The OU Health Sciences Center is composed of seven health-related colleges located near the state capitol in Oklahoma City. Each of the colleges – Medicine Public Health, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Allied Health, and Graduate – contributes its specialized knowledge and expertise to the growing health sciences hub in central Oklahoma.
- In a year filled with financial challenges, the OU Health Sciences Center achieved $139 million in federal, state, corporate and nonprofit or foundation grants and contracts in FY09. Of the $139 million $50 million came from the National Institutes of Health, considered to be the gold standard for research.
- FY09 was characterized by the start of construction of the OU Cancer Institute, the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center moving into a new facility, and the dedication of a new building for the College of Allied Health.
- Basic science and clinical investigators at the OU Health Sciences Center conduct cutting-edge research that includes gene regulation, infectious diseases, immunology, cardiovascular physiology, diabetes, cancer, ophthalmology, neuroscience and pharmaceutical sciences. Application has been made for a Clinical Translational Science Award that would change the complexion of research at OUHSC by emphasizing the translation of basic science findings to bedside treatments.
- The OUHSC is home to one of the few departments of geriatrics in the nation that conduct basic research in aging.
- OU also is one of the only primary centers in the world for genome studies, with the OUHSC actively engaged in sequencing a variety of microbial genomes. The center’s growing faculty and facilities offer unparalleled opportunities for students, patient care and the development of the biomedical industry in Oklahoma.
- Research at the OUHSC has led to the development of several companies, including Inoveon, Pure Protein, Hyalose, Selexys and Biolytx, all of which are located in the Oklahoma Health Center Research Park adjacent to the OUHSC campus. Other companies at the Research Park, such as Urocor, Charlesson and Genzyme, have had or continue to have close associations with active research programs at the OUHSC.
A Battelle study by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce pointed out the need for a comprehensive biosciences plan for the state if Oklahoma’s economy is to grow and thrive in this century. The OUHSC is in the midst of a five-year strategic plan that aligns with this important goal and serves as a road map for future research on its campus.
The plan targets and builds upon existing research and clinical strengths to achieve a vigorous economy and healthier future for all Oklahomans. Previous research strategies boosted total sponsored awards at the OUHSC from $10 million in 1982 to $139 million in 2009.
The strategic plan provides the impetus for equally impressive research growth in the years ahead. The key areas of research targeted are cancer, diabetes, neuroscience/vision and infectious diseases/immunology. The OUHSC already had a solid core of basic and clinical researchers in these four areas, plus the largest biomedical infrastructure in the state. Through recruitment, the OUHSC continues to grow its ranks of top researchers. The strategic plan calls for a doubling of the OUHSC total biomedical research funding and the addition of 100 faculty members. There also are $377 million of capital projects under way.
The overall goals of the strategic plan are to:
- propel the OUHSC and the state to regional and national prominence in research and development
- bridge the gap between bench and bedside
- rapidly translate new discoveries into new treatments
- promote further economic development for Oklahoma and continue to meet the health care needs of the state.
To that end, the OU Cancer Institute and the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes
Center have been established. The OU Cancer Institute is the largest biomedical initiative ever launched in Oklahoma. Implementing the strategic research plan represents a significant investment in the state’s future. This investment promises great returns because it provides the bedrock for a thriving biosciences research and development endeavor in Oklahoma — one that brings with it more higher-paying jobs, strong economic growth and biomedical research advances that translate into better treatments and ultimately a healthier citizenry for Oklahoma in the 21st century and beyond.