Recent Articles

Critics of Medical Marijuana Ignore Facts: Legalization Reduces Opioid Abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY – As Oklahoma nears the June 26 ballot referendum on medical marijuana, new scientific studies continue to show that legalization is directly correlated to reducing opioid abuse and opioid deaths.  

In one study, Dr. Hefei Wen of the University of Kentucky and Dr. Jason M. Hockenberry of Emory University report that passage of medical marijuana laws is followed by a reduction in opiate prescriptions of nearly 6 percent. In a second study, Dr. David Bradford and Dr. Amanda Abraham from the University of Georgia concluded that medical marijuana laws are associated with an 8.5 percent reduction in opioid doses filled by Medicare Part D recipients. Bud Scott, the executive director for New Health Solutions Oklahoma, a trade group for the medical cannabis industry, said opponents of medical marijuana are running out of excuses to deny a potentially life-saving product to sick Oklahomans. “The facts are in and the science is there,” said Scott. Continue Reading →

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OICA Candidate Surveys Are Now Available Online

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is pleased to be a key partner in “2018: Oklahoma Year of the Child,” an effort to encourage interest in children’s issues with candidates for office.  OICA compiled a list of what we felt were the top twenty positive bills from this past legislative session so voters can see who supported child-friendly potential laws.  We have also undertaken the task of reaching out to candidates to ask them three simple questions.  The full results, including candidate surveys, will be uploaded by Wednesday, June 20 to oica.org under the legislative tab (or directly at http://oica.org/legislation/candidate-questionnaire/candidate-questionnaire-results/). The survey questions are:

What ideas/policies will you pursue to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children? For example, what laws or policies will you champion, what programs will you attempt to expand or decrease, and what area of interest regarding children will you establish yourself as a leader amongst your colleagues. What have you done to support children prior to this election? For example, discuss policies which you have had a direct impact in seeing implemented, what volunteer work have you personally done to improve the lives of children, or have you had a job which has worked with kids. Continue Reading →

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Vision Health Professionals Warn Patients About Walmart-Backed State Question

Eye doctors oppose corporate control of vision health
OKLAHOMA CITY – Eye doctors and vision health professionals across the state are working to educate their patients about the dangers of a proposed ballot measure that would erode the quality of vision-care in Oklahoma. The measure, State Question 793, is backed by Walmart and would amend the Oklahoma Constitution so that Walmart could offer optometry services. A Walmart-backed political group has been collecting signatures from Walmart-shoppers for the last several weeks. The group announced today it has enough signatures to place the measure on the November ballot. Joel Robison, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians (OAOP), said Walmart’s paid signature gatherers and political operatives are not being honest about the issue. Continue Reading →

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Senior Living Chefs Face-Off in Top-Chef Inspired Cooking Competition

Chef from Broken Arrow’s Franciscan Villa Takes Home Top Honor

OKLAHOMA CITY – Care Providers Oklahoma has named the winner of this year’s Silver Spoon Competition, a Top Chef-inspired cook-off that pits chefs from Oklahoma’s senior living facilities against each other in a challenge to see who can make the tastiest and most nutritious meals. US Foods sponsors the event each year and provides the ingredients and a full-service kitchen for the competitors. This year’s theme was seafood, which US Foods Manager for Senior Living Cathy Mosley said was chosen specifically because it was challenging. “Nutritional Guidelines for Americans incorporates seafood into our menus at least twice per week,” said Mosley. “That can be a difficult center-of-the-plate item in the middle of the country.”

Thirty-one dietary professionals throughout the state were nominated to participate in the challenge. Continue Reading →

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Advocacy Training and a Celebration for Students

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) had the pleasure of holding several events last week, all centered on our mission. Even though the Legislature has adjourned, we carried on our plans to hold our annual Advocacy Day, partnering with Let’s Fix This, a grassroots organization that works to get people more involved with sharing their ideas with policymakers.  Our event hosted more than two dozen advocates who were there to learn about how to correspond with legislators and other elected officials.  These advocacy skills are critical, especially in the new world of social media. The attendees all walked away with a better understanding of the process and an ability to more effectively present their ideas and leverage their own expertise with lawmakers. This will not be the last of these training sessions this year, so I encourage you to check out oica.org for upcoming events. OICA also hosted the first of our 35th Anniversary celebrations with a luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion Pavilion. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma, Illinois Students to Link Up with NASA Astronauts on Space Station

