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FOR RELEASE: October 19 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

OAN Speaker to Discuss Oklahoma’s Independent Living Network

Information about Oklahoma’s independent living network and how to access services will be the discussion for the next meeting of the Oklahoma Arthritis Network (OAN) on Thursday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m. at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), 1000 N.E. 10th Street, Room 314, Oklahoma City. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The guest speaker, Charlotte Bowen, is the program manager for the governor’s Oklahoma Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). Bowen provides staff support for the SILC and coordinates staff support for the SILC mission that is to provide the leadership in guiding the state’s planning process for independent living services so that needed services are available statewide.

Prior to working for SILC, Bowen was the executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Oklahoma for eight years, and a counselor at St. Mary’s RehabCare Unit in Enid for two years. She is the stepmother of a person with a brain injury and understands the challenges that people with disabilities face every day.

“During October we focused on National Disability Employment Awareness Month, to pay tribute to the accomplishments of the men and women with disabilities whose work helps keep America's economy strong. In November, we want to restate our commitment to help people with disabilities locate and access the services they need in order to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible,” said OAN Chair Betsy Replogle.

The OAN features various speakers and presentations for the public to help maximize the quality of life for Oklahomans with arthritis and related health conditions through developing resources, promoting access to health care and offering public health education programs. Currently, there are about 100 public and private health and non-health related organizations in the OAN.

OAN meeting videoconferencing is available through some county health departments. To find a location near you or learn more information about arthritis and upcoming OAN speakers, presentations, and activities, contact Marisa New at (405) 271-9444, ext. 56410, or email her at marisan@health.state.ok.us.

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