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JoLaine R. Draugalis, Ph.D., dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy.

JoLaine R. Draugalis, Ph.D., dean of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy, has been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
The award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and to pharmacy education over a minimum of 25 years. Draugalis has been active in the education and research missions of the OU Health Sciences Center, in addition to statewide and national service and outreach. She has been named a David Ross Boyd Professor and holds the Phil C. and Fern Ashby Endowed Dean’s Chair at the OU College of Pharmacy.
“I have participated in every AACP annual meeting since 1985, after completing two years of graduate school. I love the organization,” Draugalis said. “This award represents many years of interactions and collaborations with pharmacy students, graduate students and faculty colleagues.”
Draugalis began her tenure as the dean of the OU College of Pharmacy in 2007 and has guided it in many areas of growth and achievement, including its 125th anniversary celebration in 2018. She oversees a college with more than 300 students and trainees and about 200 employees.
Draugalis has been active as a researcher, conducting studies in pharmacy education program design, administration and evaluation; educational applications in pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research; and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has been the author of 125 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and monographs. From 2004-2005, she served as president of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
In the 12 years she has led the OU College of Pharmacy, faculty members have substantially increased their research publications, state and federal grant funding, and national and international presentations. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the OU College of Pharmacy among the top 25 programs in the country. In 2014, the college received the AACP Lawrence C. Weaver Transformative Community Service Award for its commitment to addressing unmet community needs.
In 2010, the college embarked on an annual campus flu clinic campaign, administering 2,309 vaccinations that year. The program has grown to more than 5,780 vaccinations given in 2018.
The OU College of Pharmacy also operates the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to provide information to Oklahoma residents and healthcare professionals concerning the prevention and management of potential toxic exposures.

In the first six months of 2019, the Oklahoma Insurance Department recovered double the amount of money for policyholders compared to all of last year. More than $5.1 million in claims disputes have been settled with the Department’s help.
“These recovery amounts make a real impact on peoples’ lives, and Oklahomans should expect their insurance companies to keep the promises made to them” Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready said. “Today’s numbers show our Department’s continued commitment to protect insurance consumers.”
OID’s Consumer Assistance/Claims Division processes and assist consumers seeking help with their insurance companies. The division opened 3,061 files from January to June of this year. They’ve also answered 7,110 phone calls. The money recovered from January to June of this year totaled $5,129,962.81. Last year, the recovery amount for the entire year was $3,549,619.17.
Policyholders who have an issue with their claim can file a “Request for Assistance” for the following types of insurance: auto, home, commercial, life and health, service warranty, title or workers’ compensation. To learn more about the complaint process, go to oid.ok.gov or call the Consumer Assistance Division at 800-522-0071.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.

On July 8, Joe Rackley was named the 2019 Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Recognition Award recipient for his contributions and outstanding efforts in support of the Oklahoma CAPS Program.
Rackley, a field inspector for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, voluntary took on the added role of State Survey Coordinator while the vacancy was being filled.
“Joe’s primary responsibility is to be a nursery field inspector,” said Blaine Powell, Oklahoma State Plant Health Director. “But, he has done an excellent job maintaining both duties despite the heavy work load.”
Rackley worked to draft and summit work plans which ensured Oklahoma’s participation in survey activity for the 2019 CAPS Program. With Rackley’s knowledge and understanding of the CAPS Program, he was able to smoothly facilitate program duties, Powell said.
Rackley has delivered multiple program presentations at various meetings across the state, and he worked with Agreement Specialists to resolve problems and discuss options for potential survey issues. He also completed activities for the 2018 season by entering all data and writing final reports. “Joe is extremely goal oriented and has a keen eye for details, ensuring all aspects of work and financial plans are written correctly and closely monitors field work for accuracy,” Powell said.
CAPS pest detection program supports the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service as it works to safeguard U.S. agricultural and environmental resources. The CAPS Recognition Award is designed to recognize individuals or groups for specific achievements and accomplishments resulting from work done in support of Pest Detection activities in the previous calendar year, and more information can be found at http://caps.ceris.purdue.edu/caps-recognition.

