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Oklahoma has a rich agricultural history thanks to dedicated farmers. In 1998, the Governor’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture was created to recognize those who have helped lead the industry while demonstrating exemplary personal values and pursuing agricultural achievements in Oklahoma. Through Feb. 10, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) is accepting nominations for a total of four Oklahoma Excellence in Agriculture Awards.
The award winners will be announced at a recognition ceremony on March 29, 2017 at the state capitol as part of the state’s annual Oklahoma Ag Day celebration.
Examples of eligible agriculture enterprises for the Governor’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture nominee are: livestock and crop production, agribusiness, forestry, horticulture and nursery management. In addition to considering the nominee’s production agriculture involvement, the application also recognizes leadership in agricultural and state organizations as well as additional awards and honors. The winner will be someone with at least 25 years in agriculture who derives the bulk of his or her income from agriculture or has retired from an agricultural enterprise.
Previous award-winners have represented different areas of Oklahoma as well as a variety of agricultural groups and commodities. Past recipients have guided their families and communities to success by excelling as dairymen, cattle ranchers, pork producers, wheat farmers, conservationists and educators. Uniting previous Hall of Fame inductees is their service to their communities in addition to their contribution to the agriculture industry.
In addition to the Governor’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture, ODAFF also presents the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Award, Outstanding Legacy in Agriculture Award and Outstanding Public Service in Agriculture Award. The Legacy in Agriculture Award is the only one strictly for posthumous nominees.
Governor Fallin’s Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes Oklahoma agriculturalists who are leaders in developing and adopting outstanding environmentally innovative agricultural practices. This award will highlight the efforts of an Oklahoma agriculture producer who is a steward of the environment and is dedicated to conserving the natural resources of Oklahoma while helping to ensure a continued supply of food and fiber.
Governor Fallin’s Outstanding Public Service in Agriculture Award honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions of public service to Oklahoma agriculture. The recipient will be someone who works diligently to improve public perception of agriculture in Oklahoma. The recipient should be a person who has given time and talent unselfishly to advance the Oklahoma agricultural industry.
Governor Fallin’s Outstanding Legacy to Agriculture Award posthumously honors someone who made significant life-long contributions to Oklahoma agriculture. The unique or extraordinary contributions the individual made to Oklahoma serve as a role model for the agriculture industry.
“The Oklahoma Excellence in Agriculture Awards give us the opportunity to recognize those individuals who have made a positive and lasting impact on agriculture in our state,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese.
The deadline for all nominations is 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 10. The recipients will be selected by a committee of representatives from agricultural commodity organizations and farm and ranch organizations. Any questions regarding the nomination procedure or completion of the official nomination form can be directed to Jason Harvey at (405) 606-1477. The nomination forms can be found at www.ag.ok.gov/odaff-halloffame.htm .

