OKLAHOMA CITY — To the cheers of about two dozen college and university presidents in the state Capitol Blue Room on Wednesday afternoon (June 6), Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed three state laws providing millions of dollars in new resources for Oklahoma’s tax-financed colleges and universities.
Joining Fallin for the celebration were legislative leaders and Higher Education stalwarts, including David Boren, Burns Hargis and Glen Johnson.
One of the measures was House Bill 3058, co-sponsored by Speaker of the House Kris Steele of Shawnee and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman of Sapulpa. Senate Bill 1280, by Steele and state Sen. Mike Schulz of Altus, appropriated $3.08 million to find the efforts envisioned in H.B. 3058.
The measures create a new medical residency training program to be affiliated with the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
When the residency training program passed the House in April, Steele, a Shawnee Republican, said, “Oklahoma’s doctor shortage is a real problem for the insured and uninsured alike, particularly in rural areas. Improving hospital residency programs is a pragmatic, realistic step the state can take to boost the number of doctors treating patients in our state.”
The program, in conjunction with efforts at the University of Oklahoma, is expected to have a high impact around the state, not only in rural regions but also in underserved areas like north Tulsa, where OU is developing a specialty clinic named for the late Wayman Tisdale, an OU and NBA superstar who died of cancer.