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Health care leaders unite at Oklahoma Health Forum to explore ways to improve Oklahomans’ health outcomes

Monday, October 23, 2023

Media Contact: Mack Burke | Associate Director of Media Relations | 405-744-5540 |

The Oklahoma Health Forum recently welcomed health care leaders to Tulsa’s Summit Club with the goal of exploring new ideas to improve outcomes across the state. 

Hosted by Oklahoma State University and its Human Performance and Nutrition Research Institute, the forum included discussions about long-term solutions and identifying collaborative opportunities to address Oklahoma’s health challenges. 

“It is encouraging to see the vision of OSU and HPNRI focusing on the broader health care challenges that have led Oklahoma to be one of the lowest ranked states in the nation for health care,” said Josiah Sutton, Community Care senior vice president and COO. “To truly improve the health of all Oklahomans, bold leadership, collaboration and investment will be required. Through the vital work of HPNRI, OSU is a pioneer in all three of these areas.” 

Oklahoma chronically ranks among the least healthy states in the country, but many of the diseases and ailments Oklahomans face are preventable. OSU President Kayse Shrum and Lance Walker, the Rick and Gail Muncrief executive director of HPNRI, believe a performance-focused approach has the potential to change the conversation and change lives. 

“Within the DNA of HPNRI lies a commitment to pioneering research that can be used to mitigate health challenges and elevate human performance,” Walker said. “Our relentless pursuit of a dual mindset in prevention and performance is the driving force behind the institute’s quest for excellence and innovation.”

That approach is at the heart of HPNRI’s mission to discover, develop and deliver scientific knowledge to empower people of all abilities to realize their optimal performance. The institute leverages the study of optimizing human performance to transform health and develop therapeutic strategies to combat obesity and chronic disease. 

The Innovation Foundation at OSU — home of HPNRI — is equipped to elevate OSU through partnerships with public and private entities to fuel OSU’s land-grant mission to serve all of Oklahoma and beyond. 

Since its founding in 2022, HPNRI has united faculty in pursuit of transdisciplinary research and established new ECHO lines to help educate the public on topics like athletic training, concussion awareness and prevention, childhood obesity and more. 

As a pediatrician, Dr. Shrum saw firsthand that many health issues don’t begin when someone reaches adulthood. Like Walker, she believes in a preventative approach, and that starts with research.   

“In OSU’s We Are Land-Grant strategy, One Health is a priority, and the university is bringing together the brightest minds from multiple disciplines to improve health outcomes for Oklahomans, the nation and beyond,” she said. “As the largest university system in the state with a presence in all 77 counties, we have the infrastructure in place to advance research and discovery, and then share that information with Oklahomans. 

“To change health outcomes, it will take everyone, and I cannot say enough about the participants who took part. Their input was invaluable, and I thank each of them for sharing their insights on trends and opportunities they see."

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