LAST MONTH'S ISSUE

Darlene Franklin is both a resident of a nursing home in Moore, and a full-time writer.

By Darlene Franklin

On the eve of Prince Harry’s marriage to Meghan Markle, I remember watching Diana Spencer marry Prince Charles when my children were small. A generation later, Americans remain fascinated with royal weddings. Although our country rejected a sovereign king at its birth, we still love pomp and circumstance.
According to the New York Post#, we remain fascinated by royalty because embody national unity in a unique way. (Presidents are rather polarizing figures).
Perhaps that’s why enjoying nature’s majesty leads us to the unifying force of nature’s God.
Consider the experience of Katherine Lee Bates.
In 1893, the young Wellesley professor taught a summer course in Colorado Springs. She joined a faculty trip to the top of Pikes Peak. Inspired by the panoramas, she wrote a heartfelt poem. Visitors today can read her words on a plaque atop the mountain that rises more than two miles into the sky:
O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesties above the fruited plain! America, America, God shed grace on thee.
Almost a hundred years later, I traveled to Colorado for the first time. I kept looking for the mountains. At the top of one final rise, they filled the horizon. Mountains, mountains, everywhere I looked, from north to south. Tall, rugged, in shades of slate blue and purple—breathtaking.
God’s majesty stampeded through my heart for the first time since I left New England for college, The soaring peaks increased my awareness of God’s other-ness as creator and king. I loved it so much that I stayed in Colorado for two decades.
As a child, I loved summer storms. Lightning flashed and waves crushed against the rocks with destructive force, but they didn’t scare me at all. In the pounding, echoing, hissing squall, I heard echoes of God’s voice and responded to His roll call.
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory in the heavens.
In similar ways, music’s harmonies lift my heart to God. Two hundred seventy-five years have passed since Messiah, George Friedric Handel’s masterpiece, was first performed on Easter Sunday, 1742.Legend has it that King George II attended the premiere. He was so impressed by the Hallelujah Chorus that he remained standing for the duration of the song. Everyone around him also stood, as required by royal protocol. That’s the reason why audiences today stand during the performance. An earthly king recognized The King, and so must we.
I’ve had the privilege of performing all two and a half hours of the Messiah. When I’ve been at my lowest points, I lose myself in a music, whether classical or contemporary, that lifts God up. Worship His majesty.
While not nearly as melodic, a child’s first cry also showcases God. Nothing captures the pinnacle of creation, the one creature made in His image, as perfectly as a newborn child. So tiny, so helpless—so perfect. All parts work as God designed, made to live with God in eternity although it will take a second birth to make that happen.
As the proverb says, a child is God’s approval that the world should go on. God gave Abraham and Sarah a son after he had lived for a century. The Lord gave me a grandchild when my daughter died. My first great-grandchild this year brought happiness as old age approaches.
Lately I’ve discovered that the silence of old age adds a high-pitched bell, hardly heard, to the choir. A church holds regular services every Sunday and Wednesday at the nursing home where I live. Many of our most faithful members struggle to speak. One lady of German descent claps when the preacher’s family joins in the singing. Her evident delight brings to mind the verses from Psalm 8 that speak of “the praises of children and infants.”
Or how about my friend, who writes down her prayer requests because we struggle to understand her stroke-riddled speech? Or the ones who come in reclining chairs, their warm smiles saying it all? Sweet praise rises from the lady who reads out loud from her Bible, so soft-spoken we can’t hear her words. Their whispered, nonsensical, missing voices reach the highest heaven. I offer a pianist’s hands as a humble accompaniment to their purer worship.
God’s majesty confronts me, demanding an answer. I respond in worship.

