Oklahoma Medcial Research Foundation scientist Melissa Munroe, M.D., Ph.D.

New research from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation will help physicians better identify blood relatives of lupus patients at risk for developing the disease.
Lupus is caused by the immune system becoming unbalanced, leading to the development of autoantibodies and chronic inflammation that can damage the body’s tissues and organs. The disease predominantly strikes women and healthy relatives of lupus patients have an increased risk of developing the autoimmune disease compared to the general population.
In their recently published paper, OMRF scientists Judith James, M.D., Ph.D., and Melissa Munroe, M.D., Ph.D., evaluated previously unaffected relatives of lupus patients. Of the 409 lupus relatives who agreed to participate in the follow-up study, on average 6.5 years from their last evaluation for lupus, they found that 11 percent—45 people—had since developed lupus.
“We have been very curious about why some family members go on to become lupus patients themselves while others stay healthy,” said James. “We know that family members have some shared genetic risk, but we want to identify who is the most at-risk.”
James and Munroe found that higher levels of specific inflammatory proteins in the blood predicted which subjects would develop the disease. On the other hand, family members who did not develop lupus had higher-functioning regulatory mechanisms in place that may have been protective.
“Although many relatives transitioned into lupus patients, we had far more, 89 percent, who stayed healthy,” said Munroe. “This research focused on trying to find blood markers that identify people, even seven years beforehand, who are going to become lupus patients.”
Based on the results of this study, which were published in the scientific journal Arthritis & Rheumatology, James and Munroe recommend that physicians test the relatives of lupus patients for the specific inflammatory proteins in their blood. For those who display higher levels of the proteins, they suggest referring them to a rheumatologist for a consultation and possible enrollment in clinical trials focused on preventing disease onset.
James and Munroe will be partnering with other lupus researchers to launch one such prevention trial at OMRF. Known as SMILE, the clinical trial will seek to identify individuals found to be at high-risk for lupus and treat them with an anti-inflammatory medication. The goal of the upcoming prevention trial is to delay the onset of lupus, lessen the symptoms of the disease, or potentially prevent it altogether.
“This kind of work is really expansive and new,” said James. “It gives us hope that we can better identify early markers for the development of lupus, but maybe even more importantly, that we can learn from the immune systems of family members who don’t get sick. This might tell us how we could retrain the immune system to keep people healthy.”
A native of Pond Creek, Okla., James earned her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and joined OMRF’s scientific staff in 1994. A pioneer in the field of autoimmune disease prediction and holder of the Lou C. Kerr Chair in Biomedical Research at OMRF, her work has advanced scientists’ understanding of lupus and helped physicians delay disease onset in patients displaying early symptoms of lupus.
Munroe joined OMRF in 2010 from the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on developing and testing novel strategies for monitoring autoimmune diseases with the goal of mitigating or preventing further organ damage caused by these diseases.
Other OMRF staff members who contributed to this project were Joel Guthridge, Ph.D., Virginia Roberts, Tiny Powe, Tim Gross, Wade DeJager, Rebecka Bourn, Ph.D., and Angela Andersen, Ph.D.
The study was supported by the National Institute of Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases (grant numbers U01AI101934, R01AI024717, U19AI082714), the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (grants U54GM104938, P30GM103510), and the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (grants P30AR053483, RC1AR058554, and U34AR067392). All of these are parts of the National Institutes of Health.

Q. I am a health care provider and I am very concerned with all the pharmaceutical drugs being advertised on TV. I worry that people will believe everything they see and hear in the commercial and dump more money into this industry that is failing us in so many ways. These are some of my concerns.  —-  Rhonda

