Saturday January 19, 2019

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  • Injection Opioid Use…

    Press release

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  • Mullin, Schrader Celebrate…

    Press release

    WASHINGTON—Congressmen Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5) celebrate a legislative…
  • For the Children: Three Key…

    By Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman

    The 2019 Oklahoma Legislative Session is now less than one…
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  • Decorating Wisely: New Year

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  • Going Smokefree in 2019: Free…

    Press release

    OKLAHOMA CITY – (December 27, 2018) – Today, the American Lung Association in Oklahoma announced free…
  • EOMC offering Telemed to…

    Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center is proud to offer Telemedicine to students, faculty & staff of both Howe and Poteau…
  • EOMC’s Walk In Clinic opens 7…

    If you are feeling a little under the weather right before the holidays.

    Eastern Oklahoma Medical can help.

    Try the…
Health & Wellness

Press release

Next two meetings will focus on critical testing element of regulations

OKLAHOMA CITY - A legislative working group has made good progress in its work to develop recommendations for the implementation of medical marijuana, said the Senate President Pro Tempore-designate and Oklahoma House Speaker.
Senate President Pro Tempore-designate Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall appointed bipartisan members from their respective chambers to work on permanent recommendations for the implementation of medical marijuana following the passage of State Question 788.

So far, the group has held six public meetings and heard from a variety of stakeholders, including medical marijuana advocates and activists, members of the law enforcement community, the medical community and members of the public.

“The working group is doing exactly what we expected of it and that is bring in a variety of experts and stakeholders in order to help the panel develop a robust set of permanent recommendations for the implementation of medical marijuana,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “The progress so far has been good, but there is still more work to be done in the coming weeks. Important issues like testing have yet to be covered in depth, but will be soon in upcoming meetings. At the end of the day, we want to ensure the successful and safe implementation of a medical marijuana system in accordance with the will of voters. The legislative working group is making steady progress toward that goal.”

"I have been following the working group closely, and I believe it is working well and as it was intended," said Speaker McCall, R-Atoka. "The Legislature does not operate in a vacuum. We need engaged citizens and subject-matter experts to help us solve problems for Oklahomans, and I believe when the group completes its work our state will have a well-functioning marketplace as voters intended that meets the needs of both patients and providers."

For at least the next two meetings, the working group will focus on the testing standards and processes for medical marijuana, said Senator Greg McCortney, co-chair of the working group.

The working group plans to focus on the work of the state Department of Health, which looked at testing requirements during its development of emergency rules, and a testing proposal put forward by a group of advocates that includes New Health Solutions Oklahoma. Additionally, the working group plans to bring in experts from outside Oklahoma to address the topic.

“So far, we’ve only briefly talked about testing requirements, but it’s a very important topic. It’s important to have objective analysis as we look at setting up testing requirements in Oklahoma. If our system is to be successful and safe, we have to ensure testing standards are more than sufficient to protect patients and ensure they are accessing safe medicine,” said McCortney, R-Ada.

"I am very pleased with the efforts of the members of the working group to this point, and I am thankful for all the presenters who have taken the time to voice their support, expertise and even their concerns," said Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, co-chair of the working group. "I am also very excited to be at a point where we can discuss possible language for regulation."

Press release

OKLAHOMA CITY – Killing Pain, a seven part documentary series chronicling the state’s opioid addiction epidemic launched this week and is available to view, free of charge, on

The in-depth documentary explores the public health crisis in Oklahoma from its origin to steps the state is currently taking to stem the epidemic. The series is presented by Fighting Addiction Through Education (FATE) and produced by Lampstand Media.

The series also features personal stories of addiction, the economic cost of the crisis and the biology of addiction.

Attorney General Mike Hunter appears in multiple episodes to discuss the state’s response and the lawsuit filed by his office last July.

“Killing Pain is a pioneering series that shines light on the tragic story of how our state got in this position and why we are close to ground zero in terms of the addiction epidemic,” Attorney General Hunter said. “I encourage all Oklahomans watch this gripping documentary that covers the many tragic aspects of the crisis and how it impacts all of us. Although the reality of the story is painful, the good news is, Oklahoma is rising to meet this challenge. State officials, business leaders and community organizers are tired of watching our families suffer and are stepping up and doing something about it.

“I appreciate Reggie Whitten and his organization, FATE, for presenting this project and Lampstand for the wonderful care and craftsmanship in which they took in producing it.”

