Press Releases

7.24.06 Gov. Henry, State Leaders Outline Impact of Planned Oklahoma Diabetes Center

Oklahoma City -- Flanked by lawmakers and tribal leaders as well as leaders in education and health care, Gov. Brad Henry today updated Oklahomans on the next step in establishing a state-of-the-art Oklahoma Diabetes Center. Funding for the facility was established this year through Senate Bill 90xx, which the Governor signed ceremonially this morning in the Blue Room of the state Capitol.

The Oklahoma Diabetes Center (ODC), which will boast locations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, will focus on diabetes treatment and prevention, as well as cutting-edge research.

“The rate of diabetes in Oklahoma exceeds the national average, with one in 10 Oklahomans diagnosed as diabetic and thousands of other cases being undiagnosed,” Gov. Henry said.

“I am proud that we are taking action to develop the very best treatment for this life-threatening disease. As a result of this world-class diabetes center, we will significantly boost Oklahomans’ access to cutting-edge medical treatment and research.”

A collaborative effort among clinicians and scientists in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the Oklahoma Diabetes Center will develop statewide programs in diabetes care and research for adults and children with diabetes. Groundbreaking for a Children’s Diabetes Center is expected in September, while construction for the ODC can happen as early as 2008.

Diabetes is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, and limb amputations, and is the major cause of blindness and end stage kidney failure in the U.S.

This is especially true among the Native American population, which is particularly vulnerable to diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated that one of every two Native American children will develop diabetes by age 50. A number of Native American tribes headquartered in Oklahoma are partnering in the state’s efforts involving the Oklahoma Diabetes Center.

Attendees at the bill signing included Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Choctaw Nation Chief Greg Pyle, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith and University of Oklahoma President David Boren.

Although SB 90xx ensured funding for the diabetes center, the facility was created in separate legislation, Senate Bill 1056.