage Medicaid waiver program for direct care, state plan personal care, and case management by seven percent (7%). Increase provider rates in all Developmental Disabilities Services Medicaid waiver programs and state-funded services by seven percent (7%). This restores the three and a half percent (3.5%) reductions made to rates in September 2015 due to revenue failures and budget cuts, and provides for an additional three and a half percent (3.5%) increase to the rates.
• Increase child care subsidy reimbursement rates. DHS is currently evaluating research on market rates and will announce the amount of child care provider rate increases in the coming weeks.
• $100,000.00 will be used to implement and maintain a program to provide respite for caregivers of persons with intellectual disabilities who qualify for Medicaid and meet the Intermediate Care Facilities for individuals with Intellectual Disability (ICF/ID) level of care. DHS will apply for a new Medicaid waiver with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to maximize funding for the respite services. This respite program will be used to support caregivers who are on the waiting list for home and community-based services.


Press release


Oklahoma City—The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) announced it will cease using the Laura Dester Children’s Center in Tulsa as a shelter for abused and neglected children in September, and will transition the facility into a treatment center for children with co-occurring intellectual disabilities, mental illness and extreme behavioral issues.


“We have been greatly encouraged by our ability to prevent new admissions to the shelter, the development of placement options for children with a variety of needs, and by the movement of 22 children from the center during the past month and a half,” said Ed Lake, Director of DHS. “By continuing to build on these concerted efforts, we are confident we will have placements identified and transition plans underway for the remaining 20 children at the center by September 1 and even sooner if at all possible. And we will continue our no-admissions policy for this duration.”


Over the past year, the center had become the placement of last resort for children and youth whom DHS could not locate placements for, typically those with involved intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and extreme behavioral challenges. DHS has not placed a child or youth at Laura Dester since March 8.


DHS has been working for several months to develop new placement options for children with these higher levels of needs including more group homes, agency companion homes for children with intellectual disabilities, and family foster homes. DHS has also started the application process to obtain a targeted Medicaid waiver to serve children with intellectual disabilities in community homes. During the same time, more staff have been hired and trained to provide care for the children at Laura Dester and other measures have been taken to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents.


Children and youth with challenging needs and behaviors take longer to successfully transition into placements due to the level of planning involved. A transition plan must ensure all necessary services and safeguards are identified and in place, and the family or treatment provider is making a good connection with the child for long-term stability.


DHS is currently in a competitive bidding process to identify a qualified provider to operate a Medicaid Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF-IDD) using the Laura Dester Children’s Center campus. The goal is for the new ICF-IDD to be in operation by November 2018.


Press release



The full Senate gave final approval Wednesday to a measure addressing the over-prescription of opioids in Oklahoma—the prescription drug is now the leading cause of fatal overdoses in the state. Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, is the principal author of Senate Bill 1446.

While the opioid crisis represents a national epidemic, in its 2018 report, The Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse noted Oklahoma has consistently ranked near the top of states for opioid abuse. According to the report, in 2016, there were 899 drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma—a shocking 68 percent increase from 2007.

“The changes outlined in SB 1446 will save lives and prevent addiction,” Sykes said. “This legislation was approved overwhelmingly in both chambers. I am optimistic that Governor Fallin will join us in its approval by signing SB 1446 into law.”

By Leilana McKindra

Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services

Oklahoma State University


STILLWATER, Okla. (April 23, 2018) – After losing so much, families affected by the wildfires sweeping across western Oklahoma may be feeling emotionally overwhelmed, which raises the need to pay attention to potential mental health concerns.


“We know from previous natural disasters, including last year’s wildfire season, that there’s a need for mental health awareness and support right now for affected families,” said Matt Brosi, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension marriage and family specialist.


Mental Health First Aid USA recommends a short mental health assessment with the acronym ALGEE, which stands for Assess for risk of suicide, Listen nonjudgmentally, Give reassurance and information, Encourage appropriate professional help and Encourage self-help and other support strategies.


When assessing someone for the risk of suicide or harm, it is okay to ask the person if he/she is having thoughts about harming himself/herself or ending his/her life. You want to know if they have an active plan, so you also can ask them if they have decided how and when they would do so.


“Asking how someone feels does not create suicidal thoughts,” said Brosi, who also is a licensed marital and family therapist and director of the OSU Marriage and Family Therapy program.


Other warning signs of suicide include talking about unbearable pain, having no reason to live or feeling trapped; increased use of alcohol or drugs; engaging in reckless behavior; withdrawing from normal pleasurable activities or isolating from family and friends; lack of feeling good or bad, irritability and anxiety and one of the most common signs being depression.


Listening nonjudgmentally involves providing a safe environment for someone to express their distress. Creating that safe space for freedom of expression can ultimately help save a person’s life.


“Letting the person know you’re concerned and willing to help is crucial,” Brosi said. “The acute risk for suicide is often time limited. Helping someone survive the immediate crisis goes a long way toward promoting a positive outcome.”


In giving reassurance and information, try to normalize a person’s stressful experience and offer hope for recovery by using supportive statements such as “Given the situation, of course you’re feeling overwhelmed.”


Take care to avoid minimizing someone’s feelings by saying things like “This too shall pass” or using sarcasm as a deflecting tool to “lighten the mood.”


Finally, encourage distressed family members and friends to seek appropriate professional help as well as to engage in self-help and other strategies.


Speaking to a doctor, counselor, therapist or other medical professional with experience in mental health as well as connecting with family, friends, pastors and other social networks can be hugely helpful.


Exercising, trying relaxation strategies and seeking peer support groups are other good options to combat mental health struggles in general.


