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FOR RELEASE: October 30,2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn

Oklahoma Awarded Grant for Arthritis Funding

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) was one of only 29 states awarded a grant to continue its efforts to raise public awareness about arthritis, track the prevalence of arthritis in Oklahomans, analyze related data, and develop partnerships to work toward reducing the burden of arthritis and related conditions. Oklahoma will receive $120,000 per year for three years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

Of those states that were previously funded to establish arthritis programs, 11 did not meet the competitive criteria. “We are pleased to receive this grant because of all the effort put into developing the Arthritis Action Plan by our community partners,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Leslie Beitsch.

The original grant went to the OSDH Arthritis Prevention and Education Program and the statewide coalition, the Oklahoma Arthritis Network (OAN), to take public comments and write an Action Plan. The new grant will allow statewide implementation of the OAN’s comprehensive Arthritis Action Plan. Health officials are asking for more involvement by the public to find ways to maximize the quality of life for people affected by arthritis.

An annual survey indicates that more than 782,000 Oklahomans are affected by arthritis and its related conditions, costing the state more than $860 million in medical costs and lost productivity annually.

Congress established the CDC arthritis program in 1999. Prior to this initiative, there was no coordinated public health strategy to prevent and treat the disabling effects of more than 100 forms of arthritis and related conditions.

CDC awarded the other grants to: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Utah. New applicant states awarded grants were Arkansas, Indiana, New York, and Wisconsin.

For more information about OAN and its meeting schedule, contact Marisa New, coordinator of the OSDH Arthritis Prevention and Education Program at 405/271-9444 x 56410. For general information about arthritis, see the following Web site: www.health.state.ok.us/program/apep. If you would like to subscribe to the OAN Listserv, please email: OKArthritisNetwork-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.


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