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

What is it about a destination that you are forbid to visit that makes it that much more interesting? Just say “no” and the object or experience is on the top of your bucket list. For decades Cuba was out of bounds for United States visitors, unless you were with some special cultural program or association. Not the case today, as Cuba has been opened up to American tourists.
You hear all the time to hurry up and go to Cuba before it changes. Changes, meaning bright fancy new hotels and resorts, over shadowing the quaint colonial town. Cuba has been open to international businesses for decades, and yet when visiting today, you see very little recognizable modern infra structure. Why has not the international community invested in Cuba with tourist amenities? One reason might be that Cuba still all the whole, does not allow ownership of property. Who wants to invest in property that they do not own? Until this Cuban policy changes, Cuba will not quickly be spoiled by outside developers.
So there is no real need to hurry up and see Cuba. As a slowly developing country, Cuba is stymied in the atmosphere and development of the 1950’s. The classic cars that are the icon of Cuba today is still in abundance and for a fee you can ride around the streets in one, or have your photo made by one. The fee you pay may help the up keep of these classic 1950’s and 60’s cars.
And while there are horror stories of tourists booking their own rooms in hotels without the expected tourist amenities, right now it might be best to book a cruise as your floating hotel and see several Cuban cities, not just Havana. This can be accomplished with Fathom Cruises. They promote their cruises as interaction with the locals through preplanned tours taking you either in a walking tour of an area with stops at local pre-approved locations, or a bus tour visiting several approved tourist spots. They promote interaction with the locales, but on a recent tour the time restrains for personal interaction was minimal.
One such attraction was visiting a concert of local singers in a classic Cuban auditorium set up just for visiting tourist. The music was enjoyable but the scheduled interaction time with the local singers was nonexistent, and the tour was hustled out of the auditorium. No reason was given just that we had to move on. This was the case on many tours. I’m not sure this was a government mandated restriction, more like poor planning on the part of the local tour operator, and an over scheduled day. Being only the eighth American cruise ship to arrive in Havana may be the answer. While the tour guides were always congenial their Spanish accents and lack of professional tour guide experience was less than optimum. While the tour guides were officially trained and licensed by the government, they need more experience in their chosen field. This, hopefully, will be remedied with more practice, and then reflected in generous tipping.
Of course you don’t go to Cuba expecting the Little Cuba neighborhoods of Miami, but you do expect to have an enjoyable, pleasant and memorable experience. What you may bring back from Cuba is only a glimpse of the architecture which needs renovating and preservation, a few grand plazas, and food while edible, not especially memorable. Even the Cuba Libre, the iconic rum and coke drink, may be watered down.
Well known for its gourmand cigars, you will no doubt be escorted to an approved tobacco shop. We were advised to look for the official cigar stamp/label on the cigars we purchased as there may be some offered that are not official Cuban cigars. Now with trade agreements open on Americans buying and bring back Cigars, the Cigar trade for tourist might be diminishing, but probably not anytime soon. While the prices are premium in Cuba, the price offered by your bell person at Miami Hotels behind the counter were doubled, and perhaps that might change with the free import restriction lifted..
Another commerce challenge is that Cuba has two currencies, one for locals and one for tourists. That may hinder you once you have exchange your dollars in to tourist dollars, and find that the store you happened upon or street vendor only takes local currency. Exchanging money in Cuba is quite simple and except if there is a line, very efficient, friendly and fast.
As with any tropical destination in a developing country, don’t expect air conditioning, bring your own bottled water on tours, protect yourself with sunscreen and an ugly wide brimmed hat. And in a group of tourists don’t be surprised to be approached by semi well-dressed pan handlers, either giving you a sob story (“My wife is very sick, expecting a child and I am out of work”) or simply a hand out for you to fill. We were discouraged to give in to our humanitarian instincts, as this would only encourage the population to do likewise. A simple no or wave of the hand, or such is sufficient to dismiss the well intentioned local.
These reflections of my recent trip is not to discourage your interest, but just to report that Cuba is still a developing country for tourists and there is no need to rush to see it. Any booked tour of Cuba is an adventure, and as with any adventure you may find the summer heat and glaring sun a challenge. Going with Fathom Cruises (https://www.fathom.org/cruise-to-cuba/ ) may add the convenience with amenities that are good fit for senior travelers. More about a Fathom cruise next month.

Mr. Terry Zinn – Travel Editor
Past President: International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association
http://realtraveladventures.com/author/zinn/
www.seniornewsandliving.comwww.martinitravels.com

Infection Prevention Specialist Julie Smith, RN, MS, CIC, has a new weapon in the war on infection at the Norman Regional Health System.