Presbyterian Health Foundation (PHF) is awarding $3.9 million in research dollars to Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, funding a total of 64 new grants during its June grant cycle in the areas of cancer, diabetes, heart, aging, and pediatrics.
Since revitalizing funding of medical research in Oklahoma, PHF has granted more than $20 million to the two research powerhouses, and the foundation doesn’t see its funding focus slowing any time soon.
“We are committed to funding the best, cutting-edge science to secure life-enhancing treatments for people in Oklahoma, across the country, and world,” said PHF’s President Tom R. Gray, III. “Getting scientists together who can combine their know-how in a collaborative way plays a critical role in achieving meaningful results. We’re excited about the many grants that were presented to us this round, in particular the team science awards.”
PHF team science grants are intended to foster innovative, collaborative approaches to research projects involving multiple researchers. These grants focus on collaborative relationships with at least two or more investigators on each project, combining and integrating basic, clinical, community-based and translational research endeavors.
A collaborative project funded at OMRF will continue its investigation on therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Scientists Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D., and Rheal Towner, Ph.D. will work in concert to test a new compound designed to ameliorate the effects of the disease. “The PHF funding will allow us to test the preliminary hypothesis that OKN-007, an anti-inflammatory compound with neuroprotective effects, can have a beneficial effect on the initiation and progression of ALS,” said Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D., chair of OMRF’s Aging and Metabolism Research Program. “The data we obtain from this study will be used to help us secure further funding to move this drug forward to a clinical trial for ALS.”
One particular team of scientists at OUHSC will focus its efforts on pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of cancer affecting people today. The team, including Courtney Houchen, M.D., Min Li, Ph.D., and CV Rao, Ph.D., is exploring how to improve treatment methods with this diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer is particularly deadly because the way it grows is not highly responsive to available chemotherapies. In addition, patients often struggle with complications like cachexia, a muscle-wasting condition that affects at least 80 percent of people with pancreatic cancer. Because cachexia takes such a toll on patients, many cannot withstand surgery and they respond poorly to chemotherapy and radiation.
“Pancreatic cancer is a very tough disease, and novel therapies like treating cachexia are the only way we’re going to make progress because the traditional approach of trying to destroy the tumor isn’t enough,” Houchen said.
“We’ve seen an encouraging uptick in collaborative proposals over the last few years, indicating to us that the teamwork amongst Oklahoma’s researchers in stronger than ever,” said Gray. “We are confident these continued efforts will translate into better quality of life for us all.”

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recently announced that fifteen INTEGRIS Family Care Clinics earned Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition renewal.
The clinics received the initial recognition in 2016 for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participative relationships.
The facilities receiving the PCMH Certificate of Recognition renewal are listed below:
INTEGRIS Family Care Baptist
INTEGRIS Family Care Central
INTEGRIS Family Care Norman
INTEGRIS Family Care Yukon
INTEGRIS Family Care Coffee Creek
INTEGRIS Family Care Edmond East
INTEGRIS Family Care Edmond Renaissance
INTEGRIS Family Care Memorial West
INTEGRIS Family Care Northwest
INTEGRIS Family Care Southwest
INTEGRIS Family Care Lake Pointe
INTEGRIS Family Care Moore
INTEGRIS Family Care Surrey Hills
INTEGRIS Family Care South
INTEGRIS Family Care Mustang
The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients’ experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is overseen by clinician-led care teams that coordinate treatment across the health care system. Research shows that medical homes can lead to higher quality and lower costs and can improve patient and provider reported experiences of care.
To date, sixteen INTEGRIS Family Care Clinics have achieved this distinction. INTEGRIS Family Care South Penn has a different renewal cycle.

Benefits include vehicle discounts, equipment service and access to mobility specialists

The Oklahoma Assisted Living Association (OKALA) is pleased to offer benefits to members through a collaboration with United Access. As the second largest provider of customized accessible vehicles and equipment in the nation, United Access provides vehicle sales for wheelchair vans, trucks and SUVs, as well as wheelchair and scooter lifts, hand controls, power transfer seats and more.
“With United Access our members will have the advantage of working with a local dealership and local mobility specialists who know, live and work in our community,” said Melissa Holland, Executive Director OKALA. “Being able to meet in person with United Access will not only be convenient and comfortable, but also critical to their developing a deep understanding of our members’ businesses and specific accessible vehicle needs, as well as knowing the local resources necessary to keeping your vehicles operating at peak performance.”
Incentives offered by United Access will enable OKALA members to receive the maximum possible value on their vehicles by working with dedicated mobility specialists. In addition to special discounts on vehicle acquisition, OKALA members will receive mobility equipment servicing and access to nationwide remarketing experts for selling vehicles, among other benefits. Dealer sales, service and financing and leasing also are available for retail and commercial wheelchair vans in Oklahoma.
Specific benefits and discounts include:
*Local, dedicated mobility specialists
*Up to 5 percent savings on vehicle acquisition costs
*Free annual mobility equipment service
*Factory ordering, manufacturer and volume incentives
*Access to nationwide remarketing experts for buying and selling vehicles
“United Access is dedicated to giving people the power of freedom and independence by providing the safest and most trusted accessible driving solutions and we are pleased to be able to offer these special benefits to OKALA members across the state,” said Jim Thurmond, commercial sales manager for United Access. “Our vehicles provide an affordable transportation solution for independent living and senior living communities for non-emergency medical transport and ambulette paratransit.”
All United Access’ wheelchair accessible vans comply with National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and include top quality vehicles from trusted companies including BraunAbility, Vantage Mobility International (VMI), Bruno, Harmar lifts, and ElDorado. Selections include wheelchair vans with side- or rear-entry ramps, as well as full-size vans with lifts. Rentals also are available.

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