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FOR RELEASE: November 16, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Faith-Based Health, Wellness and Technology Partnership to Launch

The Community Development Service of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is partnering with the Faith-Based Health, Wellness and Technology Partnership to address the health needs in racial, ethnic, minority, underserved and unserved populations.

This visionary approach to address health disparities will officially launch during the annual Turning Point Conference on Friday, Dec. 3 at the Reed Center in Midwest City. By integrating health and computer technology and working through the faith-based organizations to reach out to their communities, many of the health burdens that disproportionately afflict ethnic and underserved groups can be effectively addressed, say state health officials.

A recent study by the Institute of Medicine and a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce describes the disparities in health and computer technology among racial and ethnic populations. The conference participants will be invited to address this issue by becoming partners to work through faith organizations to create health, wellness and technology centers in African-American, Hispanic/Latino American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native-American communities. The technology centers will provide needed health/wellness and computer technology services to the unserved and underserved populations.

“There is a growing movement in the United States to develop and deepen working relationships between the faith community, public health organizations and other community agencies. Churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious organizations have historically played an important role in developing and maintaining the social fabric of many communities. This conference workshop will help train others to get involved in the process,” said Tom Nash, Preventive Health Consultant, OSDH Community Development Service.

“Some of the untapped resources in the community include the ability of the faith community to recruit volunteers and organizational resources that serve the whole person, mind, body and spirit. Also, faith organizations are uniquely positioned to strengthen existing networks and help identify and formalize others,” Nash said.

Some of the workshop topics to be discussed at the conference include: Faith-based health and computer technology center, education, training, screenings, computer technology ministries, health data collection and surveys, and how to access services and ministries via computer technology. Other topics include developing Web sites, assistance in applying for grants for outside funding, identifying health disparities and computer technology disparities (the digital divide), and developing an evaluation to measure future effectiveness and impact of a faith-health and technology initiative.

Benefits of participating in the program include: receiving a computer and software technical support services, basic e-mail, on-line and/or Web-based service as needed, training and consultation, grant writing assistance, and other health and wellness education, information, training, and consultation services.

For more information or to become a faith-based partner, call Tom Nash at 405/271-6127 or send e-mail to: tomn@health.state.ok.us 

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