The full Senate has given its approval to a measure creating a world-class diabetes research and treatment center in Oklahoma. Senate Bill 1056, co-authored by Sen. Cal Hobson, D-Lexington, and Sen. Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, would help fund the start-up cost for creating the center, which would have locations at the University of Oklahoma campuses in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, with outreach programs serving the entire state.
“More Oklahomans have diabetes per capita than any state in the nation. But we have an opportunity to be the nation’s leader in the treatment of diabetes by creating this center,” Hobson said. “The research that will be conducted at the center may one day help us stop this deadly disease in its tracks.”
University of Oklahoma President David Boren has promoted the facility, which he says will need start-up funds of $15 million, with $10 to $12 million of that for actual bricks and mortar and $3 to $4 million for operations, researchers and matching grants. Boren said that several tribes in the state have come forward with pledges of support for the center as well.
“The potential economic impact for our state could literally be in the billions as a result of this facility and it could bring Oklahoma national and international recognition for the medical and scientific research that would be conducted at the center. But more than that, we have an opportunity to save lives and improve the quality of life for thousands of Oklahomans and for people far beyond our borders,” Coffee said.
President Boren said he was very optimistic after the unanimous approval of the measure by the Senate.
“That will really give us a leg up on action in the House. We’ve had expressions of support from many influential House members in both political parties,” said Boren. “Also of course support from the governor in his state of the state address. And with all of that happening and the tremendous amount of grass roots support from across the state, support of our Native American tribes who by the way are joining with us as financial and operational partners. I’m very optimistic that this bill’s on its way to passage.”