Finally, individuals also can call 2-1-1 to identify local resources for various types of assistance in their area or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to be connected to trained staff who are available to provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day/7 days a week.


For more information about managing mental health issues after a natural disaster, contact the nearest county Extension office.

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; Phone 405-744-5371; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies. Any person who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.



From TSET April Newsletter


A $1 per pack price increase in cigarettes recently signed into law will save lives, help people quit smoking and keep young people from starting.


This public policy win for health also includes taxing little cigars like cigarettes. Lawmakers who supported this effort should be applauded a change in state law that will help Oklahomans live longer healthier lives and help prevent Oklahoma kids from acquiring a nicotine addiction that could impact their developing brains and increase chances that they will become adult smokers.


Nearly 10,200 premature deaths will be avoided as a result of an increase in the price of cigarettes. For kids, this price increase is even more meaningful, this $1 increase will keep 17,300 kids from becoming adult smokers.

In the months leading up cigarette price increase, TSET is ready educate Oklahomans on the benefits of being tobacco free and support that decision by working with organizations and communities to increase tobacco free policies and offer free services for those who want to quit.


The adult smoking rate in our state has reached a record low of 19.6 percent, but is still above the national average and over 2,000 Oklahoma kids under the age of 18 become new daily smokers each year. There is room for improvement.


TSET funds the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, a free service available 24/7. The Helpline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) provides the tools and support needed to quit tobacco and includes free text and email support, phone and web coaching, patches, gum or lozenges and more for registered participants. Previous price increases have produced a spike in Helpline callers. We are preparing for that, and are ready to assist more Oklahomans in kicking a costly and deadly habit.


The price increase will nudge people to rethink their tobacco use and look for ways to quit tobacco. You can support their quit by checking out the free resources available on Follow the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline on Facebook and Twitter and share with your social circles about the available resources and free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges. Sharing a Helpline post every couple of weeks means you could be changing someone’s life for the healthier!


We know that quitting is hard, and often takes more than just one attempt and we want everyone to know that there is a resource available for them when they are ready to quit tobacco.


At TSET, we are devoted to preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease, Oklahoma’s leading causes of death. We do this by preventing and reducing tobacco use and obesity through our evidence-based programs and grants. We do not receive tobacco or cigarette tax revenue, but it is our mission to reduce the overall cost of tobacco use and poor health on our state.


Increasing the price of cigarettes and little cigars will benefit our state for generations to come as fewer people die from smoking-related illnesses and fewer children are the path to a lifetime of addiction.



Poteau, Oklahoma - The LeFlore County Department of Human Services released 103 balloons outside their office on April 9, to bring awareness of the 103 victims of child abuse in LeFlore County.


National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect and promotes the social and emotional well-being of children and families.

During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to increase awareness and provide education and support to families through resources and strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect.


You can report child abuse and neglect by calling 1-800-522-3511.


For information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent contact 1-800-376-9729. Every child deserves a safe, loving home every day.

Press release

PSA brings attention to Alcohol Responsibility Month, provides resources

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter has teamed up with Olympic Gold Medalist Summer Sanders and’s Ask, Listen, Learn campaign to raise awareness and discourage underage drinking during April, which is Alcohol Responsibility Month.

As part of the month-long effort, Attorney General Hunter and Sanders filmed a PSA encouraging parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking and point to helpful resources parents can use to begin the discussion.

Attorney General Hunter said he is honored to join the effort to help raise awareness about the dangers of underage drinking and help Oklahoma parents who may be struggling to take the first steps in starting conversations with their kids.

“In 2016, there were 107 Oklahomans under the age of 18 arrested for driving under the influence, 105 individuals under 18 arrested for breaking liquor laws and 293 individuals under 18 arrested for drunkenness,” Attorney General Hunter said. “These statistics are not only heartbreaking, they represent too many of our youth, who are heading down the wrong path at a very early age.

“As the chief law enforcement officer of the state, it is my duty to protect Oklahomans, which is why I am privileged to join Olympian Summer Sanders and to raise awareness, share advice and provide resources about how to prevent underage drinking.”

More statistics on impaired driving and underage drinking in Oklahoma:

Sanders, who won two gold medals, one silver and a bronze in the 1992 Olympic swimming competition said she is thrilled to be a part of’s Ask, Listen, Learn team.

“As an Olympian and mother of two, I’m keenly aware of how important it is to make the right choices, be a positive role model and have meaningful conversations with my kids,” Sanders said. “I hope the PSA will remind parents that they are the biggest influence in their kids’ decision to drink – or not to drink – alcohol and just how important it is to talk to them about underage drinking.”

In the PSA, Attorney General Hunter, who is a father of two adult sons, encourages parents to begin the conversation with their kids at an early age and also share with them the negative consequences.
Both Attorney General Hunter and Sanders point to valuable, free, resources and conversation starters available on and

About the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility ( is a national not-for-profit that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Edrington; Mast-Jägermeister US; and Pernod Ricard USA. Recognizing 25 years of impact, has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families and communities together.

About Ask, Listen, Learn
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility ( developed Ask, Listen, Learn to provide youth, ages 9 to 14, with the necessary tools to make healthy lifestyle choices while also teaching them about the dangers of underage drinking.

The program’s new digital resources were created to teach what the brain does, what alcohol does to it, and what that does to you. Teachers and parents can now feel equipped with the facts and tools to have a substantive and powerful conversation about the dangers of underage drinking.

Since the inception of Ask, Listen, Learn, underage drinking has decreased 40 percent, according to the 2017 Monitoring the Future.

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