Health & Wellness

For the Children: A Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, CEO – OICA

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. The opportunity to spend time with family and friends during this annual celebration is restoring, and watching kids’ eyes light up with the “bombs bursting in air” presents a joy that should make every adult’s heart warm beyond the heat of the summer.

The cost associated with doing a municipal fireworks display compared to the quality of life for families participating is in my mind an expense well worth it if the community has budgeted for such a celebration.

Thinking back on family and these opportunities to cookout and spend time with loved ones, I certainly wish those activities happened more frequently. With our modern fast-paced society, it is difficult to even schedule family dinners regularly for most.

A survey published last year by Wren Kitchens surveyed 2,000 American families regarding their time together. It was found that families still generally eat meals together (chart from survey is attached). In addition, families spend time together with various activities.

Among the family activities are playing games, working together on homework, watching television as a family, and having old fashioned family conversations. Important also to the family dynamic, more than half of families choose to not allow mobile phones at the dinner table. Through these various activities, efforts such as those go a significant distance to improving the quality of life for future generations by instilling these good habits which can be passed down.

It was recently announced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that Oklahoma ranks 42nd in the nation out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for various points in child well-being. While this is slightly improved, studies also show that our state has one of worst, if not the worst, propensities for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). These traumatic long term experiences during youth lead to elevated poor health conditions that are passed down by generation.

As they say, knowing is half the battle. Please try to carve out more time with your loved ones for a meal at the dinner table, a family cookout with neighbors, or gathering for local summer festivals as a family. Not only will it build a more solid and stable family, but it will also shape future generations for the better and ultimately reduce those causes leading to divorce, child abuse and neglect, and other factors impacting our state.

  • About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking 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.”

4th of July is around the corner, and in tradition with the holiday comes fireworks! For many of our pets, fireworks can provoke fear and anxiety from the unpredictable noise and vibration it causes. Trupanion, the leader in medical insurance for cats and dogs, is here to share some helpful tips and insight into reducing your pet's anxiety towards fireworks.

During July, Trupanion receives on average a 45% increase in anxiety-related claims, higher than any other month of the year. Staff Veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold can offer advice on beating pet anxiety this 4th of July including;

Placing your pet in a familiar environment, where they will feel the most secure during a fireworks show. This could be either a kennel, a bedroom, or a gated-off area where your pet spends most of their time.
Leave the television or radio on, or turn on a fan in a room to help sound-sensitive pets.
Consider body wraps, pheromone diffusers, or calming collars to help relax your pet.
For more severely anxious pets, anxiety medication could be necessary. Talk with your veterinarian to determine if medication is right for your pet.
4th of July celebrations last all day long. Additionally, all pet owner should consider these helpful tips to keep their furry friends safe throughout the day;

Stay Hydrated: If your pet will be outside during festivities, ensure they stay hydrated with plenty of water and have access to share throughout the day.
BBQ Safety: Avoid feeding your pet table scraps from a BBQ as it can cause a serious stomach ache. Also, beware of bones and corn-on-the-cob as pets can swallow those foods whole and not be able to digest them properly.
ID Tags: With our pets heading outside, many may run off and become lost. Ensure they are wearing their ID/collars to avoid a stressful moment of panic.
If you’re interested in speaking with Dr. Nold or another staff veterinarian at Trupanion on additional summer safety tips, I would be happy to arrange an interview.

Happy 4th of July!


EOMC’s Governing Board has approved a management agreement with NHS. Bob Carter, CEO of EOMC, said that "This agreement is a tremendous move forward for EOMC and the communities it serves. Joining forces with NHS and their system of rural Oklahoma hospitals and clinics will provide EOMC access to be part of a larger system but all still within Oklahoma."

The Strategic Plan going forward will be to expand the services available at EOMC and provide access to a higher level of specialty care within the NHS system. By joining forces with another Oklahoma healthcare system, EOMC will be able to better care for Oklahomans in Oklahoma facilities.

Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center recently welcomed Green Country Emergency Physicians to staff the Emergency Room 24/7 and will soon embark upon a new project to completely remodel the Emergency Department.

Brian Woodliff, CEO and President of Northeastern Health System says "We are excited to work with another rural Oklahoma Healthcare facility. We believe in bringing quality healthcare to rural Oklahoma and this management contract with EOMC will add one more location for that purpose. Part of our mission is to bring specialty services to rural Oklahoma and building up the healthcare systems for the local citizens. We will be working closing with Bob and all the staff at EOMC to bring more necessary healthcare services to the LeFlore County area."

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For the Children: A Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, CEO – OICA

With the end of the legislative session, the work for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy now transitions to more of an educational component.

From the early part of the year through the end of May, our work primarily is dedicated to not only educating lawmakers about policy and the impact of potential laws, but also to reach out to Oklahomans of all backgrounds across the state to encourage them to reach out to policymakers.

These calls help share the desires of constituents in legislative districts to help influence the direction of bills being considered and voted upon. We are at this point collecting ideas for suggestions on interim studies and compiling the results of the legislative session to share with advocates across the state.

If you have a civic organization in your community that would like to hear from the staff or board members with OICA, we spend much of the middle and latter part of the year working with local leaders to help encourage advocacy and outreach.

This consists of our team members going to communities to do presentations on how to be an effective advocate, how to understand the legislative process in our state, or presenting a detailed analysis of the child-related legislation which was considered in the 2021 session.

One especially rewarding part of the job is when we can work with youth-related programs to better understand the process. This past week, I had the pleasure of providing a legislative process class to the 2021 delegates of Youth Leadership Oklahoma.

This program was established to take about 50 incoming high school seniors from across the state on a week-long tour of different destinations where they learn about different aspects of leadership. This year, the program was timed to allow the delegates to begin the week learning about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by being present during activities and concluding the week in Oklahoma City where I had the opportunity to teach them how a bill becomes a law.

This was done with the help of Sen. George Young, and Reps. Cyndi Munson and Daniel Pae. The four of us guided the students through a two hour discussion, including the group conducting a mock legislature from filing to making it to the desk of the governor.

The mature conversation about a tough issue in debate was rewarding and left me optimistic for the type of young leaders we have in our state. The diverse background led to thought-provoking opinions, while the respectful way the debate occurred showed that people can indeed disagree while maintaining respect for one another.

I fully expect the young people participating in this program, along with the many other youth organizations shaping leaders at an early age, will continue to generate individuals who will solidly take charge in their future pursuits. We, as adults, need to take time to work with these students to help give them wise counsel and provide opportunities to put them into roles that build their confidence and experience.

OICA looks forward to continuing partnerships with youth organizations to provide those lessons on understanding the system of government better and speaking with adult organizations to enhance that insight of how the process works. If you would like to learn how to become a member of OICA and arrange for an OICA team member to visit with your organization, contact Christine at or call (405) 236-5437 to learn more.

About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking 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.


Effective June 1, 2021, per Executive Order 61 O.S. § 327 (A), issued by the office of Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, Carl Albert State College will no longer require the use of masks in any area of either the Poteau or Sallisaw campuses. The text of the Executive Order can be read below:

1. On or before June 1, 2021, all buildings and office space, owned or leased by the State of Oklahoma and open to the public shall rescind any mandate for the wearing of masks in order to receive government services.

2. By the terms of this Executive Order, all state agencies are hereby prohibited from requiring a vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of admittance to any public building.

3. This Executive Order shall not apply to employees and buildings of state agencies primarily involved in medical patient-facing activities including research participant areas and facilities where patient care is the primary function.

4. Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to restrict an individual’s right to wear a mask in a state or public building.

The wearing of masks on either campus shall be strictly voluntary. Individuals may continue to wear masks if they so choose.

By Stan Hurwitz /

Mission 22 Uses High-Tech System that Helps Veterans Repair ‘Invisible Injuries’

Maker donates 100th unit for vets in need.