A. I don’t know how many readers have paid close attention to these frequently run drug commercials. It is crazy to think that drugs are being advertised on TV…..really?
It is highly unlikely that any of these drugs will make you sing, dance or ace a game of volleyball but you would never know it if you fell for the message in the commercial. Notice how the speaker enunciates very clearly until he gets to the side affects of the drug. Then suddenly he has a manic episode, his speech is pressured and barely audible. The last thing you think you heard is something about coma and possible death. But with those butterflies and beautiful surroundings who focuses on being in a coma.
So ok, you think one of these drugs might help you. You talk to your doctor, who also thinks this drug might help your symptoms and he writes a prescription. Now the scary part. You pull into the pharmacy parking lot with your prescription in hand. The pharmacy tech takes over while you wait. Your name is called and you are told you owe $475.00 after insurance has paid their part. Now you have symptoms related to finding out the pharmaceutical industry is raping you.
So what has happened? You watch a commercial for a new drug with people who are smiling big, some are singing, dancing, growing beautiful flowers and don’t forget the butterflies and maybe the ocean. These are happy people taking their new drug. Who wouldn’t want to smile big and grow beautiful flowers.
So now your hooked. Your doctor writes the prescription. The pharmacist tells you the price. You announce he can keep the drug because there is no way you can pay for it unless you stop eating.
Or another issue………Maybe your doctor gives you samples of the new drug and you find it does help your symptoms. But when you are told it will cost $475 after your samples are gone, what is the point.
I was personally given a prescription for a skin cream, with a coupon because the doctor told me it might be expensive. When I went to pick up the prescription the pharmacy tech had a strange look on his face when he told me the small tube of cream was $1042 after the coupon!!
Be cautious. Pay attention to the side affects listed for these drugs. If you can make behavioral or life changes, try that first. Your health and your money are at risk.

What inspires you about education? Kramer School of Nursing at Oklahoma City University

“I look at these students as the nurses of the future, and I want to make sure they take care of people right.” Diana Blackmon, chair of the BSN program

“What inspires me the most about teaching nursing is that we are able to allow others to meet their dreams of being a nurse.” Crystal Westmoreland, clinical instructor

“The opportunity to share and give back to students the knowledge that I have gleaned over 30 years of practice.” Cheryl Frutzhey, assistant professor of nursing

“Teaching future nurse practitioners how to be great nurse practitioners.” Gina Crawford, chair of advance practice programs

OU Medicine will host the 9th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, benefitting the Oklahoma Adaptive Sports Association (OKASA — formerly the Greater Oklahoma Disabled Sports Association), Thursday, April 27, at Oklahoma City University (OCU). Teams from OU Medicine administration, pediatrics, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology, pediatric surgery, OU Medical Center operating room and urology, and a team from 180 Medical will compete in 10-minute exhibition basketball games against young wheelchair athletes from OKASA. Additionally, an exhibition game between the 2A State Championship Christian Heritage Academy girl’s basketball team will play a round against the OKASA team. All participants in these games will compete in wheelchairs.
The event will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m., at OCU’s Freede Wellness Center, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave. The first of the 10-minute contests will begin at 5:45 p.m. There is no cost to watch the activities.
Fundraising activities including a silent auction, baked goods sale and more will be held. Funds raised from the event will help OKASA athletes purchase sports equipment and travel for national basketball tournaments.
For more information or for accommodations on the basis of disability, call (405) 271-6900.

Right: Carlos Diaz and Kanesha Tate were two of many winners at the 2016m Banquet.

The Metro Tech Foundation’s 8th Annual “Sowing the Seeds of Success” Banquet recognizes student achievement through scholarships awarded to students completing their career training at Metro Technology Centers. The event is scheduled for Wednesday April 26th, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club, Nichols Hills, Oklahoma. Express Employment Professionals is the presenting, platinum sponsor of the event this year. Express will have the opportunity to designate a Metro Tech Foundation Scholarship, along with a speaking opportunity at the event. Jennifer Anderson, VP Marketing & Communications said “Express Employment Professionals’ sponsorship of the Metro Tech Foundation supports our already mutually beneficial relationship. Metro Tech trains people and we put them to work. Express values our partnership with Oklahoma Career Tech educators and facilities and looks forward to putting Oklahomans to work. This is just one more way we can help support Oklahomans on their path to achieve a higher level of success.”
Debra Ponder-Nelson, executive director for the foundation said “We so graciously thank Express Employment Professionals for partnering with us and serving as our platinum sponsor this year, as well as all our community partners who sponsor and attend our event. The Annual Banquet serves as a fundraiser to assist students with emergency needs and help them remain focused and on track to complete their career training program by providing financial support when problems and obstacles get in the way. The Banquet also rewards students for academic achievement with scholarships, and is a special time to “thank” our sponsors for their giving, which allows the Foundation to continue its mission in serving students. It is through gifts, donations and volunteer work that the Metro Tech Foundation is able to help over 300 students annually.”
Metro Technology Centers is a career and technology center with four campuses serving businesses, adults and high school students. Metro Technology Centers locations include the Springlake Campus, South Bryant Campus, Aviation Career Campus and the Downtown Business Campus.
We look forward to celebrating our students with you! Event and table sponsorships are still available for purchase, as are individual seats to attend. For more information about sponsorships or purchasing seats to attend, visit; email or call 405.595.4415