Whitten, who is also a law partner at Whitten – Burrage, founded FATE after the tragic overdose death of his son, Brandon.

“This documentary is part of my ongoing personal mission to show Oklahomans this epidemic is real and it is on our doorstep,” Whitten said. “I also want people to know there is hope and there is help for those who are struggling. No parent should ever have to go through the pain and suffering of losing a child. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about Brandon. I want people to know his story and the thousands of other stories that are similar. The more people we can get to understand the realities of the crisis, the more lives of Oklahomans we will save.”

Other prominent Oklahomans interviewed for the series are U.S. Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, Commissioner for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Terri White and Assistant Clinical Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences at Oklahoma State University-Center for Health Sciences Dr. Jason Beamon and more.

Founded in 2010, Lampstand tells powerful stories through film to move people to action and change the world around them. Lampstand works with a variety of clients from corporations to nonprofits, long form docs to social campaigns. The company’s work has been featured on Netflix, PBS, National Geographic and with client around the world in over 30 countries and on six continents.

FATE is a nonprofit educational outreach program that seeks to shed a light on the dangers of addiction and substance abuse in Oklahoma. FATE also focuses on motivational efforts to encourage individuals who are suffering from addiction to get help.

Killing Pain, a seven part documentary series chronicling the state’s opioid addiction epidemic launched this week and is available to view, free of charge, on



Press release

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released preliminary data indicating an increase of more than 200,000 cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) reported between 2016 and 2017. Nationally, there are 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis; Oklahoma’s health officials report the same alarming increase.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reports there were 31,779 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis diagnosed in 2017, an increase from 29,716 reported in 2016. The most significant increase was found in the number of syphilis cases with an increase of 36.5 percent in one year. Reports indicate an increase of nearly 20 percent in the number of gonorrhea cases. Cases of chlamydia increased as well with a total of 21,752 cases.

Members of the OSDH HIV/STD service are in Washington D.C. attending the National STD Prevention Conference where the reports from the CDC were announced. Ivonna Mims, Amber Rose, Terrainia Harris and Kristen Eberly presented their work in implementing Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) in county health departments to treat patients diagnosed with an STD.

"Implementing EPT in Oklahoma is a huge victory and we are excited about improving treatment outcomes to help reduce rates of re-infection and adverse outcomes,” said STD Nurse Consultant Ivonna Mims. “This scientifically proven method can ensure more Oklahomans have the availability of appropriate treatment for their partners."

Oklahoma joins many states in implementing the EPT program as a method of preventing re-infection of gonorrhea and chlamydia between partners. The program was implemented in the state’s 78 county health department clinics, and eight clinic sites at the OKC-County Health Department and the Tulsa Health Department. Reports indicate 99 percent of patients who received EPT had no reported re-infections within 30-90 days of the initial treatment.

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are curable with antibiotics, yet most cases go undiagnosed and untreated — which can lead to severe health effects including infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased HIV risk. Prior studies suggest a range of factors may contribute to STD increases, including socioeconomic factors like poverty, stigma and discrimination; and drug use.

To reduce the spread of STDs, health officials encourage regular testing as part of a person’s regular health care routine. Many cases go untreated because they are undiagnosed. To help prevent contracting an STD, it is important to have protected sex, using a new condom for every sexual encounter every time. Reducing the number of sexual partners and avoiding the use of shared needles also is important.

For more information about testing or treatment, contact a county health department, a health care provider or the OSDH HIV/STD service at (405) 271-4636 or online at


Press release

An important contributor to improving the health of Oklahomans is providing opportunities to make healthier choices where people live, work, learn, play and pray. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is currently accepting applications for the Certified Healthy Oklahoma program through Nov. 1.

The Certified Healthy Oklahoma program provides:

• An assessment to help organizations gauge where they are on supporting health.
• Abundant resources to help organizations create healthier environments.
• An annual certification award spotlighting organizations actively promoting health and wellness through practices and policies.

The Certified Healthy Oklahoma program offers certifications in seven different categories:
• Certified Healthy Business - Any employer providing their employees with opportunities to make healthier choices.
• Certified Healthy School – Schools modeling and teaching students and staff how to be healthy.
• Certified Healthy Campus - Colleges and career technology centers providing a healthy environment for faculty and students.
• Certified Healthy Community - Communities offering citizens a healthy place to live, work, learn, play and pray.
• Certified Healthy Congregation - Faith-based organizations providing health and wellness opportunities to their members and/or attendees and staff.
• Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program - Early childhood programs providing a healthy environment for children and their families, as well as their staff.
• Certified Healthy Restaurant - Restaurants providing healthy food options to their customers and healthier environments for their staff.

