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FOR RELEASE: November 8 , 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Pre-Conference to Address Faith, Health, Technology and Disparities

Faith leaders from across the state are invited to participate in an event next month that will address health disparities among Oklahoma’s ethnic minorities. The Faith-based Partnership for Health, Wellness and Computer Technology (FBPHWCT) will host a pre-conference prior to the 8th Annual Oklahoma Turning Point Forum and Council meeting. The pre-conference is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 7, and its theme is Faith, Health and Technology: Addressing Disparities, featuring nationally known inspirational speaker Thurman Evans, M.D., Ph.D.

The pre-conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Metro Technology Springlake Campus, 1900 Springlake Drive, Oklahoma City. The conference will offer a series of free public health workshops focusing on involving the faith community in programs to address obesity, diabetes, stress and heart disease. Workshop topics will include: Physical and Spiritual Needs of the Aging Population, Addressing Health Issues in Ethnic Congregations, Living with Faith and Diabetes, and Understanding Family Histories and Health Disparities.

“We hope the community will attend and support efforts to eliminate health disparities through integrating faith, health and computer technology into modern day solutions to improve the health of individuals, families and communities,” said FBPHWCT Project Coordinator Tom Nash. “This will be a good opportunity to discuss access issues and start building community networks and coalitions to address health issues.”

Keynote speaker Thurman Evans, M.D., Ph.D., is affectionately referred to as “Mr. Inspiration” because of his leadership in the area of health and wellness among the national faith community. Evans will speak during the pre-conference luncheon and he will conduct a workshop that afternoon specifically targeting faith leaders, pastors and clergy. He will also speak the next morning, Thursday, Dec. 8, at a 7:45 a.m. breakfast for the 8th Annual Oklahoma Turning Point Forum and Council Meeting. Breakfast seating is limited to 75 people.

Evans is a physician, ordained minister, entrepreneur and health consultant. He is the CEO of Wholelife Associates and Pastor of Morning Star Community tabernacle in Linden, NJ. While Vice-President and Corporate Medical Director of CIGNA, he was a founding member of the Corporate Diversity Committee and conceived, planned, developed and implemented the wellness program now known to be one of the best corporate programs in the nation. Evans has consulted with all levels of government and published more than 30 articles in health journals and newspapers.

Another pre-conference speaker includes the founder of Creative Walking, Inc. (CWI), Robert Sweetgall, who has walked across the U.S. 11 times. His company specializes in custom-designed walking and wellness programs and serves thousands of corporations, hospitals, schools, communities and conferences with motivational workshops, educational resources, incentives and turnkey employee wellness programs.

The Dec. 7 one-day pre-conference is sponsored by the Cheyenne-Arapaho Education Department, University of Oklahoma Department of Anthropology, Mercy Hospital Community Outreach, the Central Oklahoma City Turning Point Inc., and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). Faith organizations and conference sponsors will have displays about their organizations available for viewing during the pre-conference.

For more information, contact the OSDH Community Development Service, FBPHWCT Project Coordinator Tom Nash at 405/271-9444 ext. 56534. You may register for the conference online at: http://www.okturningpoint.org.

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