(Issued May 27, 2021) -- It’s estimated that some 500,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS.) Others may have it and not recognize the symptoms.

Since 2018, Mission 22 (, a non-profit organization that provides treatment programs for PTS and suicide awareness and prevention, has joined forces with Solace Lifesciences, makers of NuCalm, a high-tech stress-relief technology, to bring elusive – often life-saving help -- to veterans.

Solace Lifesciences has donated almost $500,000 worth of NuCalm to Mission 22 in an effort to serve those who have valiantly served our country and protected us.

Mission 22’s treatment programs address Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and other issues, organize events, and build memorials to create social impact and awareness for these important issues. Mission 22 partners with numerous organizations across the U. S. and runs an Ambassador program to educate the public on veterans issues, bring veterans into its treatment programs, and create resources in their communities. Johnson says, “Through these programs, we push for the betterment of our community, and offer support when veterans need it the most -- right now. For many vets, PTS doesn't go away over time; it can disrupt their lives for years, decades, their lifetime.”

Magnus Johnson, a former Green Beret, combat veteran and Bronze Star recipient, founded Mission 22 with the motto ‘United We Heal,’ as a way for veterans, their families and communities to combat issues affecting them.

Recovery & Resiliency

Johnson explains how Mission 22’s Recovery & Resiliency curriculum leverages timeless principles of healing and combines it with modern science: “We put these powerful biometric and supplemental tools and healing fundamentals in veterans' hands so they're never left in the dark about the next positive step they need to take. They learn how to reframe their physical and psychological environment to transform what was once a severe trauma into a treasure the rest of us can learn from. While wounds from the past will never fully go away, R+R teaches how those wounds can turn into weapons against hopelessness.”

Johnson had been using NuCalm for several years before adding the technology to his R+R curriculum. He describes his personal NuCalm use: “With NuCalm I can effectively and quickly access a state of mind where, in 20 minutes a day, I get to respond to my feelings and thoughts instead of react to them. I can be humble, thoughtful, patient and kind. But when I react instead of respond, I can be aggressive, irritable and fearful. NuCalm helps me be the version of myself that is genuine and real. It is who I am without PTS.”

NuCalm -- ‘Rewiring the Brain’ -- Technology to Help Disconnect

According to Jim Poole, President and CEO of Solace Lifesciences, makers of NuCalm (, “We provide NuCalm to help veterans heal, restore, and recover from trauma. This is by design as NuCalm was invented and developed expressly to help humans heal from trauma by lowering the stress response

safely, predictably, and without drugs. Once the brain is traumatized, physiological and biochemical changes occur that keep the person in a constant state of “fight-or-flight” and hypervigilance. It is impossible to heal and recover in this state, which makes NuCalm’s ability to create deep relaxation, cellular restoration, and recovery so important for the healing process. Within minutes NuCalm puts the brakes on the stress response, with ease, without drugs, and on-demand. Over the past decade we have been honored and humbled to witness the profound benefits NuCalm has had on thousands of veterans and their respective family members.”

The patented, clinically proven neuroscience technology uses a biosignal processing disc and neuroacoustic software presented via a mobile app. The NuCalm system relaxes users without drugs, without delay, without fail.” The award-winning, patented technology is drug-free and non-invasive with no side effects. It has been used by veterans and their families for more than a decade and is currently being used by top operators across the U.S. military and the FBI.

A vet who participated in the Mission 22 Curriculum, in which NuCalm can be used, said, “There are so many things I would have missed out on if I didn’t force myself to participate. If I hadn’t gone out to the restaurant, I wouldn’t be in an amazing relationship right now. If I didn’t seek out art instruction, I wouldn’t have a company that now does national art projects. And this is coming from a guy who once spent three weeks in his house alone, in bed. It takes time, but you have to push yourself to succeed.”

Solace Lifesciences is committed to serving those who serve and have served and offers special pricing for all active duty and veterans. As part of its collaboration, NuCalm offers discounts to all military (active duty and veterans).

