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Oklahoma State University

Health Leaders Gather to Improve Health Access in Rural Oklahoma

Friday, April 7 2017

Government officials, tribal leaders, health care administrators, physicians, and educators will convene to explore ways to improve healthcare delivery and access in rural Oklahoma.

Oklahoma currently ranks 46th in the nation in overall health according to the United Health Foundation. Oklahoma’s poor health status can be attributed to the shortage of primary care physicians and to the maldistribution of specialists who prefer to practice medicine in urban areas. Accessing health care is particularly challenging for Oklahomans living in rural and tribal communities. Many small towns do not have a primary care physician much less a specialist physician. OSU Center for Health Sciences has launched Project ECHO, an innovative care model, to bring specialty medicine to rural areas of the state.

“We are examining the efficiency of the traditional model of healthcare delivery where the patient travels to the doctor’s office. Some rural Oklahomans may not have the time, money or car to travel to see a specialist in Tulsa or Oklahoma City. Project ECHO lets us flip the model and bring the care to the patient,” says Kayse Shrum, D.O., president of OSU Center for Health Sciences.

To address this problem of access to specialty care, Shrum has joined forces with President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz (R-Altus), Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka), Senator Kim David (R-Porter) and Representative Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang) to host the OSU-CHS Rural Health Leadership Summit at OSU Oklahoma City on April 12th. Leaders will discuss healthcare issues facing their rural and tribal communities and how innovative solutions such as Project ECHO can address these issues.

"We're very excited about Project ECHO and how it can help improve health outcomes in rural Oklahoma. It’s is a great way to allow rural providers to gain access to specialty knowledge at OSU Center for Health Services,” says Dr. Johnny Stephens, chief operating officer at OSU Center for Health Sciences.

Featured speakers, panelists and moderators for the event include:

  • President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, Oklahoma State Senate
  • Speaker Charles McCall, Oklahoma State House of Representatives
  • Senator Kim David, Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee
  • Representative Leslie Osborn, Chair, House Appropriations and Budget Committee
  • Secretary Chris Benge, Chief of Staff and Secretary of Native American Affairs
  • Dr. Judy Goforth Parker, Administrator, Chickasaw Nation Division of Health
  • Todd Hallmark, Executive Director of Health Operations, Choctaw Nation
  • RADM Kevin Meeks, Acting Deputy Director of Field Operations, Indian Health Servic
  • Dr. Doug Nolan, Medical Director, Cherokee Nation Diabetes Program
  • Natalie Shirley, President, OSU-OKC, and Secretary of Education and Workforce Development
  • Dr. Kayse Shrum, President, OSU Center for Health Sciences
  • Dr. Johnny Stephens, Chief Operating Officer, OSU Center for Health Sciences
  • Shawn Terry, Secretary of Health, Muscogee (Creek) Nation
  • Dr. Jason Beaman, Director, OSU-CHS Psychiatry TeleECHO® Clinic
  • Dr. Crystal David, Clinical Pharmacist, OSU Center for Health Sciences
  • Dr. Joseph Johnson, Medical Director, OSU-CHS Project ECHO®
  • Dr. Samuel Martin, Director, OSU-CHS Addiction Medicine TeleECHO® Clinic

The event will take place at OSU-OKC. Due to the limited space the event is by invitation only.
The conference will be streamed live beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12th

For more information on the event contact:

Dan Threlkeld
Director of Media Relations

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