Gov. Stitt, OSDH Announce Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence, Move of Public Health Lab to Rural OK

Oklahoma has created a new Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence which will be located in Stillwater and work closely with Oklahoma State University.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health, in partnership with Governor Kevin Stitt and federal, state and private industry leadership, announced the establishment of the Center, the first center of its kind in the nation at the intersection of agriculture, animal and human medicine, food safety, public health testing and preparedness.

“Today is an exciting day for our state and nation as we establish the Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt. “This center is going to make Oklahoma a Top 10 state in health care innovation and research, as the work completed here will lead global efforts in pandemic preparedness and other public health issues.”

Located in Stillwater, the center will serve as the state’s frontline of defense against any future biosecurity-threatening diseases and will leverage Oklahoma’s unique rural and urban assets to benefit public health.

“Our integrated approach to public health, diagnostic capabilities and specimen collection will become the gold standard for detecting, responding to and monitoring global health pandemics through the OPCIE,” said Dr. Lance Frye, Oklahoma State Commissioner of Health. “We believe this unique approach positions Oklahoma as a national and global leader in pandemic preparedness and research.”

This center will administratively bring together a breadth of capabilities both locally and nationally, and will include partnering with Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and numerous other public and private partners.

“The center will become the national model for the adoption and implementation of a comprehensive approach to promoting and preserving public health,” said Elizabeth Pollard, Oklahoma Secretary of Science and Innovation. “The OPCIE is the perfect intersection of urban  and rural communities, agriculture, animal and human medicine and public and private partnerships.”

OPCIE’s creation is being announced as part of the state Public Health Lab’s move to Stillwater. Coupled with OSDH’s move to downtown Oklahoma City, the creation of the OPCIE and the move of the PHL to the heart of rural Oklahoma in Stillwater will give the state a leg up in both rural and urban medicine for generations to come.

“The OSDH administration is moving to a new facility, which does not include a location for the Public Health Lab,” said Kevin Corbett, Secretary of Health and Mental Health. “This move provides the state an opportunity to think differently about how we elevate science and innovation for both urban and rural Oklahoma on the national stage.”

He said the relocation of the Public Health Lab to Stillwater will put the heart of public health right in the middle of rural America.

Source: Gov. press release