“We are pleased with the growth of the Certified Healthy Oklahoma program,” said Interim Health Commissioner Tom Bates. “Last year, more than 2,300 applicants received certification. We encourage this year’s potential applicants to consider how they are making the healthy choice the easy choice for their employees, customers, students, and residents, and submit an application for Certified Healthy Oklahoma certification.”
Three levels of certification are available to qualified applicants: Basic, Merit and Excellence. Applications must be submitted by Nov. 1. All applicants will be notified of the awarded certification level in December and formally acknowledged at an awards ceremony in March of 2019.

The Certified Healthy Oklahoma programs are a joint effort of the OSDH, State Chamber of Oklahoma, The Oklahoma Academy, Oklahoma Turning Point Council, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) and numerous other partners who are helping to shape a healthier future for Oklahoma.

To learn more about the Certified Healthy Oklahoma program and to complete a certification application, visit the Certified Healthy Oklahoma website at

By Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman


As we at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) work to help reform and improve public policy, one of the most frustrating things we hear is the mistaken assumption that children cannot or should not try to change the world. Young people, some say, should “wait their turn” to speak out on social issues or take on a community leadership role.


While I agree that life experience is important, I would contend that passion, a willingness to learn, the and the ability to think with an open mind are equally as important. Often, these qualities are easier to find in children than adults, who can be closed-minded or unwilling to consider new information. I would also argue that some young people, even in their few years on this Earth, have had tremendous experiences that make them the most effective champions we need for positive change.


An example of such champions would be Clara Luper and the young Oklahomans she helped inspire to change the world. In 1958, segregation in Oklahoma was either custom or law at schools, parks, rest rooms, water fountains and restaurants. Sixty years ago this week, Clara and 13 young Oklahomans – ranging from 6 to 17 years old – began the Katz Drug Store sit-in in Oklahoma City, one of the first high-profile civil rights protests in the nation.


Luper and the thirteen children went into Katz Drug Store, took seats at a nearly empty lunch counter, and ordered hamburgers and Cokes. The waitress told them they would not be served. Instead of leaving, they stayed for hours in their seats, refusing to give them up to other customers.


They returned the next day. Finally, after three days, they were served at Katz.


From this event, protests grew to nearly every restaurant in downtown Oklahoma City and continued over the next four years. This effort, began by these children, helped to end segregation at every eating establishment in the city. This also helped spark the movement around the nation to tear down racial barriers.


As the Oklahoman reported 10 years ago, that sit-in began with a child asking a question: "I asked Momma why? Why didn't I just go in and ask for a Coca-Cola and a hamburger?” said Marilyn Luper Hildreth, now 70.


Her mother, Clara Luper, worked with the children in the spirit of nonviolent disobedience. As the Oklahoman wrote, “She taught them not to react when they were spat upon. She coached them how to lie down and protect themselves when they were hit. She instructed them to be polite, but forceful.”


We can certainly argue as a society that we are nowhere close to being where most would want us to be in terms of equality, but thankfully Clara Luper and thirteen children were brave enough to be the inspiration for the change which was long overdue. I hope this also encourages other young Oklahomans to stand for their principles and fight for what is right, while never letting someone discourage them simply because of their age.


About OICA
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens, to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk.

Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.“


Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center is proud to offer Telemedicine to students, faculty & staff of both Howe and Poteau Public Schools.


School based telehealth programs keep parents at work and kids in the classroom, a win-win for families and the community.


“The Telemed clinic is just one of the many goals at EOMC and we hope to have Telemed Clinics in all 17 schools in LeFlore county within a 5-year period,” said Amy Lomon, Marketing Director, for EOMC.



“Poteau and Howe are our test schools this year, and we are going live with this service for this school year.”


“I am excited about it, because there is not another hospital in the state offering this to its residents. Telemed has taken off in a big way in Texas, and it is also common in ER settings, but to have this technology at the schools where not only kids can be seen, but so can the faculty and staff of that school.”



The program should cut down on absences.