Sikorsky has been the world’s leading helicopter manufacturer since 1939, producing every presidential helicopter in the modern era, as well as the highly celebrated military grade Black Hawk helicopter.
INTEGRIS is now using a Sikorsky SK-76 as an integral part of the health care system’s critical air medical transport efforts.
The unique aircraft, which is the most advanced multi-role helicopter of its kind, is being housed at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center and is owned and operated by Survival Flight.
This particular helicopter is specifically designed to transport injured and critically ill patients from hospitals across the state and region to INTEGRIS to receive specialized care. It will also be used in rescue operations and organ transplant procurements.
“The Sikorsky SK-76 is ideal for transporting the sickest of the sick patients, who demand the highest level of medical care,” says Tim Johnsen, president of INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. Before becoming an administrator, Johnsen was a cardiac intensive care nurse and director of an air medical transport program. He was also a director of emergency services at a trauma center. He was instrumental in bringing the Sikorsky to INTEGRIS.
“At 52 feet long, it is considerably larger than the average medical helicopter, making it possible to carry not only additional medical equipment and supplies, but also entire teams of medical professionals. These highly trained individuals can then deploy life-saving therapies while en route back to INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. It truly is a mobile intensive care unit in the sky.”
Aly El Banayosy, M.D., is executive director of critical care and circulatory support at the INTEGRIS Nazih Zuhdi Transplant Institute. He says the Sikorsky helicopter will allow more people access to sophisticated and specialized therapies like cutting edge heart pump technologies such as the LVAD and Total Artificial Heart and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, known as ECMO.
“ECMO is a last resort lifesaving technique for patients facing imminent death caused by heart or respiratory failure. In many cases it really is a person’s only hope for survival. While there are other ECMO programs in the state, INTEGRIS has the only mobile ECMO team where we physically travel to other facilities to retrieve these patients. Now thanks to the superiority of the Sikorsky helicopter, our team is able to travel farther and faster to stabilize dying patients and give them one last chance at life.”
The Sikorsky helicopter is one of the fastest medical helicopters in existence and is capable of traveling 300 miles without refueling.
Douglas Horstmanshof, M.D., is a heart failure cardiologist with the Advanced Cardiac Care program at INTEGRIS. He says maintaining the highest quality continuity of care during transport is crucial. “Patients in need of air transport are typically in a very vulnerable state. Having a helicopter like the SK-76 allows the smooth and safe transport not only of the patient, but also the team of physicians and nurses necessary to provide the best possible care during that critical time.”
The helicopter went into service on May 5. INTEGRIS is the only health care system in the region utilizing a Survival Flight Sikorsky SK-76 for air medical transport.

Six (6) law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in Oklahoma will soon be engraved on the newly renovated Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial in Oklahoma City. Their names will be dedicated during the 50th Annual Oklahoma Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Service at 10 a.m. the morning of Friday, May 18, 2018. The public is encouraged to attend the service. The memorial is located on the west grounds of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety Headquarters, 3600 M. L. King Avenue.
The six fallen officers being added are:
Perkins Police Officer Henry L. Cotton, died April 29, 1986, from complications following surgery for injuries sustained during a fight making an arrest March 28th;
Oklahoma Department of Corrections Corporal Stephen R. Jenkins, Jr., died January 7, 2017, from a heart attack he suffered after chasing an inmate with contraband at the Clara Waters Correctional Center in Oklahoma City;
Craig County Deputy Sheriff Sean F. Cookson, died February 27, 2017, from injuries sustained in a traffic accident the morning of February 22nd while in route to training;
Tecumseh Police Officer Justin M. Terney, died March 28, 2017, after being shot twice during a traffic stop about 11:30 p.m. the night before;
Logan County Deputy Sheriff David J. Wade, died April. 18, 2017, shortly after being shot several times while serving an eviction notice in Mulhall;
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lieutenant D. Heath Meyer, died July 24, 2017, from injuries sustained when he was accidently struck late the evening of July 14th by an OHP unit after he laid out stop sticks for a pursuit north bound on I-35 near NE 27th Street in Moore.
The Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial is the oldest state law enforcement memorial in the United States. It was dedicated May 15, 1969. The memorial recently underwent a $180,000 total renovation after it was found that the memorial plaza was sinking due to almost fifty years of rain water running over and under it. The memorial will also be rededicated during the annual memorial service May 18th.
For more information on the memorial and the eight hundred fallen officers honored on it see the memorial web site at www.oklemem.com

Cheap Cell Phone Plans for Seldom Calling Seniors

Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone plans available to seniors today? IÕm 78-years-old and want it primarily for emergency purposes.

