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For Release:  Feb. 14, 2011 – Leslea Bennett-Webb, Office of Communications - 405/271-5601

Oklahoma Children’s Health Plan Launched Today

The Oklahoma Health Improvement Planning Team and Children’s Flagship Workgroup today released the Oklahoma Children’s Health Plan: Keeping Kids Healthy, a document that provides a blueprint for improving the health status of Oklahoma’s children.

“Today’s children are the first generation in recent history whose life expectancy may not be as long as their parents’ lifespans, if current health trends continue,” said Dr. Mary Anne McCaffree, chair of the Children’s Flagship Workgroup. “Unfortunately, the health status of Oklahoma’s children ranks low in comparison to other states, a fact that is completely unacceptable.”

The Oklahoma Children’s Health Plan provides a comprehensive strategy to improve health outcomes for children ages 1 to 18 years. A year-long effort, the plan was created by a group of child health professionals who worked to develop aggressive approaches and interventions that would have the greatest impact on the health of Oklahoma’s children over the next five years. The plan addresses child health policy, health inequities for children, youth development opportunities, and services for youth and families.  The plan was an outgrowth of the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan, released in 2009, which identified children’s health as a key flagship issue for improving Oklahoma’s health status.

Among the plan’s highlights are the following:

  • Assuring children’s access to comprehensive primary care services
  • Reducing preventable injuries
  • Strengthening the graduated driver’s license law to prohibit the use of hand-held devices for all drivers under age 18
  • Increasing immunization coverage for children and adolescents
  • Reducing dental cavities in children
  • Increasing mental health and substance abuse services for children and youth
  • Reducing the number of youth who commit or attempt suicide
  • Reducing child abuse and/or neglect
  • Increasing access to health care for children and youth with special health care needs
  • Establishing an early childhood data system, including data from the major child-serving state and federal programs in Oklahoma
  • Promoting comprehensive health education in schools

The plan is the first in a series of efforts in a new statewide health improvement campaign announced today called “Shape Your Future.” A copy of the plan may be viewed by visiting the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Web site at http://ohip.health.ok.gov.

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