Mission 22 is currently raising funds for Veteran Memorials in Oklahoma and Indiana. Mission 22 has earned the prestigious GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency and is listed as a Top Nonprofit. The organization is part of Elderheart, Inc., a 501 C3 non-profit (IRS -- EIN Number 46-2750726)


Mission 22 contact: (503) 908-8505 / Email:

694 N Larch St. #910 / Sisters, Oregon 97759

Visit website or Facebook Mission 22 - Home

Solace Lifesciences contact: (312-371-1031) / Email:

For more about NuCalm, visit 

For the Children: A Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, CEO – OICA


“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” -Theodore Roosevelt


I saw this post on a friend’s social media page. As Teddy is my favorite President, I was surprised that I had not seen this quote before. If you have read about him, this certainly describes his attitude and how he lived his life.

Equally in the spirit of this quote are the people who also want to see better, even if on different paths. That is what makes policy work an unusual beast; almost all want to see better results and opportunities for the people served, but various philosophies, party registrations, backgrounds, and viewpoints create different daily dynamics.

Recently, such an opportunity brought together various organizations and viewpoints toward one unified goal: improving the health of Oklahoma’s children by reducing obesity and increasing activity. Springing from Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet, Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell volunteered to lead this conversation and find solutions.

Oklahoma’s top elected officials understand the problem faced by our state: 18.8% of youth ages 10 to 17 are obese, making Oklahoma the eighth highest among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for childhood obesity. This data comes from a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation called “State of Childhood Obesity.”

Childhood obesity creates adult issues. The project showed 36.8% of Oklahoma adults are obese, placing us fourth highest out of the 50 states and D.C. Similarly, we are 13th out of 51 for adults with diabetes at 12.2%, and 37.8% of adults have hypertension, ranking us 12th out of 51.

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) dedicated our annual Child Advocacy Luncheon to this discussion last week. We were fortunate to have Dr. Chan Hellman, one of our state’s foremost experts on children’s issues discuss the health impact faced from this issue and discuss the data behind this issue.

Lieutenant Governor Pinnell shared his vision for what we need to do as a state to improve our quality of health. Oklahoma’s 2021 Kid Governor Charlotte Anderson expressed her beliefs about how her peers can do more outdoors this summer and be active.

To complete the conversation, OICA was deeply honored to have Pro Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas provide insight on the work done by the “NFL Play 60” program and what the NFL is doing to help overcome this nationwide problem.

The mission ahead is clear: improving physical activity, increasing access to fresh produce and encouraging better habits through health education.

Thank you to all who are working on this issue, and especially to our speakers and attendees. Special thanks go to the sponsors: Complete Health Oklahoma, an initiative working to deliver better health outcomes for Oklahoma’s youth, and Paycom, an Oklahoma-based online payroll and human resource technology provider.

You can see the 90-minute recording at if you want to learn more, and you can contact us if you would like to join this important endeavor. OICA is hopeful this collaborative initiative will help deliver both policy and programs to help overcome these problems faced by Oklahomans.

To me, this is indeed the work worth doing, and it is good to see Oklahomans from varying perspectives working toward the same goal. I think Teddy would be proud of us.

  • About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking 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.”

 A Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, CEO – OICA


April 19th is a day Oklahomans will always remember. We owe that in large part to responsive government officials who possessed foresight to ensure we remember “those who were killed, those who survived, and those changed forever.”

The tragedy stemmed from an extremist domestic terrorist who detonated a truck filled with explosives in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 Oklahomans, including 19 children, 15 of which were in the America’s Kids Day Care Center, and three pregnant women. An estimated 646 people were in the building. Five of the casualties came from outside the building, along with countless injured and traumatized.

In the decade after the bombing, schools were criticized for not requiring the bombing to be covered in the curriculum of mandatory Oklahoma history classes. The state’s Priority Academic Student Skills did not require students learn about the bombing. On April 6, 2010, Gov. Brad Henry signed a law requiring the tragedy be part of the curriculums for Oklahoma, U.S., and world history classes.