WASHINGTON, /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Students from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Edwardsville, Illinois, will have the opportunity to talk with astronauts on the International Space Station next week as part of NASA’s Year of Education on Station. The two 20-minute, Earth-to-space calls will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website. NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel will answer questions about life aboard the space station, NASA’s deep space exploration plans and conducting science in space during both opportunities. The first event will connect Oklahoma students from several schools in grades 5 through 12 with the two Expedition 55 astronauts at 10:35 a.m. EDT Monday, May 14, from the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium. The students submitted essays describing what they would ask an astronaut and how that question relates to their own lives on Earth as part of the selection process. Continue Reading →

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OICA Praises Legislators for Creating Trauma-Informed Care Task Force

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman today praised the state Legislature for passing Senate Bill 1517, which creates a task force to make data-driven, results oriented policy recommendations regarding trauma-informed care. Studies show that 45 percent of children in the United States have experienced at least one of the following Adverse Childhood Experiences: economic hardship, parental divorce or separation, parental death, parental incarceration, violence among adults in the home, victim of or witness to neighborhood violence, living with a mentally ill adult, or living with someone who has a substance use problem. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has worked closely with the Potts Family Foundation and other partners to increase awareness among Oklahoma state legislators about the proven social impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences. An interim study was held at OICA’s request by the Oklahoma House of Representatives last summer that looked at the impact of traumatic experiences and how they can be addressed. Following that study, State Senator A.J. Griffin and House author Rep. Carol Bush filed SB 1517, creating a new task force on trauma-informed care. Continue Reading →

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Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma Rallies for Victims During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma will join organizations nationally and across the state to raise awareness for victims’ rights and services during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), beginning April 8. Since 1981, NCVRW is held every April to promote laws, policies, and programs to help victims of crime, as well as educate citizens about victimization and the effect it has on individuals, families, friends and the community. In accordance with this year’s theme, Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims, advocates will encourage support for State Question 794 (SQ 794).  The ballot initiative includes a set of victims’ rights collectively known as “Marsy’s Law.” The state question will be included on the November ballot in Oklahoma and seeks to grant crime victims Constitutional protections equal to the protections afforded to accused criminals. Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma has daily events planned to commemorate the week:

Sunday, April 8

Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma State Director Kim Moyer and crime victim and President of the Oklahoma Homicide Survivors Support Group Lauren Layman will join News9 political analyst Scott Mitchell for a Facebook Live event at 3:15 PM. Watch it on the MitchellTalks Facebook page or on the Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma Facebook Page. Continue Reading →

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School Choice Advocates: After Teacher Raise, What is the Plan to Improve Oklahoma’s Schools?

OKLAHOMA CITY – With teachers poised to receive the largest salary increase in state history, parents and  education reform groups are now asking legislators to focus on improving Oklahoma schools and boosting student outcomes. ChoiceMatters, which works to connect parents with educational resources and options, said the pay raises were needed but would not help students without additional reforms.

“We are grateful the Legislature has acted to give teachers a much-needed pay raise,” said ChoiceMatters Executive Director Robert Ruiz. “However, the important work of improving our schools has not yet begun. Educational outcomes in Oklahoma are getting worse, and many of our children are falling further and further behind. This is particularly true in low-income and minority communities, where disparity in outcomes is growing.”

Latino children in Oklahoma are 3.5 time more likely than white children to attend a school rated “F” on the state’s education report card. Continue Reading →

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OICA Coordinating Outreach for Programs to Support Kids During Teacher Walkout

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is working with community leaders from across the state to compile a list of organizations which will provide child care and nutrition programs during the upcoming planned education walkout in April. OICA CEO Joe Dorman said that the organization was working to ensure children do not fall through the cracks while the state tackles its education and teacher pay issues. “While teachers and other personnel are continuing the discussion regarding potential salary increases, we want to make certain the children of the state are not forgotten,” said Dorman. “This is an important time for finding a solution on a much-needed pay raise for educators and other support staff, but we cannot forget those young Oklahomans who rely on a safe place to be during the school week.”

Organizations that are offering services to children and families can contact OICA at info@oica.org in order to have their information listed by community.  Once uploaded, Oklahomans will be given options listed at www.oica.org on where their children can be taken during the day for child care and food services while parents/guardians are at work. “We are encouraging any program which can offer support to help during this time,” said Dorman.  “We are certain many churches, nonprofits and other organizations will offer their help, so we are happy to operate as the point of contact to help distribute this information by community.”

Dorman said an example is the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, which is preparing and distributing family boxes of food to impacted families. Continue Reading →

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