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TSET Board expands partnership with OSU Medical Authority to support rural medical residencies

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 19, 2019) – The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Board of Directors voted on Friday to expand its partnership with the Oklahoma State University Medical Authority to support the launch of medical residency training programs in Enid. 

Using the remaining grant commitment balance of $2,391,294 from TSET, the Oklahoma State University Medical Authority will begin a hospital residency program at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center and INTEGRIS Bass Baptist Medical Center, both in Enid.

“The partnership with Oklahoma State University to bring additional doctors to rural areas complements our efforts to create a healthier Oklahoma in all parts of the state,” said TSET Board of Director Vice-Chair Michelle Stephens. “Working hand-in-hand with OSU to recruit more medical residents to areas where health care is scarce provides support to our state’s rural health infrastructure which we know is key to improving health outcomes.”

TSET’s funding will assist the Oklahoma State University Medical Authority in reaching their goal of placing residents in Oklahoma primary care programs specializing in family medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and general surgery.

The residencies are expected to begin on July 1, 2020 and will run through June 30, 2023. The OSU Medical Authority has provided a roadmap of planning year activities and major milestones to be completed in FY2020 to ensure the successful start-up and implementation of the programs and has agreed to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with TSET supporting the roadmap.

Research shows that most doctors will practice within 100 miles of where they completed their residency program. Residency is the capstone of medical education and a vital piece of the puzzle to solving the physician shortage in Oklahoma.

In 2015, the TSET Board of Directors awarded a six-year, $3.8 million grant to the Oklahoma State University Medical Authority to address the critical shortage of physicians in Oklahoma. Within two years, a total of 54 medical residency slots were funded at the Comanche County Memorial Hospital in Lawton and at Norman Regional Medical Center. The Oklahoma State University Medical Authority provided a match of $5.6 million using Dean’s Graduate Medical Education federal funding dollars, which was eliminated in FY2017 by the Federal Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

Without the matching Medicaid dollars and a residency program ready for implementation, the Oklahoma State University Medical Authority did not use TSET funds in FY2019.

Friday’s agreement complements TSET’s existing grant with the Physician Manpower Training Commission to recruit practicing physicians to rural and medically underserved areas. Under that grant, physicians enrolled in the program can receive up to $160,000 in loan repayment if they practice up to four years in a rural or medically underserved area. Twenty-eight physicians are currently practicing as part of the Oklahoma Medical Loan Repayment Program and eight physicians have completed the program and remain in the rural or medically underserved area in which they were placed.

TSET’s grants and the TSET Board of Directors’ strategic plan primarily focuses on reducing the leading causes of death in Oklahoma – cancer and cardiovascular disease – by addressing the behaviors that lead to those diseases, tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor nutrition. These types of health behaviors account for 40 percent of a person’s overall health status.  

TSET is funded by a portion of the payments received by the State of Oklahoma as part of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement in which the tobacco industry pays the endowment trust in a long-term strategy to improve health. The funds are placed in an endowment to ensure a growing funding source for generations to come. Only the earnings from the endowment are used to fund grants and programs.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
Whitney Dinger, Public Information Officer
whitneyd@tset.ok.gov  
Direct: (405) 521-4959
Cell: (405) 227-0488

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public's health. TSET. Better Lives Through Better Health.