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Grant funds will create the Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources program, which develops partnerships between the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), Native American tribes and physicians across the state.

“This gives us access to people and data immediately,” said Courtney Montgomery, Ph.D, an associate member of the Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program at OMRF. “We’ll be taking actual clinical findings and putting it with lab results to develop better intervention and prevention strategies.”

By forming a major coalition of health researchers and practitioners, many of the delays once known to the medical community will be eliminated.

OU President and former Oklahoma governor David Boren (pictured) called the grant a move from the “bench to the bedside,” in a statement last week. Funds will help study everything from heart disease, lupus, diabetes, cancer and more.

Cutting red tape
“The red tape is gone,” Montgomery said. “Things that used to take months before will only take days now. We have the facilities and research to make it easy. We can now take a discovery in the lab and relate it to the people with the diseases.”

For instance, lab research results might lead investigators to discover that a specific gene is causing Native American women between the ages of 40 and 50 to suffer from arthritis. With that information in hand, project coordinators can comb patient files for people who fit that particular profile.

is another example of our goal to move research from the bench to the
bedside to help improve healthcare for all the people of our state,” OU
President David Boren said in a statement during a Sept. 23 press

Stephen M. Prescott, OMRF president, said the real winners of the new
collaborative effort are patients suffering from health conditions such
as heart disease, cancer or lupus. “Tomorrow, they’ll get the solutions
to their problems,” he said.

collaboration between researchers and physicians hasn’t always been
there because there was no specific conduit of funding mechanism to
connect the two groups, officials said.

believe this effort provides us the clinical and translational research
infrastructure to foster new clinically relevant discoveries and to
translate findings into improved health outcomes for citizens
everywhere,” Prescott said.

The five-year federal grant provides $4.3 million in its first year and another $4 million per year for the next four years.

Mary Fallin attended the press conference and urged state health
officials to help Oklahomans improve their health outcomes.

ranked next to last in the country in connection with specific health
indicators such as smoking and obesity, Oklahoma has jumped six spots to
No. 43.

Yet, the challenges have not disappeared, Fallin said during her remarks.

“Our goal is for Oklahomans to live longer, healthier and happier lives,” she said.

to the 2012 United Health Foundation’s state-by-state rankings,
Oklahoma is 48th in cardiovascular disease deaths, 43rd in the number of
diabetes cases and 45th for the number of patients suffering from

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