Governor Henry said, as he signed the bill, “Although the events of April 19, 1995 may be etched in our minds and in the minds of Oklahomans who remember that day, we have a generation of Oklahomans that has little to no memory of the events of that day. We owe it to the victims, the survivors. and all of the people touched by this tragic event to remember April 19, 1995 and understand what it meant and still means to this state and this nation.”

The terrorist, from his twisted point of view, believed that the bomb attack was a “win” for him, saying before his execution that the score was 168 to one, noting he extinguished 168 lives, and we can only execute him once.

That is what hatred creates; a villain who knows children will be harmed by his act, and then does it anyway.

This was not the first tragedy to affect our state, and it unfortunately will likely not the last. Oklahoma has experienced heartbreak from natural disasters and manmade devastation: events caused by willful acts of hatred, racism, anti-government sentiments, or whatever motivation must not be forgotten, nor have the proper lessons taught about these individuals.

State lawmakers and Governor Henry saw to that with the Murrah bombing, but other events also need proper discussion.

It was 75 years before a state commission was created to study the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. In 1996, state Rep. Don Ross and Sen. Maxine Horner wrote and passed legislation authorizing formation of the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.

From that, leaders like Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre and Rep. Jabar Shumate wrote legislation requiring the massacre be taught but did not see this become law. Finally, Sen. Kevin Matthews and other Oklahoma leaders announced just last year the state was moving forward with embedding the story of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre into the curriculum of all Oklahoma schools through State Department of Education policy.

The lesson of all this is “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” While history’s mistakes might make us uncomfortable, we must learn the lessons the mistakes taught us. Only by doing that will future generations know and understand the reasons for those mistakes and ensure they are never repeated.

  • About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking 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.”

Press Release

Bank of Oklahoma staff battling lifelong asthma to climb 800 stairs at outdoor Fight For Air Climb to raise money to end lung disease, COVID-19

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – (April 6, 2021) – Overcoming years of breathing treatments, allergy complications and the loss of loved ones due to lung diseases growing up, local Oklahoma bankers Justin Dick and Susan Davis Jordan understand the importance of lung disease research. That’s why they’ve created the team Bank of Oklahoma (BOK) Climbers to raise money and awareness in the American Lung Association’s outdoor Fight For Air Climb on May 1.

Team captain and local board member, Dick was just six years-old when he lost his father to lung cancer and has been receiving treatment with a specialist at the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic for 31 years.

“I have been under the treatment since I was 4 years old for severe asthma and allergy complications,” Dick said. “Research and treatment have resulted in me having little to no symptoms and minimum issues for the last decade.”

Also living with asthma, Jordan’s passion comes from her close involvement with allergies, asthma and COVID-19, which she was very sick with. She’s thrilled to see this year’s climb moving outdoors.

“The great thing will be the level of comfort for participants, volunteers, and spectators by having the event outdoors.” she said.

The seven-person team of BOK Climbers raised over half of their $1,000 goal for this year’s climb thus far.

“The dollars raised and the dollars put to use are nearly identical in value,” Jordan said. “The ALA is able to touch the lives directly and indirectly of so many people that it is well worth anyone’s time and effort to lend a hand and make their mission possible.”

Registration for the Fight For Air Climb on May 1 is $30 and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. The event includes tackling just shy of 800 stairs at University of Central Oklahoma’s Wantland stadium. Participants have the option to Climb Your Way and complete their climb virtually if they’re unable to attend the event.

Money raised at the Fight For Air Climb will fund the Lung Association’s efforts to end lung cancer and lung disease, as well as support the Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative. The COVID-19 Action Initiative is a $25 million investment to address COVID-19 and protect against future respiratory virus pandemics. The initiative works with public and private entities to increase research collaboration and develop new vaccines, detection tests and treatment therapies.


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

American Lung Association

1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872)

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