OKLAHOMA CITY – As part of Diabetes Awareness Month, Legislative Diabetes Caucus chair Sen. Carri Hicks announced that Diabetes Action Day will be held Nov. 16 on the Capitol north lawn.
“Oklahoma has the highest incidence of increased diabetes diagnoses in the country at nearly 227%. In comparison, Kentucky is the second highest at just over 158%. Both states far exceed the national average increase of 82%. Being this is also our state’s 7th leading cause of death, this is one of the top ten health concerns of our great state,” Hicks said. “It’s imperative that we help raise awareness of this treatable, and often preventable, disease for our citizens, and that those families dealing with diabetes join us in our fight to get major reforms to the governor’s desk this coming session.”
Hicks, who has a son with Type 1 diabetes and has been a strong advocate for numerous reforms to help those with the disease, will kick off the special event. A proclamation will be read from the governor’s office and guests will also hear about the challenges of living with diabetes in Oklahoma from state Representatives Merleyn Bell, D-Norman, and Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay. Dr. John Armitage with the Oklahoma Blood Institute will share findings from the organization’s three-month program providing free A1C testing for all blood donors, which ran August-October 2021. Other speakers will include Jeanean Yanish Jones with the Health Alliance for the Uninsured; Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan, on rebates reform; and Clayton McCook on having a child diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Finally, guests will hear from a representative of Stone Sisters Pizza, an Oklahoma business that has been nationally recognized for their healthy options, which help those with diabetes maintain a healthy range for their blood sugars.
Oklahomans are also asked to wear and display blue on Nov. 14, which is World Diabetes Day. Guthrie Green, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, First Oklahoma Bank in Jenks, and the fountain at Veteran’s Park in Broken Arrow will be turning blue for World Diabetes Day. The Skydance Bridge in Oklahoma City will also turn blue on Nov. 16. Hicks encourages Oklahomans to wear blue for diabetes awareness all month long.
Hicks mentioned one major legislative victory from the 2020 legislative session. On Nov. 1, House Bill 1019, which she co-authored, became law, capping the copay costs for insulin prescriptions—a medication that approximately half a million Oklahomans with diabetes rely on.
“The Legislature has made great strides to improve health outcomes in Oklahoma, and it’s time to take even further action to save and improve the lives of all those with diabetes. We have to better educate our citizens and provide better access to necessary healthcare and treatments,” Hicks said. “I want to encourage all Oklahomans to join us for Diabetes Action Day and let your voice be heard on this critical health issue.”
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Sen. Hicks: (405) 521-5543 or Carri.Hicks@oksenate.gov