Infrequent Caller

Dear Infrequent,
While unlimited high-speed data, video streaming and mobile hot spot are now standard for most cell phone plans today, there are still a number of low-cost wireless plans designed with seniors in mind.
These plans offer limited talk time and text, which is ideal for seniors who want to stay connected without spending much money each month. Here are some super cheap plans to consider.
Cheapest Plans
Prepaid plans are the best deal for seniors who only want a cell phone for emergency purposes or occasional calls. The very cheapest prepaid plan available today is T-MobileÕs Pay As You Go plan, which includes any combination of 30 minutes or 30 text messages for only $3 per month. After that, additional minutes and texts cost 10 cents each.
Phone prices start at $75, but if you have a compatible device, you can use it rather than buying a new one. You will, however, need to pay for a $10 SIM Starter Kit fee, whether you bring your own phone or buy a new one. Visit T-Mobile.com or call 844-361-2792 for more information.
Two other companies that offer low-cost prepaid deals are TracFone and AT&T.
TracFone (TracFone.com, 800-867-7183) has a 30 minute talk/text plan for $10 per month, or an even cheaper a 60 minute talk/text plan for $20 for three months, which averages out to only $6.66 per month.
And AT&T (ATT.com, 800-331-0500) has two low-cost prepaid plans including the 25 cent per minute call plan, and a $2 daily plan that charges only when you place or receive a call or send a text that day. The fees are deducted from the prepaid balance on your account. But to use AT&T Prepaid, you must prepay into your account either $10 per month, $25 for three months or $100 per year.
Best Emergency Phone
If you’re interested in a senior-friendly cell phone that provides top-notched emergency assistance, consider the Jitterbug Flip (GreatCall.com, 800-918-8543).
This is a nifty flip phone that has big buttons, enhanced sound, a simplified menu, and a 5Star urgent response button that connects you to a trained agent that will know your locations, and will be able to assist you whether you need emergency services, directions, roadside assistance or a locksmith, or to contact family. GreatCalls service runs on VerizonÕs network.
The Flip phone costs $100, with monthly service plans that start at $15 for 200 minutes. Or, you can get the 5Star service with 50 minutes of monthly talk time for $25.
Free Phones
If your income is low enough, another option you should check into is the federal Lifeline program, which provides free or low-cost cell phones and plans through numerous wireless providers.
To qualify, your annual household income must at or below 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines Ð which is $16,389 for one person, or $22,221 for two. Or, you must be receiving Medicaid, food stamps/SNAP, SSI, public housing assistance, veterans pension or survivorÕs pension benefit, or live on federally recognized Tribal lands.
To find out if youÕre eligible, or to locate wireless companies in your area that participates in the program, visit LifelineSupport.org or call 800-234-9473.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn t4z@aol.com

