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For Release: July 24, 2009
Pamela Williams, Office of Communications
(405) 271-5601

Health Officials Seek Input from Minority Communities

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is having a series of community meetings called “Share Your Voice” to gather information to help plan culturally appropriate initiatives to help reduce and prevent tobacco use in minority communities. Killing over 5,800 Oklahomans each year, tobacco use is a major risk factor for the four leading causes of death in Oklahoma – heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke. Rates of tobacco use for specific populations in Oklahoma are:

Caucasian – 23.9 percent

African American – 31.8 percent

American Indian – 31.1 percent

Hispanic – 22.4 percent

Currently there are three ethnic tobacco education networks in Oklahoma, one each for African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American communities. These contracts are completing the fifth year of a five- year grant cycle. Community input is being sought to help develop the upcoming Request For Proposals (RFP).

The meetings are open to the public and everyone is invited to attend. There are two meetings scheduled for each of the three ethnic populations to be addressed by the RFP. The schedule is listed below:

August 3 at 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (African American). -- Douglass High School, 900 Martin Luther King, Oklahoma City

August 11 at 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Hispanic/Latino) -- Metro Tech Economic Development Center - South, 309 SW 59th, Suite 302, Oklahoma City

August 13 at 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Hispanic/Latino) -- Martin Regional Library, 2601 S. Garnett Rd., Tulsa

August 13 at 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (African American) -- Rudisill Library, 1520 N. Hartford, Tulsa

August 17 at 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Native American) – Western Technology Center, Fire Safety Building, 2605 E. Main, Weatherford

August 18 at 10 a.m. – Noon (Native American) -- Green Country Technology Center, Painter Building, 1100 North Loop 56, Okmulgee

“We want to encourage everyone to participate in the public meetings,” said OSDH Statewide Initiatives Program Consultant Latricia Morgan. “The information we gather will be used to help reduce the impact of tobacco use among priority populations.”

For more information, contact Latricia Morgan of the OSDH Tobacco Use Prevention Service at 405-271-3619 or latriciam@health.ok.gov.

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