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FOR RELEASE: October 5, 2000
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Health Department Seeks Community Input at the Mayor's Conference on Disability Concerns

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is requesting input from the community on ways to improve public health at the Oklahoma City Mayor's Conference on Disabilities, Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Myriad Convention Center.

At the one-day conference entitled Time to Move, OSDH Turning Point Project Coordinator Neil Hann will present ways that communities are forming partnerships with public health to return to the traditional roots of community-based prevention of health problems. “Public health is everyone's business. It is essential that we partner with communities to ensure basic public health needs are met, as well as identify unique community needs and develop local solutions,” Hann said.

Turning Point is funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We are now in the implementation phase and will be expanding into additional counties to develop new Turning Point partnerships with local communities,” Hann said. Turning Point currently has partnerships with Cherokee, Texas and Tulsa counties. New partnerships are developing in Comanche, Carter, Payne, Kay, Oklahoma and Mayes counties.

The OSDH will also sponsor a booth to give free pneumococcal vaccinations to high risk persons, including those with chronic health conditions or who are 65 years of age or older. Pneumococcal disease can lead to serious infections of the lungs, blood and covering of the brain. Prevention through vaccination is important because the disease has become more resistant to drugs such as penicillin.

Conference co-chair Marisa New said, “One of the goals of this conference is to increase awareness and educate people about the opportunities available for people with disabilities.” Mayor Kirk Humphreys of Oklahoma City will be presiding over the awards luncheon honoring those individuals and organizations that have been proactive in advocating for the needs of people with disabilities.

A variety of seminars and exhibits will showcase the latest technical, educational, medical and employment advances for persons with disabilities. Exhibits and displays are free and open to the public.

For more information on the conference call 405-752-1624. For TDD call 405-522-6706 (metro) or 1-800-522-8224.

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