FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OKLAHOMA CITY – Harold and Sue Ann Hamm today announced a $20 million gift, launching a $100 million campaign for the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. “This is the largest single gift in the history of the Health Sciences Center,” said University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren. “Added to their previous support, Harold and Sue Ann Hamm have provided more than $30 million to help us create an internationally top-ranked, university-based center for diabetes research and clinical care.”
The five-year, $100 million campaign seeks to raise funds to support research aimed at finding a cure for the disease, which afflicts an estimated 600,000 Oklahomans.
“Diabetes is a pervasive disease that has had a devastating impact on young and old Oklahomans alike, especially among our Native American and other minority communities,” Boren said. “We estimate that diabetes accounts for $3 billion a year in health care costs, just in our state.
“The Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center is on a mission to find a cure,” he said. “While we work toward that goal, we are educating people about the challenges of living with diabetes, teaching them how to prevent the development of diabetes and its complications and providing the best possible diabetes care.
“The university and hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans who suffer from diabetes are deeply grateful for the incredible generosity and personal commitment of Harold and Sue Ann. I am especially grateful for the time, energy and personal leadership that Harold continues to provide to the work of the center.”
The center also announced the establishment of a 33-member board of advisors that includes many of the most influential leaders from across Oklahoma, including Gov. Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation, Chief Greg Pyle of the Choctaw Nation, Chief John Red Eagle of the Osage Nation and Chief Chad Smith of the Cherokee Nation.
In addition, the board includes Head Coach Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State University, Head Coach Bob Stoops of the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.
“This is an exceptional group of Oklahoma leaders who can help us bring to bear the resources and vision to find a cure for diabetes,” said Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, Inc. (NYSE: CLR).
“The American Diabetes Association estimates that almost 26 million children and adults – 8.3 percent of the U.S. population – have diabetes,” Hamm said. “Last year, 1.9 million new adult cases were diagnosed. The consequences severely affect families all across our nation. It’s time to find a cure, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is leading the way.”
Diabetes, particularly Type 2 (or acquired) diabetes, is a growing problem across the United States, and Oklahoma is among the most impacted states. Approximately 200,000 Oklahoma residents have been diagnosed with diabetes, while 400,000 more are estimated to have pre-diabetes or to be significantly at risk for developing diabetes.
Diabetes increases the risks of heart attack, stroke and amputation and can also lead to complications including kidney damage, kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage. The National Cholesterol Education Panel recently defined diabetes as a “cardiovascular risk equivalent,” which means that an otherwise healthy person with diabetes is at the same risk for a future heart attack as a non-diabetic person who has already had a heart attack.
The prevalence of diabetes increases with age and is higher in minority populations, including Native Americans, African Americans and Hispanic Americans. The high prevalence of diabetes among older adults and minorities is well illustrated by the fact that one quarter of the 40,000 military veterans who attend the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 10,000 have insulin resistance.
The Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center is coordinating three programs aimed at diabetes research and treatment: the Adult and Pediatric Programs both based at the Oklahoma University Health Centers in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa Program based at the Schusterman Center at the University of Oklahoma at Tulsa.