The Nurse Practitioner examines your child during school, with the assistance of the School Nurse, using video conferencing and medical equipment.


You’ve got enough to worry about at work. Save the travel time and days off it takes to take care of your sick child. The school nurse and our Nurse Practitioner will contact you regarding the care or treatment of your child.


Parents/Guardian must enroll students in the Telehealth program. This service does not replace your child’s regular primary care provider but provides convenient access to medical care when it is needed. If you are unable to get an immediate appointment and your child needs to be evaluated, EOMC wants to bridge that gap and keep your kids healthy and in the classroom.





Friday, 10 August 2018 13:38

Teen Drivers Can Pledge to #JustDriveOK

Press release


OKLAHOMA CITY – As students head back to school this month, the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) is asking teen drivers to say no to distracted driving. The Department is launching the #JustDriveOK campaign next week.


“Distracted driving can have deadly consequences, but the solution to distracted driving is simple,” Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak said. “We are asking teen drivers to be aware of what takes their attention away from driving and make a conscious decision not to do those activities while behind the wheel.”


Distracted driving can include talking or texting on your phone, eating or drinking, talking to the people riding in the car, or messing with the car stereo, entertainment or navigation system. In Oklahoma, it is against the law to text and drive.


The #JustDriveOK campaign will ask students to pledge not to drive distracted. The OID is working with schools all over the state to spread the message.


The campaign kicks off Aug. 16 at the Union Gridiron Classic followed by the Jenks Trojan Preview on Aug. 17. #JustDriveOK representatives will be making appearances at football games and rallies all over the state throughout the season.


Students can take the pledge at


Educators and parents can also find resources on the site like a teen driver contract and a list of apps to fight distracted driving.



About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.


Press release

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is promoting World Breastfeeding Week Aug.1-7 with the theme “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life.” The theme focuses on the foundation of lifelong good health that breastfeeding provides for babies and mothers in a world filled with inequity, crisis and poverty.

Breastfeeding is the natural way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large. We all have an important role to play in ensuring the growth, development and survival of children at home and around the world.

According to Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data from 2016, 83.9 percent of Oklahoma mothers began breastfeeding their babies after birth. While most new mothers start out breastfeeding, many do not exclusively breastfeed for six months, or continue for up to one year of age or beyond as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

“Breastfeeding establishes an important foundation for the health of the breastfed infant as well as the mother,” said Amanda Morgan, Breastfeeding Education Coordinator for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Service. “WIC views breastfeeding as a priority and strives to set an example for community support of breastfeeding mothers.”

Data provided in The Oklahoma Toddler Survey (TOTS) from 2014 to 2016 indicate that although the numbers are gradually improving, only 41.5 percent of mothers were breastfeeding at six months and 23.5 percent of mothers were breastfeeding at 12 months or more. The aim of the national Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding objectives is to increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed at six months to nearly 61 percent and at one year to 34 percent.

For more information about breastfeeding, how to find a lactation consultant in your area, or how to become a Recognized Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite, visit the OSDH breastfeeding website, or call the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline toll free at 1-877-271-MILK (6455).


Press release


As required by SQ 788, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has posted application information and instructions for patients and businesses interested in obtaining medical marijuana licenses.

The information is now available at Per SQ 788, applications can be submitted on August 25. No application documents will be accepted by mail or in person. Only documents submitted online will be considered as part of a complete application.
“Our staff has worked nonstop over the past three months to develop this process and I commend their effort,” said Oklahoma State Department of Health Interim Commissioner Tom Bates. “The information provided today should answer many of the questions we have been receiving about what is required to apply.”

SQ 788 also established a Food Safety Standards Board and each appointment will be made by the Commissioner of Health, as specified in the new law. The nominees for the 12 positions will need to have expertise in the marijuana industry as well as public health and clinical science. Public announcement of the appointees will be made shortly following the special meeting of the Oklahoma State Board of Health next week.

“We have received a good list of candidates to be appointed,” said Commissioner Bates. “However, this is a new industry in our state, and we want to make sure the qualifications of each appointee are properly vetted.”

For questions about the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority or the application process, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Important Note: Information regarding applications reflects recent changes recommended by the Oklahoma Attorney General. All information is subject to change and is pending official adoption of emergency rules by the Oklahoma Board of Health and approval from the Governor. The Oklahoma State Department of Health will keep updated with the most current information.

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