Lawmakers want heart screenings for newborns
Two state lawmakers would like to see Oklahoma require more effective heart screenings for newborns. House Bill 1347, by state Rep. Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa, would require hospitals and other birthing facilities to perform a pulse oximetry screening on every newborn before discharge from the facility. The pulse oximetry screening is a noninvasive test that measures the percentage of hemoglobin in blood that is saturated with oxygen. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States, affecting nearly 1 percent of, or about 40,000, births per year. State Sen. Kim David will carry the legislation in the Oklahoma Senate. House Bill 1347 will most likely be assigned to the House Public Health Committee, where members will review the legislation and vote to send it on to the full House. The legislative session convenes Monday.
Childhood cancer research grant awarded to OU
The St. Baldrick's Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity that raises money for childhood cancer research, will award a one-year infrastructure grant of $48,297 to University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The Foundation's infrastructure grants provide resources to institutions enabling them to conduct more research and enroll more kids in clinical trials. The award will help the center participate in Children's Oncology Group research, a National Cancer Institute-supported clinical trials group which is the world's largest organization devoted to childhood and adolescent cancer research.
Alcohol education offered to students
An alcohol education program is available for middle and high school students across Oklahoma. The state Department of Education, in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, is offering AlcoholEdu through an online platform. The program, free to seventh- to 12th-grade students, is part of the state's “2 Much 2 Lose” underage drinking prevention effort. The course delivers personalized feedback to all students based on their drinking experiences and helps them establish goals for making smart decisions about alcohol. So far, 25 Oklahoma schools have used AlcoholEdu, and more schools are scheduled to begin this spring.
From staff reports