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FOR RELEASE: August 12, 2002
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
405/271-5601

Interim State of the State’s Health Report Focuses on Health Disparities

The Oklahoma State Board of Health has released a 2002 State of the State’s Health Interim Report, The Haves and Have Nots, which focuses on significant health disparities among Oklahoma’s ethnic minorities.

The report identifies health disparities between population groups as a significant contributor to Oklahoma’s overall poor health status. In order to implement fundamental solutions for health improvement during a time of finite resource availability, Oklahomans must have a clear understanding of these disparities.

Among the report’s findings are:

  • High heart disease death rates for Oklahoma’s African American and Native American populations, compared to U.S. rates.
  • High cancer death rates for Oklahoma’s Hispanic, African American, and Native American populations, compared to U.S. rates.
  • High overall cancer death rates for Oklahoma’s Hispanic, African American, and Native American populations, compared to U.S. rates.
  • High lung cancer death rates for Oklahoma’s Hispanic and Native American populations, compared to U.S. rates.

The report’s recommendations were derived from participants of a statewide conference in May who looked at the changing demographics in public health. The participants’ suggestions for addressing Oklahoma’s health disparities included the following:

  • Enhance data capacity to clearly define health disparities among population groups.
  • Provide cultural competency training for health professionals.
  • Increase opportunities for health access among minority population groups.
  • Improve health funding for minority population groups.
  • Recruit minority health care providers.
  • Support legislation that protects voluntary health care providers who can staff additional community health centers and voluntary clinics to serve minority populations.
  • Encourage communities to develop partnerships to identify local health priorities and local solutions.

The 2002 Interim State of the State’s Health Report can be found on the Web at http://www.health.state.ok.us/board/state/index.html.

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