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FOR RELEASE: January 17, 2002
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

State Receives Native American Arthritis Research Grant

Members of Oklahoma’s Native American populations who are afflicted with arthritis may ultimately benefit from an educational grant awarded to the Oklahoma Arthritis Network (OAN), a statewide coalition consisting of public and private organizations.

OAN received a $5,000 grant from Pharmacia Corporation, a top ten research-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Peapak, New Jersey, to analyze ambulatory care data provided by the U.S. Public Health Service, Oklahoma City Area Indian Health Service. Results of the analysis will help measure the prevalence of arthritis and related conditions among Native American tribes in Oklahoma. In turn, this information will assist in determining where arthritis community education is most needed.

“We are very excited about the opportunities this grant will offer for collaborative efforts to begin to address the health concerns of Native Americans affected by arthritis. Findings will be used to identify and address how best to meet those needs in the Native American population,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Leslie Beitsch.

“In some tribes, arthritis and related conditions may be ten times higher than in Caucasian populations,” said James Jarvis, M.D., rheumatologist, OU Medical Center.

“These collaborative efforts to benefit Native Americans are a perfect fit for the OAN’s initiative to improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans affected by arthritis and related conditions,” said Marisa New, OTR, coordinator, Arthritis Prevention and Education Program.

The mission of OAN is to increase public awareness about arthritis and related conditions. OAN seeks to maximize the quality of life for Oklahomans affected by arthritis and related conditions through the development of resources, promotion of access to appropriate health care management, and the provision of education.

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, College of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology (BSE) will perform the analysis. "The Department of BSE is pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with the OAN to achieve their goal to reduce the burden of arthritis in Oklahoma,” states Barbara R. Neas, Ph.D., Kerr-McGee Presidential Professor of Biostatistics.

For more information, contact the Arthritis Prevention and Education Program at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, (405) 271-9444, ext. 56410.

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