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

Norman Regional Health System Infection Prevention Specialist Julie Smith, RN, MS, CIC has a new ally in the war on germs in her health system.
Actually, she has four new allies and not one of them is over four-foot tall.
Norman Regional Hospital recently invested more than $400,000 in new Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots, which have been credited by other healthcare facilities across the U.S. for helping reduce infection rates.
“We’ve begun to see an impact already,” Smith said. “Your typical day-to-day cleaner doesn’t clean C-diff spores so you have to use special cleaners such as bleach, which is the only thing that works. This will kill the C-diff spores and it cleans the air.
“We have already seen a decrease in hospital-acquired infections.”
Think R2D2 with the ability to emit UV light 10 times brighter than the surface of the sun.
Norman Regional has four new pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) disinfection robots that will enhance patient safety by destroying the microorganisms that cause hospital acquired Infections (HAIs).
These robots use UV light technology to quickly disinfect an enclosed space. The Germ-Zapping Robots emit a blast of UV light that kills bacteria and viruses in minutes within an enclosed area.
Depending on the size of the room, the Xenex robots can disinfect in just 5-10 minutes. The germicidal UV light disinfects a variety of areas and surfaces including bedrails, tray tables, machines, monitors, keyboards and computers.
“We’ve taken the approach that patients come first,” Smith said. “That’s our main stance. If it takes a little longer to turn over the room then we’re going to do it. It’s the right thing to do.”
The technology also provides a total kill of the Ebola and Zika viruses.
It has shown impressive declines in a number of organisms at various hospital sites around the country including:
*70% reduction in ICU C. diff infection rates
*53% reduction in C. diff infection rates
*57% reduction in MRSA infection rates
*100% elimination of VRE in isolation rooms
“The Xenex LightStrike, no-touch disinfection system uses pulses of full spectrum UV light to fuse the DNA of organisms. Once the organism’s DNA is fused it can no longer replicate or mutate, and is no longer infectious,” said Clyde Brawner, Director of Environmental Services at Norman Regional.
Two robots will be stationed at Norman Regional Hospital and two will be at the Norman Regional HealthPlex. After a housekeeper has completed the process of cleaning a room which includes removing trash and wiping surfaces with a disinfectant, the robot will be wheeled into the room to begin its work. The robot uses intense bursts of UV light to disinfect high-touch areas in patient rooms and operating room suites.
It can also be used to disinfect other areas such as utility closets, waiting rooms and more.
“The UV robots are another way that Norman Regional is making patient safety a priority,” said Darin Smith, Pharm.D., Vice President of Quality and Performance Improvement. “It’s both important and necessary to have multiple methods of effective disinfection in our arsenal to protect patients, visitors, and healthcare staff.”
Xenex’s patented Full Spectrum pulsed xenon UV room disinfection system is used for the advanced disinfection of healthcare facilities. Due to its speed and ease of use, the Xenex system has proven to integrate smoothly into hospital existing disinfection operations.
Norman Regional Health System is a multi-campus system that serves the healthcare needs of south central Oklahoma.
Norman Regional Hospital is licensed for 324 beds and offers a full range of services including emergency care, oncology, an intensive care unit, surgery and more.
The Norman Regional HealthPlex campus is licensed for 136 beds and features the services of cardiovascular, spine and orthopedics, women’s and children’s and more. The Norman Regional HealthPlex is also the home of the Chest Pain Center and the HealthPlex Heart Hospital.
It has grown to employ more than 2,700 people and have 356 physicians credentialed on the Medical Staff.
The burden of treatment costs has shifted from insurers and CMS to hospitals.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that in the United States, one in 25 patients will contract an HAI while in care, with close to 75,000 of these patients dying annually.
CDC figures also show that HAIs cost the United States healthcare industry upwards of $30 billion dollars.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D.

story and photos provided

The National Institute on Aging has awarded a $9 million grant to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and three other institutions to study age-related muscle loss.
This collaborative effort is headquartered at the University of Michigan and includes OMRF, the University of Liverpool (U.K.), and core facilities at the Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Over the five-year grant, OMRF scientist Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D., will receive $2.1 million to research mechanisms of sarcopenia, a disease in which the body loses skeletal muscle mass.
“Every institution involved is using the same model system and has the same basic questions about sarcopenia, but each of us has our own expertise and our own toolbox, so to speak,” said Van Remmen. “By combining different approaches, we can hit a problem from several directions.”
In her laboratory at OMRF, Van Remmen will study mice that exhibit muscle wasting and weakness. ”We believe that neurons and muscles play a coordinated role in age-related muscle loss, and that this process may be initiated by certain highly reactive oxygen radicals,” she said.
Van Remmen’s hope is that by pinpointing the triggers for sarcopenia, researchers may ultimately devise ways to disrupt the process.
The new grant is the third five-year grant for the four institutions, who have been working together for a decade to understand why the muscles atrophy as they age.
“We’ve had a good run of publications come out of this partnership, and it’s exciting to have earned a third round of funding. It certainly speaks to the progress we’re making,” said Van Remmen, who holds the G.T. Blankenship Chair in Aging Research at OMRF. “By better understanding these basic mechanisms, we can know where to target interventions. You have to know what is going wrong before you can treat a condition, and we are looking for the answers.”
The grant, 5P01 AG051442-01A1, is funded by the NIA, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