Last month I gave you an over view of the sights in Westchester county, just north of New York City. Now let’s go up the Hudson River Valley to discover the variety of venues in Albany, New York.
I think it was in the fifth grade when I first heard about Albany, New York, as we were studying all the capitols of all of the US cities. It was a bit of a mystery this state capitol so far north of New York City, yet so important to the state’s history and in current affairs. Decades later I discovered Albany in a personal way with a weekend excursion.
Most striking about Albany is the site, inside and out, of this historic capitol building itself with took thirty years to complete. It stands on a hill and overlooks the city, and the nearby Empire State Plaza with its monolithic office buildings and the unusual egg shaped theater complex. The plaza complete with reflecting pool and with ice skating in the winter, is popular for public events. On one end is the State capitol building and on the opposite side the New York State History Museum (www.nysm.nysed.gov). . The extensive museum houses several sections, including homage to the Civil War ( with a life mask of Abraham Lincoln), and more recently artifacts from the World Trade Center disaster. Be sure and visit the observation deck of the 42 storied Corning Tower.
State Street which could be called Albany’s’ main street, runs down from the capitol, pointing toward the Hudson River. Near the base of the street stands, 74State Street Hotel (www.74State.com), which was my pleasant home base and my oasis for my discoveries. 74 State offers several breakfast menu items, and my guests and I enjoyed their Eggs Benedict more than once. This Ascent Hotel Collection provides wireless internet, room service in the morning and evenings and supplies free coffee in the lobby from 6 am to 10 am. The fitness center is open 24 hours. The property also has the Bistro/Bar venue on the second floor, with an expansive picture window overlooking busy STATE street. While the hotel is upscale it features recycled New York State wood and granite.
Just down the hill a bit is the upscale Jacks Oyster House (www.jacksoysterhouse.com) where without a doubt I had the best meal of my visit. As a steak person I tested their expertise and they passed with high marks, as they did for the Martini. My other companions had a variety of entrées including oysters on the half shell and a Lobster tale prepared with gourmet expertise. The service was as exceptional as you would have expected at a fine old world restaurant, and it was a near shame we had to leave to catch a theatrical presentation in Schenectady, NY at the Proctor Theater, which was a treat.
Be sure your discovery of Albany includes a visit to Speak Easy 518 (www.Speakeasy518.com) where you will have unique cocktail tastes accentuated by a variety of herbs and vintage concoctions. You are admonished: “The bar is open to anyone, but not for everyone. In order to maintain our peaceful, secretive existence beneath the city we require the respect of the following house rules which include: Please dress sharply and speak easy. Mind your manners.” Live jazz may be there on your night, and while they offer a variety of wines and beers the experience is in tasting the Prohibition Era Cocktails or the New World Concoctions. You might try the Midnight in the Italian Alps, of Braulio Amaro, Cardamaro Amaro, JFB Sorrel Liqueur, with Flamed Orange Zest, or the Papa Doble made with ADC Quackenbush House Rum, Maraschino Liqueur, and Fresh Grapefruit Juice. Many of the flavors are earthy and perhaps so usual you may have to develop a taste over several visits. To keep the ambiance low, no photography is permitted.
Other recommend dining venues include: Albany Pump Station (www.evansale.com), A Better Bite Deli (www.abetterbitealbany.com), Jake Moon Cafe (www.jakemoon.net) and the popular New World Bistro Bar (www.newworldbistrobar.com).
Albany has more to offer than space allows- but be sure to include the Albany Heritage Center (www.albany.org/visitors-center), the Albany Institute of History and Art (www.albanyinstitute.org), and weather permitting a visit to John Boyd Thacher State Park (www.nysparks.com/parks.com), and Goolds Orchards and Brookview Station Winery (www.goold.com). If you are lucky you might get to view a replica of Henry Hudson’s “Half Moon” Ship, which is the symbol of Albany.
Upcoming dates of interest and for more information: www.albany.com

Mr. Terry Zinn – Travel Editor
Past President: International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association
http://realtraveladventures.com/author/zin

The GTO Education Foundation and Galleria Furniture are proud to announce CELEBRATE OKLAHOMA – ITS PRODUCTS & ITS CHILDREN on June 24, 2018.
The event will run from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. at Galleria Furniture, 3700 W. I-40 Service Road, Okla. City, Oklahoma.
The event has two purposes: showcase Oklahoma made products and businesses, and raise funds and collect school supplies for school children across the state.
To date over 75 Made in Oklahoma vendors have reserved over 100 booth spaces to showcase their products and promote their business. To have a booth at the event, vendors have been asked to donate school supplies in lieu of booth space rental. A wide variety of Oklahoma Made products will be offered to the public.
Over 10,000 three ring binders received from one of GTO’s donors, will be distributed to 350 Oklahoma school teachers for their students at the event. Additional school supplies collected during the event will be distributed the second week of July.
There will also be a Classic Car Exhibition by 405 Classic Cars. The exhibition will feature over 15 classic cars, sure to catch the eye of all classic car enthusiasts.
Free hot dogs and the trimming have been provided by two Oklahoma based companies and will be available all day. Additionally, several food vendors will be offering a wide variety of delicious food items.
Admission to the event is a mere donation of school supplies.
Anyone donating supplies on the day of the event will be put in a drawing for one of 54 prizes, which will be drawn for at 5:00 P.M. on the day of June 24. Guests do not have to be present to win. Prizes include: 5 piece bedroom set, a queen mattress set, a recliner, 2 sets of malouf pillows, and 50 special made in Oklahoma hand crafted items.
Two things Mr. Gary Owens and his family are passionate about is Made in Oklahoma products and Oklahoma school children.
Celebrate Oklahoma highlights these two passions.
The GTO Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by Galleria Furniture store owner Mr. Gary Owens and his family in 2015. The mission of the GTO Foundation is very simple: To assist Oklahoma school children with the supplies and tools necessary to be successful in the classroom.
GTO posted a face book post recently asking teachers what they needed for their students for the upcoming year and the post received 1,100 requests from teachers all across Oklahoma. GTO’s goal is to assist as many of these teachers as possible. For individuals or businesses who would like to donate school supplies but can’t make it to the event, we have partnered with Blu Source, a school supply company out of Guthrie, Oklahoma, and they have provided a web site dedicated to purchasing supplies for GTO donations. The web address is: https://gtofoundation.bluschoolsupplies.com/
Over the past two years GTO has provided over 15,000 three ring binders to Oklahoma school students and has provided over 3,000 books to schools for children that might not have a book at home to read. Several special events have been held in the past to showcase Oklahoma teachers.
Please join us as we CELEBRATE OKLAHOMA – ITS PRODUCTS & ITS CHILDREN.
For additional information contact Marsha at 405-942-9222, ext 144, email the GTO Foundation at: gtoedfoundinc1@outlook.com, or visit our face book page: The GTO Foundation.

