The Oklahoma State University Center for Health Systems Innovation (CHSI) was awarded $500,000 from The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation to expand the Rural Oklahoma Network (ROK-Net). The program joins nearly 200 research networks in an effort to improve health care across the nation.
“We are honored to receive support from the Trustees of The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation,” said CHSI’s Director Dr. William Paiva. “They share our vision for a healthier rural Oklahoma, one that can be achieved through tight connections to the needs of rural health care.”
ROK-Net is a joint effort with the OSU Center for Health Sciences, including its Department of Family Medicine and Center for Rural Health. ROK-Net is an alliance of rural primary care providers and researchers studying health problems as well as issues related to clinic efficiency in rural Oklahoma communities.
Nearly every county in Oklahoma has a shortage of medical care with rural areas having higher rates of chronic diseases. Specialists are largely absent, and mental health care is woefully limited. Further compounding problems are aging physicians in rural areas.
“While much health care innovation occurs in urban areas today, ROK-Net allows us to be involved in rural communities,” said Bill Major, executive director of The Zarrow Family Foundations. “We recognize that rural communities have their own unique health disparity challenges, and these challenges are getting more difficult to address given increasingly limited resources. The timing of ROK-Net is perfect as it is exactly what the state needs right now.”
The grant will allow ROK-Net to expand into 10 additional counties, with the goal to be in every rural county in the state. CHSI is positioned between the OSU Spears School of Business and the OSU Center for Health Sciences. CHSI aims to transform rural and Native American health through the implementation of innovative care delivery and information technology solutions. The Center’s Institute for Predictive Medicine leverages one of the nation’s largest HIPAA-compliant data bases of electronic medical records to discover new insights into health care delivery and health disparities.
Based in Tulsa, The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation is committed to supporting housing and shelter resources, social services and basic human needs, and mental health and indigent health care initiatives.