DAYS TO HEAL: OKLAHOMA CITY BURN CENTER OFFERS HOPE

by Jason Chandler
Staff Writer

Nichole Harvey loves the critical care aspect of being a registered nurse and team manager for all the burn and wound services of the Paul Silverstein Burn Center at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
“I love the satisfaction of seeing wounds heal,” said Harvey, whose father was former Oklahoma City Fire Chief Alan Benson. “I just felt like it was part of his legacy and I was just attracted to helping people, so that’s part of why I was drawn to this area.”
Harvey has been a nurse for five years since earning her nursing degree at OSU/OKC. She began her career at the burn center working as an intensive care unit tech in 2009. When she graduated as a registered nurse in 2011, she continued to work in the ICU before working in the Boston area of Cape Cod for three years. She returned to INTEGRIS two years ago.
Working at the burn center is interesting with high-profile technology that saves lives such as the large hypberbaric chamber, Harvey said. She is never bored when learning more about helping patients to heal.
“The chamber is actually built for mainly healing wounds, diabetic wounds, people who can’t heal after many, many tries,” she said. “We’ll have emergencies for people, not necessarily their burn wounds — we do that topical. It is actually for carbon monoxide poisoning. So a lot of times people don’t have burns when we put them in.”
The chamber has been used to treat firefighters and carbon monoxide poisoning from people painting inside enclosed rooms with high levels of toxic fumes.
“We put them in here and it helps to get those levels down to normal,” she explained.
One of the more challenging roles for Harvey as a burn nurse is responding to patients arriving in the burn center experiencing acute pain. She wants them not to be in pain but cannot give them so much morphine or other drugs that could stop them from breathing, Harvey continued.
“There has to be a fine line. You have to grow a tough skin to know that they’re going to feel pain; it’s going to be painful, and you try to do the best to make them pain-free as possible,” Harvey mentioned.
She also explains that sometimes pain is a positive indication that nerve endings are beginning to grow back to normal. So she helps educate patients and their families about the road to recovery and feeling better.
“Try to make a positive spin on it if you have to, so they can see past it,” Harvey said.
Years pass and the Paul Silverstein Burn Center has patients come back after they have healed. Harvey loves hearing their stories. One gentleman who lived through an oil fire returned to say how positive his experience was at the burn center.
“It may not have been when he left or during it, but he sees into the future and how glad he was we pushed him,” Harvey said. “That give us encouragement at this level of care because a lot of times we get down, and a lot of the nurses are down, because they feel like they’re not helping these patients. They feel like their patients are not feeling better and they’re sad.”
“So there’s that battle, and when we see them come back and say, ‘Thank you’ — you know it was worth something.”
Nurses help each other by exhausting all of their frustrations by verbally coming to Harvey or another friend on staff. To say it out loud through the process of debriefing helps the burn nurses to cope.
“Sometimes they think they are hurting the patient,” she said.
But being a burn nurse also reaps with feelings of validation by knowing they have benefited humanity. At the end of the day they know they’ve done something that day to help someone, sometime during the day, Harvey said.
“I think it takes a specific type of nurse. I think they need to be diligent, tough in pushing the patients, and being able to stomach a lot of the wound dressing changes, I think is a big aspect,” she said.
The nursing staff is constantly communicating to patients and their loved ones what to expect. What to do when they leave is vital knowledge, she said.
“We actually have an old fire bell from one of the museums donated. It symbolizes back when they didn’t have fire alarms on the truck. They had different bells for ringing they would use to tell everyone where they were in the process of a fire,” she said.
The bell at the burn unit symbolizes a fire is nearly extinguished but work remains.
“Every time a burn patient leaves we have them ring the bell,” Harvey said. “And that says we got most of this done, but you still have a lifetime of work to do in front of you.”
Education helps patients and families move beyond the psychological wound itself.
Harvey is wise to rejuvenate and find joy in life not only at work but during moments of leisure. She especially enjoys spending time with her family and their animals.
“I like art and music; doing things around the house,” she said.

