MARCH 28, 2008

HOME

George Kaiser Family Foundation announces $50 million gift to improve health in Oklahoma communities

The George Kaiser Family Foundation recently announced a $50 million gift – the largest single gift ever to the University of Oklahoma – to improve the health of Oklahomans through community-based medicine.

With the gift, the College of Medicine at OU-Tulsa will change its focus and become the first formally named School of Community Medicine in the nation. The OU School of Community Medicine’s explicit purpose will be to improve the overall health status of underserved Oklahoma communities, both rural and urban, by providing additional community-based medical student education programs and resident training, and increasing the number of physician graduates. The School of Community Medicine will remain an integral part of the OU College of Medicine.

“Our state has the unfortunate distinction of having the worst health outcomes in the nation, a situation made even worse by the enormous disparities that exist according to income and access to care,” said Ken Levit, executive director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. “The effort to establish the nation’s first School of Community Medicine is designed to address this challenge.”

“We hope that the additional faculty that this grant will provide as well as the talented medical students who will be drawn to this innovative program from throughout the country will make a measurable impact for better health in communities across Oklahoma,” said Levit.

“We are deeply grateful to George Kaiser and the Foundation for this gift, which will truly make a difference in the lives of Oklahomans for years to come. Creating the OU School of Community Medicine will provide programs and scholarships which will guide medical students into areas of care which impact lower-income families and others who have limited access to quality medical care. The new community medicine program will in no way duplicate existing programs of the OU College of Medicine,” said OU President David Boren. “It will not concentrate on basic scientific research but on clinical outreach to those who desperately need care. It will also provide financial help to medical students who want to unselfishly dedicate themselves to underserved groups.”

The primary goal of the OU School of Community Medicine is to actively improve the health status of Oklahomans by increasing the number of physician graduates and utilizing a curriculum that trains physicians to be excellent direct-care providers who are also skilled in solving larger health problems in their communities. The gift also provides incentives for new physicians to choose careers that serve the broader needs of the communities where they practice.

For more information about the OU School of Community Medicine, visit http://tulsa.ou.edu or call (918) 660-3098.