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor
Jun 6/ Wednesday/ Mustang/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 376-3411/ Instructor: Kruck
Mustang Senior Center – 1201 N. Mustang Rd.
Jun 7/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Instructor: Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Jun 7/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 703-2300/ Instructor: Palinsky
Memory Care at Rivendell – 2800 S.W. 131st St
Jun 8/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Instructor: Edwards
S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
Jun 9 /Saturday/ Moore/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 799-3130/ Instructor: Schaumburg
Brand Senior Center – 501 E. Main St.
Jun 15/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:3- pm/ 681-3266/ Instructor: Palinsky
Woodson Park Senior Center – 3401 S. May Ave.

The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to: johnpalinsky@sbcglobal.net

The Leapfrog Group, a Washington D.C. – based organization aiming to improve health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers, today released the new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades. SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Oklahoma City, including SSM Health Bone & Joint Hospital at St. Anthony, was one of 750 awarded an ‘A’ for its efforts in protecting patients from harm and meeting the highest safety standards in the U.S. The Safety Grade assigns an A, B, C, D or F grade to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms among patients in their care.
“SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital is part of one of the largest integrated health systems in the nation – a health system that is internationally recognized for quality. Our priority is to provide exceptional care that improves the lives of our patients and the health of our communities,” said Tammy Powell, President, SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital.
“This is the only national rating of how well hospitals protect patients from preventable harm and death, such as medical errors, infections, and injuries,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Receiving an ‘A’ Safety Grade means a hospital is among the best in the country for preventing these terrible problems and putting their patients first, 24 hours a day.”
Developed under the guidance of an Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to approximately 2,500 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is peer reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.
To see the SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital full grade details, and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit www.hospitalsafetygrade.org and follow the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade on Twitter and Facebook.
Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

Mark Goeller

Mark Goeller was recently named State Forester and Director of Oklahoma Forestry Services by Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese. Goeller has served Oklahoma Forestry Services, a Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, for the past 33 years. He has held various positions with the division, the latest being Fire Management Chief and Assistant Director since 2005.
“I am pleased to name Mark Goeller as the new State Forester and Director of Oklahoma Forestry Services,” said Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese. “With his extensive experience and leadership abilities, Mark is the right person to take the division forward to the next level.”
In his new role, Goeller will lead the division of over 100 people who are dedicated to conserving, enhancing and protecting Oklahoma’s forests and natural resources. In addition to providing forest management advice and best practices, Oklahoma Forestry Services is the state’s lead agency for wildfire suppression. “I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the past years and excited about the opportunity to continue to provide valuable services to the people of Oklahoma,” said State Forester and Director of Oklahoma Forestry Services Mark Goeller.
In addition to his regular duties, Goeller also serves in leadership roles on the state, regional and national levels. He is chair of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group Risk Management Committee and serves on the S-520 Advanced Incident Management Steering Committee. He also chairs the Southern Group of State Foresters Fire Management Chiefs. Additionally, Goeller is an Operations Section Chief, having served in that capacity on a Northern Rockies Type I Incident Management Team since 2005. His incident management experience comes from wildfire and all-hazards assignments in 21 states. He also serves as chair of Oklahoma’s All-Hazards Standards, Qualifications and Training Committee for Incident Management Teams and a member of the Oklahoma Incident Management Team Advisory Committee. Goeller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture – Forest Management from Oklahoma State University.