Dear Savvy Senior,

Does Medicare cover 100 percent of all preventive health care screenings? I’m due to get a colonoscopy and a few other tests, but I want to find out if I’ll have to pay anything before I proceed.  New to Medicare

Dear New,
Medicare currently covers a wide array of free preventive and screening services to help you stay healthy, but not all services are completely covered.
You also need to be aware that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) – which helps financially support Medicare – may very well cause these free preventive services to be eliminated in the future. But in the meantime, here’s how it works.
Free Preventive Services
Currently, most of Medicare’s preventive services are available to all Part B beneficiaries for free, with no copays or deductibles, as long as you meet basic eligibility standards. Mammograms; colonoscopies; shots against flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B; screenings for diabetes, depression, and heart conditions; and counseling to combat obesity, alcohol abuse, and smoking are just some of Medicare’s lengthy list of covered services. But to get these services for free, you need to go to a doctor who accepts Medicare “on assignment,” which means he or she has agreed to accept the Medicare approved rate as full payment.
Also, the tests are free only if they’re used at specified intervals. For example, prostate cancer PSA tests, once every 12 months for men over 50; or colonoscopy, once every 10 years, or every two years if you’re at high risk.
Medicare also offers a free “Welcome to Medicare” exam with your doctor in your first year, along with annual wellness visits thereafter. But don’t confuse these with full physical examinations. These are prevention-focused visits that provide only an overview of your health and medical risk factors and serve as a baseline for future care.
For a complete list of services along with their eligibility requirements, visit Medicare.gov and click on the “What Medicare Covers” tab at the top of the page, followed by “Preventive & screening services.”
Hidden Costs
You also need to know that while the previously listed Medicare services are completely free, you can be charged for certain diagnostic services or additional tests or procedures related to the preventive service. For example, if your doctor finds and removes a polyp during your preventive care colonoscopy screening, the removal of the polyp is considered diagnostic and you will likely be charged for it. Or, if during your annual wellness visit, your doctor needs to investigate or to treat a new or existing problem, you will probably be charged here too.
You may also have to pay a facility fee depending on where you receive the service. Certain hospitals, for example, will often charge separate facilities fees when you are receiving a preventive service. And, you can also be charged for a doctor’s visit if you meet with a physician before or after the service.
To eliminate billing surprises, talk to your doctor before any preventive service procedure to find out if you may be subject to a charge and what it would be.
Cost Sharing Services
Medicare also offers several other preventive services that require some out-of-pocket cost sharing. With these tests, you’ll have to pay 20 percent of the cost of the service, after you’ve met your $183 Part B yearly deductible. The services that fall under this category include glaucoma screenings, diabetes self-management trainings, barium enemas to detect colon cancer, and digital rectal exams to detect prostate cancer.
Medicare Advantage Members
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your plans are also required to cover the same free preventive services as original Medicare as long as you see in-network providers. If you see providers that are not in your plan’s network, charges will typically apply.

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.

Third grader Sawyer Hamel received a $1,000 scholarship from Bonnie Plants for growing a big cabbage from a small seedling. Celebrating his achievement are (L-R) Ag in the Classroom coordinators Melody Aufill and Cheri Long, teacher Shawna Hughes and Bonnie Plants station manager Shawn Beam.

