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For Release:  April 13, 2010 
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
(405) 271-5601

HERO to Discuss Public Transportation and Health Equity, April 20

The Oklahoma Health Equity and Resource Opportunities (HERO) initiative will discuss “Public Transportation and Health Equity” at their meeting on Tuesday, April 20, 2010, at 10 a.m. in Room 314 of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), 1000 N.E. 10th St. in Oklahoma City.  The public is invited to attend and discuss the importance of transportation as a component to access health care services.

The guest speaker is Larry Hopper, planning manager for Metro Transit and a certified urban planner who now focuses on various bus, rail, and Americans with Disabilities Act transit issues. Hopper is a board member of the Oklahoma Public Health Association and is the past statewide President of the American Planning Association – Oklahoma Chapter as well as the Oklahoma Alliance for Public Transportation (APT).  His planner background has involved Bricktown revitalization, trails planning, annexation/de-annexation policy studies, livability, sustainability, urban design review, zoning/development administration, and more.

Hopper will discuss how a lack of access to health care is a social determinant that often leads to an unhealthy population. Other social determinants of health include availability of food supply, housing, economic and social relationships, education, and health care, all of which can determine the length and quality of life.

“Transportation needs of rural and urban Oklahoma impact the health of our citizens, affecting their ability to get to annual checkups and other regular non-emergency health care that is lower cost than accessing hospital emergency rooms,” said OSDH HERO Director Marisa New Wells. “There is a growing number of people who need reliable public transportation to just get to and from work and to complete other daily tasks such as purchasing healthy groceries. We must realize the importance of public transportation.”

If you live outside the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and would like to attend the April 20 meeting, videoconference locations are available in some communities. To RSVP, please contact your closest county health department or call the OSDH at 405/271-9444, ext. 56543.

The following county health departments will be linking via videoconference:

  • Carter CHD - 405 S. Washington, Ardmore, OK 73401 – Contact Dana Dorsey-Turner (580) 223-9705
  • Johnston CDH – 1080 S. Byrd, Tishomingo, Oklahoma 73460– Contact Janie Robinson (580) 371-2470
  • Tulsa CHD - 5051 S. 129th East Avenue Tulsa, Oklahoma 74134– Contact Deidre Stanley (918) 582-9355
  • Washington CHD - 5121 S.E. Jacquelyn Lane Bartlesville, Oklahoma 74006 – Contact Paula Palmer (918) 335-3005, ext. 106

To learn more about upcoming HERO events, call Marisa New Wells at (405) 271-9444, ext. 56410, or e-mail marisan@health.ok.gov.

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