Gov. Fallin announces $20.3 million grant for Oklahoma health organizations

The grant will target research that focuses on Oklahoma's medically underserved populations, especially in rural areas of the state.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: September 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm •  Published: September 24, 2013

Dr. Judith James lost countless hours of sleep ensuring that everything was there.

Once the application was ready, she needed a cart to carry the several pounds of paperwork into FedEx.

Almost a year later, that 2-foot high stack of papers turned into a $20.3 million research grant that could help scientists answer some of Oklahoma's most pressing health questions.

James, the lead scientist on the grant, sat Monday alongside Gov. Mary Fallin, University of Oklahoma President David Boren and state health leaders as they announced the federal grant from the National Institutes of Health, a medical research agency that's part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“With the grant from the National Institutes of Health, we'll target our medically underserved populations in our state, especially in our rural areas, which we all care deeply about,” Fallin said. “It will be a five-year grant that will help support potentially lifesaving research in Oklahoma.”

The federal grant was awarded to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in collaboration with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, along with several other institutions across Oklahoma.

Oklahoma ranks No. 43 nationwide in overall health outcomes. The state has long ranked poorly in the rates of residents with health issues such as cancer, diabetes, obesity or heart disease.

The grant will allow for more Oklahoma-based research on these chronic diseases and how they specifically affect Oklahoma's population.

Boren said this grant is the largest National Institutes of Health grant that OU has been involved with. And this year, OU is involved with projects that total about $70 million in grants from NIH, he said.

That's a record — and the year isn't over, he said.

The grant money is a tribute to every person at the Health Sciences Center, OMRF and leaders in state government, he said.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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