Sawyer Hamel discovered his green thumb by growing a cabbage from a small seedling to a head large enough to feed a family. All the third graders in his class received cabbage seedlings from Bonnie Plants, an Alabama based company, to develop a love of gardening. His teacher, Shawna Hughes, has had her classes participate in the cabbage growing program for five years.
“Kids look forward to it. The program really extends learning beyond the classroom,” Hughes said and added, “It’s so important for kids to know where food comes from.”
Hamel’s faithful care for his cabbage seedling resulted in a prize winning vegetable. His name was submitted to Bonnie Plants, along with a photo of him with his 15 pound cabbage, and he was selected as the Oklahoma state winner. His school, Wayland Bonds Elementary in Moore, arranged an assembly for third and fourth graders in his honor where he received a $1,000 scholarship from Bonnie Plants. He also received a plaque signed by Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese.
Ag in the Classroom (AITC) coordinators Cheri Long and Melody Aufill attended the assembly representing the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF). They presented the book “Katie’s Cabbage” to Hughes and provided Specialty Crop Activity Books for all of her students. The AITC program is coordinated jointly by ODAFF, the State Department of Education and Oklahoma State University to promote agricultural literacy in grades pre-K through 12. More information can be found about Ag in the Classroom at www.agclassroom.org/ok .
“Ag in the Classroom lessons and activities help students and teachers participate in experiential hands-on learning about the food and fiber industry in Oklahoma,” said Aufill. “Oklahoma has a diverse agriculture industry that includes commodities and specialty crop production. Bonnie Plants third grade cabbage program provides an excellent experience for students to grow their own cabbage which is a specialty crop grown in Oklahoma.”
Shawn Beam represented Bonnie Plants at the assembly and noted that more than 200 schools participate in the program designed to grow the next generation of gardeners. Beam is the station manager for the Bonnie Plants greenhouse operation in Whitesboro, Texas. His company has delivered more than 14 million cabbage plants nationwide and he encourages all Oklahoma third grade teachers to sign up for free cabbage plants at www.bonnieplants.com.

Campaign co-chairs (from left) John and Charlotte Richels, along with United Way president and CEO Debby Hampton and board chairman Larry Nichols celebrate the 2016 fundraising grand total at Snowflake Gala.

United Way of Central Oklahoma Raises More Than $19.1 Million in 2016 Campaign

United Way of Central Oklahoma celebrated the close of its 2016 fundraising campaign Friday night with its 15th annual Snowflake Gala at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
The United Way revealed that a grand total of more than $19.1 million was raised through more than 600 employee workplace campaigns as well as corporate gifts and thousands of individual donations.
“This year’s campaign achieved what was most important — raising the money needed to fund the health and social services programming that supports the well-being of our community,” said Debby Hampton, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Oklahoma. “Our 58 Partner Agencies are the best of the best, and funds raised during our campaign will provide much needed support to these organizations.”
Representatives from several campaigns that contributed to the larger United Way of Central Oklahoma goal announced their totals before the grand total was revealed:
The Heart of the City campaign raised $574,222
The State Charitable Campaign totaled $451,755
The Combined Federal Campaign total was $2,156,102
Additionally, the United Way of Logan County and United Way of Canadian County raised $353,145 through their campaigns.
These campaigns combined with the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s fundraising efforts to reach the grand total of $19,100,958 million.
Challenging year
The United Way of Central Oklahoma didn’t announce a specific fundraising goal for its 2016 campaign. Instead, the organization set out to raise as much money as possible in a tough economic environment.
Making it to that total was challenging this year, Hampton said, because of the hurting local economy. She credited the campaign’s success to Oklahomans’ notoriously giving spirit and the hard work of campaign co-chairmen John and Charlotte Richels, two of the area’s most notable community leaders.
“We knew going into the campaign that it was going to be a challenging fundraising year,” said John Richels, Devon Energy Corp. chairman of the board and campaign co-chairman. “In difficult economic times like these, central Oklahomans need help from the United Way more than ever and we are very appreciative of the tremendous support the community has shown for the United Way and its Partner Agencies.”
The funds raised will be dispersed to the United Way’s Partner Agencies through an in-depth allocation process.
Honoring volunteers
With United Way of Central Oklahoma board chairman Larry Nichols as emcee, the organization’s annual volunteer awards ceremony preceded the Snowflake Gala. Three Oklahomans were recognized for dedicating their time and talents to helping make the mission of the United Way of Central Oklahoma successful:
Dennis Jaggi, managing partner for EnCap Flatrock Midstream, was presented with the United Way’s highest honor, the Richard H. Clements Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dave Carpenter, American Fidelity Assurance Company president and COO, was honored with the Ray Ackerman Leadership Award.
George Young Sr., Oklahoma State house Representative and CEO of Young Management Consulting, received the John and Berta Faye Rex Community Builder Award.
“These volunteers are pillars of our society and have worked tirelessly toward bettering the health and human services available to those in need in central Oklahoma,” Hampton said. United Way is blessed with an amazing board of directors, campaign cabinet and volunteers who give of themselves with such tremendous generosity, it’s truly amazing.”
Although the 2016 campaign has ended, the United Way continues to recruit volunteers and raise funds for its community projects and partner agencies year round.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Darise Farris, Ph.D.

