Officials from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Tulsa announced today the medical school will receive $2.4 million in funding over the next four years to develop OU faculty positions in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hillcrest Medical Center.
Hillcrest Medical Center/Ardent Health Services is providing $400,000 annually for the next four years to support four additional obstetricians, for a total of $1.6 million. The George Kaiser Family Foundation has agreed to contribute $800,000.
The additional faculty will expand the clinical care, teaching and research functions of the OU OB Department, and will support OU-Tulsa’s commitment to quality care for high risk expectant mothers in the community.
“The Kaiser Foundation has supported the OU College of Medicine in Tulsa for many years,” said OU-Tulsa President Gerard Clancy, M.D. “We’ve also had a long partnership with Hillcrest Medical Center. Having them join together to support this program is very special.”
“There is a critical need in the Tulsa region for support in the area of perinatal care, and OU College of Medicine-Tulsa receives $2.4 million Contribution Hillcrest has prided itself in stepping up to fulfill that role,” said Earl Denning, President Hillcrest HealthCare System/Ardent Health Services, Oklahoma Division. “It is not only our mission, but also our ethical responsibility to continue providing vital care for these infants from pregnancy through birth and into adulthood.”
Through the Peggy V. Helmerich Women’s Health Center, HMC is the largest provider of obstetrical care to high-risk expectant mothers in the region. Last year more than 4,000 babies were delivered at HMC, and OU is the lead physician provider for these services. Additionally, more than 500 babies were treated in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
“The addition of faculty and residents will continue to allow us to meet the growing needs of our community,” said Clancy. “This funding is a significant first step to improve infant mortality rates in the Tulsa region.”
Infant mortality rates among minority populations in the north, east and west regions of Tulsa are reported Community Service of Greater Tulsa to be nearly twice the national rates. Lack of prenatal care, domestic violence and drug abuse are just some of the contributing factors.
“This initiative directly supports our foundation’s focus on early childhood as the birth of a healthy child begins with the health of the mother during pregnancy,” said Monica Basu of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. “Our hope is that this will not only provide access to care for the women in our community, but also instill a moral obligation into future generations of physicians.”
“OU has been fortunate to have such a strong relationship with Hillcrest, and the benefits of the invaluable experience our students receive have been tremendous,” said James Beeson, M.D., Ph. D., chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the OU College of Medicine, Tulsa. “We look forward to continuing this relationship while working to meet the needs of the Tulsa region.”