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Outlook 2013: Federal budget cuts could be 'devastating' for Oklahoma's medical schools, officials warn

by Silas Allen Modified: April 22, 2013 at 9:45 am •  Published: April 10, 2013

Iandolo's office provides small bridge grants to keep projects from being halted when funding lapses. Those grants are generally enough to allow the center to avoid layoffs, he said, but they can't shore up the shortfall created by budget cuts.

“There just isn't a whole lot that you can do,” he said.

Leigh Goodson, vice president of research and institutional advancement at the OSU Center for Health Sciences, said the cuts could affect not only the center's ability to do research, but also the number of potential doctors it is able to train.

The center relies on funding from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration for its doctor training programs.

Those programs are a critical piece of the state's effort to combat a shortage of medical professionals in Oklahoma.

Doc shortage persists

According to the 2012 edition of America's Health Rankings, a state-by-state breakdown of health factors, Oklahoma ranks 49th in the nation in terms of availability of primary care physicians. Both of the state's medical schools have launched efforts to combat that shortage, particularly in rural and underserved areas across the state.

“We anticipate not being able to afford as many students as we did before,” Goodson said.

The center has a number of sources of funding other than federal agencies, including the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and a number of nonprofit groups, Goodson said. Having a diverse group of sources of funding may help lessen the impact of the cuts, she said.

Although most researchers recognize the need for the federal government to cut spending, Goodson said she hopes the impact of the cuts will be limited.

The grants that will be affected by the cuts fund important research projects that are critical to the future of health care in the state, she said.

“It's very important for the future of science,” she said. “It is difficult to think about less research going on.”

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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Science is in for a rough time.”

John Iandolo,
OU Health Sciences Center's vice

president for

research administration


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