The Rheumatology Research Foundation has named Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Darise Farris, Ph.D, as a recipient of its Research Foundation Innovative Research Award.
The award will provide Farris with $400,000 in funding over a two-year period to continue promising research in understanding the origins of the autoimmune disease Sjögren’s syndrome.
Sjögren’s syndrome is a painful autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks the body’s own moisture-producing glands, inhibiting the ability to produce tears or saliva. The most common symptoms include severe dry eyes and dry mouth, as well as arthritis, fatigue and others.
The disease is believed to affect as many as 3 million people in the United States and, like many autoimmune diseases, disproportionally affects women by a 9-to-1 ratio. There is no known cure and current treatments only address symptoms, not the root cause.
In her lab at OMRF, Farris is trying to identify the proteins in patients that are causing the abnormal autoimmune response in the glands that produce tears and saliva.
“We know that Sjögren’s selectively attacks these glands, but nobody understands why those glands are targeted,” said Farris. “We believe there are unidentified salivary gland antigens, which are proteins that are the target of an immune response.”
Farris is currently pursuing two related paths of Sjögren’s research.
First, her lab is attempting to identify the proteins that incite the disease. Using special tools, scientists have isolated specific receptors from immune cells called T cells from the salivary tissue of Sjögren’s patients. They have isolated the immune cell receptors that directly touch the unknown proteins, and they hope to use them to explain why salivary tissues are targeted in the disease.
If this work is successful, it could provide the knowledge needed to better identify individuals who either have Sjögren’s syndrome or are susceptible to the disease.
The second aim is to follow up on the discovery of a relationship between the degree of activation of those T cells and reduced saliva production. Farris said. “We think this might lead to an understanding of why saliva production is defective in these patients,” said Farris.
The award was a result of research published with colleagues at OMRF in the journal JCI Insight. Farris earned her Ph.D. in immunology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and has spent 18 years at OMRF researching Sjögren’s and other autoimmune diseases.
“This award is very exciting for us because it’s going to permit us to follow up on what we believe to be a fruitful line of investigation,” said Farris.
“It will allow us a bigger budget to collect needed data in order to answer these pressing questions and work toward solutions for patients suffering from this painful disease.” The Rheumatology Research Foundation was created by the American College of Rheumatology and is based in Atlanta, Ga.
“Dr. Farris’ research uses cutting-edge molecular tools to probe the causes of Sjögren’s disease that could lead to innovative therapies,” said OMRF Vice President of Research Rodger McEver, M.D.

Chad Borin, D.O., Chief of Staff for St. Anthony Hospital.

Chad Borin, D.O., has been appointed Chief of Staff for St. Anthony Hospital.
Dr. Borin is board certified in emergency medicine. He obtained his undergraduate degree at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in medical biology. He then went on to complete his medical degree from Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Following his medical degree, Dr. Borin completed an emergency medicine internship at Tulsa Regional Medical Center, and an emergency medicine residency at Integris Southwest Medical Center.
Dr. Borin is the Medical Director of St. Anthony Hospital Emergency Services, as well as an active member of the Medical Executive Committee. He is the first osteopathic physician and first emergency physician to become Chief of Staff. He will serve a two-year term and will be succeeded by Chief of Staff Elect Gregory McKinnis, M.D. in 2019.

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