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TSET Funding Supports Oklahoma's Health Improvement Ranking Through Increased Community Involvement and Physicians Serving in Rural Areas

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 12, 2012) -- Health rankings released Tuesday show the health of Oklahomans is improving, but challenges still remain and the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) continues to make improving Oklahoma’s health a priority.

The United Health Foundation’s report for 2012 lists Oklahoma 43rd among the 50 states in rankings that look at indicators like smoking, sedentary lifestyle and access to primary care physicians.

Oklahoma’s revised ranking for 2011 moved up two spots to No. 46 after the foundation made changes to how data is measured, so the latest report shows the state making continued progress in its health indicators.

TSET continues to invest in efforts to address the toll that cancer and cardiovascular disease takes on Oklahoma. For the past decade, TSET has supported coalitions in local communities to combat tobacco use, and the agency two years ago launched a new grant program to focus on nutrition and fitness.

“It’s encouraging to see Oklahoma move up in the United Health Foundation’s rankings,” said TSET Executive Director Tracey Strader. “For the past decade, we have invested in helping communities improve health by preventing youth smoking, promoting tobacco cessation, and protecting Oklahomans from secondhand smoke. Oklahoma is making strides because so many dedicated leaders in communities, businesses, schools and faith-based organizations understand the connection between health and prosperity and they’re making health a priority.”

Earlier this year, the TSET Board of Directors approved a $1.5 million partnership to help get more primary care physicians to rural areas. Under the program with the Physician Manpower Training Commission and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, doctors who agree to practice in rural underserved areas for two years will receive help in paying off their student loans.