$15M Grant Meant To Get Oklahoma Health Back On Track

Wednesday, May 27th 2015, 7:48 pm
By: News On 6

Wednesday, a federal grant was awarded to The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and School of Community Medicine in Tulsa.

Heart disease is a huge killer of Oklahomans and the $15 million - the largest grant of its kind - could certainly help.

The grant will take small primary practices in rural areas all over the state and give them the opportunity to connect with a support system to get better care to their patients.

5/27/2015 Related Story: Tulsa Researchers Target Heart Health With $15M Grant

It was a day more than 20 years in the making for Dr. Steven Crawford who's been waiting for the project since it started as the brain child of retired OU Family Medicine Doctor, James W. Mold, back in the early 90s.

"I told him, I said ‘Jim, we can't let what you worked on die,'" Crawford said.

And they didn't.

OU President Dr. David Boren said this is just one more step to a better Oklahoma.

"In fact I think it's safe to say that there's no place in the U.S. that are having as much rapid progress in medical care and research anywhere," he said.

OU Health Sciences is just one of seven programs awarded $15 million to get Oklahomans' health back on track, especially when it comes to heart health.

"We're unfortunately one of the lowest in regards to heart health, we're the 49th state in the nation and we're only above Mississippi and we can do better," Crawford said.

The program will connect rural primary care practices across the state with the tools and clinicians to give patients better care, helping to update preventative care measures and provide support to doctors who are trying to keep up with patient demand.

Crawford said it's a long road ahead but that the goal is simple.

"If we can keep people, or stop them from smoking, if we can get their cholesterol and blood pressure under control and take aspirin when they need to take aspirin, we can prevent a lot of the heart attacks that occur in our nation," he said.

The grant will help at least 300 primary care practices for the next three years.