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September 24, 2013

Grant targets medically underserved Oklahomans

CLAREMORE — OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center has received a $20.3 million federal grant to target medically underserved Oklahomans, especially in rural areas of the state.

Gov. Mary Fallin said the grant, announced Monday, will support potentially life-saving research at Oklahoma’s medical centers.

“It will also help to provide additional resources for rural areas that have typically been underserved,” the governor said.

The five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health supports an Institutional Development Award, a program that builds research capacities in states with historically low levels of NIH funding by supporting basic, clinical and translational research, faculty development and program infrastructure.

University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren said the grant will help ensure that all Oklahomans benefit from the advances of medical science.

“It is another example of our goal to move research from the bench to the bedside to help improve health care for all the people of our state,” Boren said.

Dr. M. Dewayne Andrews, senior vice president and provost of the OU Health Sciences Center and executive dean of the OU College of Medicine, said Oklahoma has serious issues with overall poor health ratings and that underserved populations are disproportionately affected by chronic health conditions.

“This grant allows us to make great strides in addressing all of those factors, but perhaps just as important, it provides a platform to enrich the experience and education of promising new clinical researchers,” Andrews said.

The Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources program forges partnerships between 10 Oklahoma institutions, physicians across the state, American Indian tribes throughout Oklahoma and Kansas, the Chickasaw, Cherokee and Choctaw nations, as well as with institutions in Arkansas and South Carolina. The grant provides $4.3 million in its first year and another $4 million in subsequent years.

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