Pam Spanbauer, RN, serves on the Physician Manpower & Training Commission.

by Mike Lee Staff Writer

Pam Spanbauer, RN, BSN, MEd, may be retired from her nursing practice but her impact on healthcare in Oklahoma will be felt for generations to come.
As the governor’s appointee to the Physician Manpower & Training Commission, Spanbauer is the only nurse on the board that helps ensure healthcare for thousands of rural Oklahomans.
Now the board chair, Spanbauer helps make sure that small communities in Oklahoma get the competent and professional physicians they so desperately need.
Spanbauer also currently serves as the vice president of the Oklahoma Nurses Association.
The commission is a task-force established in the 1970s.
“They have funding to help fund physicians in training to go out into the rural areas in Oklahoma,” Spanbauer said. “In Oklahoma we have so much rural area. In these farming communities the last thing they can do is take a day and drive to the city to get healthcare and drive back.
“It’s really important especially with the fact we don’t have many hospitals in the rural area.”
Spanbauer was raised in a small town in North Carolina. She had a single doctor growing up who took care of her entire family.
“If we had to have gone to the city we probably wouldn’t have gotten healthcare,” said Spanbauer, whose family lived 50 miles from the nearest hospital. “I’ve always had that small-town respect.”
She says the reality is that most doctors are going into specialty practices. Those who head to family medicine will stick closer to more populated areas.
The commission will cover a significant portion of a doctor’s tuition for a commitment to be the physician in a rural area.
“Many of the physicians actually wind up staying in that area after their commitment is done,” Spanbauer said. “If it weren’t for that a lot of doctors wouldn’t even know there are these opportunities and how great healthcare can be in a small community.”
Spanbauer and the commission review each applicant and decide the best place to match each doctor. Communities routinely send in requests for physicians to cover their population.
The mission of the Physician Manpower Training Commission is to enhance medical care in rural and underserved areas of the state by administering residency, internship and scholarship incentive programs that encourage medical and nursing personnel to practice in rural and underserved areas. Further, PMTC is to upgrade the availability of health care services by increasing the number of practicing physicians, nurses and physician assistants in rural and underserved areas of Oklahoma.
Subsequently the Oklahoma Legislature has added the responsibility of a Physician Placement Program, Nursing Student Assistance Program, the FP Resident Rural Program, the Physician Community Match Program and the Physician Assistant Scholarship Program. Spanbauer says the commission is guided in all the programs by a sense of stewardship which requires that maximum effort, both individual and organizational, be utilized to increase the number of practicing physicians, nurses and physician assistants in Oklahoma and, particularly, in rural and underserved areas of the state.
“I’ve always had a strong desire to give back in some way which is why I love being retired,” Spanbauer said. “I loved what I did when I was working but now it’s like I can give back. When I was working I didn’t have as much time.”
During her career, Spanbauer served as an EMT and drove an ambulance for Children’s Hospital. She also helped start the MediFlight program and later spent nearly her entire nursing career at Mercy.
“I had an opportunity at that time to see how spread out everything in Oklahoma is,” she said. “We would drive to pick up a baby and see how some of those hospitals barely had enough to get by. They didn’t have all the equipment we had in the city to take care of these premature babies.
“I’ve always been very passionate about wanting everybody to be able to have access to care. It’s a fact that people don’t.”
Spanbauer says the commission is charged with five high-priority goals:
1. Work to improve the balance of physician manpower distribution in the State of Oklahoma, both by type of practice and by geographic location;
2. Aid accredited physician training facilities in the establishment of additional primary medical care and family practice internship and residency training programs by sharing in the cost of these programs;
3. Assist Oklahoma communities in selecting and financing qualified medical and osteopathic interns/residents to participate in the Physician Community Match Program;
4. Assist Oklahoma communities, in any manner possible, in contacting medical and osteopathic students, interns and residents, or other physicians (inside and outside Oklahoma) who might wish to practice in Oklahoma;
5. Work with Oklahoma communities and the leadership of Oklahoma’s nurse training institutions to provide nurses for underserved areas of the state.
“It gets back to what medicine is all about and that’s the relationship the doctor has with the patient and the community,” Spanbauer said.
And that’s how Spanbauer makes a difference for future generations to come.

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