The INTEGRIS Foundation raised a record-breaking $845,000 at the 2017 INTEGRIS Gala benefiting the newly renamed INTEGRIS Children’s at Baptist Medical Center on Friday, April 7, at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. More than 700 guests attended the 19th annual event.
The funding will launch the first ever Child Life Specialist program at INTEGRIS, designed to help pediatric and neonatal patients and their families understand their diagnoses and navigate through the emotional, psychological and financial challenges of being in the hospital.
Following the harrowing story of Olivia Koch, the smallest surviving baby to ever leave INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, the gala audience raised $255,000 toward the purchase of a state-of-the-art digital X-ray machine to be permanently placed inside the neonatal intensive care unit. This specialized device saves valuable time when seconds matter and emits 80 percent less radiation than typical machines; an extraordinary benefit for many NICU babies who require hundreds of X-rays during their hospitalization.
The Philanthropist of the Year was also announced at the event. The award celebrates transformational and visionary philanthropy within INTEGRIS. This year Steve and Barbara Young took home the honor. The Young’s personal legacy of giving continues the longstanding corporate commitment from the company that Steve’s maternal grandfather founded in 1909, OESCO, whose philanthropic partnership with INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center began in 1955.
The chairs of the 2017 gala were Drs. Julie Watson, Johnny Griggs and Bronwyn Woods. Griggs received the Founding Father award for his role in creating the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Baptist Medical Center in 1991.

What do you love about working at Bradford Village? Bradford Village, Edmond

“I love the residents and the team work.” Nidia Holguin, CNA

“We have an awesome team and I love working with the patient’s.” Tara Gaillard, CNA

That’s easy. It’s our residents. I enjoy working with our crew.” Nyoka Berry, LPN

“My residents and the team work. The staff.” Kendra Scott, CNA

I know that good marriages are possible if two people are committed to doing the work. But one variable that I did not count on was how much work was involved with blended families. My wife and I would like to share our story.

My name is Vernon and my wife is Christy. I was divorced with a 15 year old son, Robert and Christy was divorced with a 13 year old daughter, Victoria. We met on Mar 25, 2011. Both of our kids were good at first and they wanted to be friends with the other parent at the time (while we were dating).
Later Victoria and Robert didn’t want to mind Christy and I and the rebellion soon followed. Victoria ran away and decided to stay and live with her father due to the misbehaving and rebellion. At the time, Robert was living with me in Cushing, Oklahoma. I decided to move Robert and myself to Oklahoma City in Aug. 2013 to be closer to Christy.
We got engaged and then married in Nov 2013. Christy and Robert became good friends as stepson and stepmother. His senior year brought changes to their relationship with rebellion and telling Christy she was not his mother. He became oppositional and refused to follow our rules.
Robert left to live with his mother in California and that is where he is now.
Throughout this journey Christy and I realized that we had to be strong and committed to each other so that our relationship would not deteriorate as a result of the strife with our children. We feel we are each other’s soul mate and that is very important to us. We love our children and welcome them home as long as they can be respectful and appreciate what we are trying to do for them.
One of the things that helped us was to realize we did not have all the answers and sought counseling to assist with finding solutions. We tried to maintain interactive communication and not stuff our thoughts and feelings especially it we thought it might upset the other. That’s not to say that we did not have some arguments and disagreements, because we did.
Our four year anniversary will be this Nov. We have learned a lot about the struggles of blending families. This was a time of change for our children too and we hope they will both want to be an active part of our lives.
Vernon and Christy


Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

If you would like to send a question to Vicki, email us at

St. Anthony Hospital and Southwestern Medical Center are pleased to announce a formal affiliation agreement between the two organizations. The affiliation was finalized in a signing ceremony today in Lawton.
“SSM Health Care of Oklahoma and St. Anthony are pleased to partner with Southwestern Medical Center to develop a coordinated approach that will serve to enhance the high quality of care already provided by Southwestern, along with increasing access to specialty services,” stated Joe Hodges, President/CEO, SSM Health Care of Oklahoma.
The two organizations will work together increasing access to clinical services such as cardiology and neurosurgery, and will also focus on improving the quality and value of care provided in Lawton.
According to Southwestern Medical Center interim CEO Dan Jones, “We are very excited to launch this affiliation with St. Anthony Hospital. We believe that this affiliation will allow us to provide our patients with a continuum of care previously not available in Lawton. A strong quaternary care partner, like St. Anthony, affords our community timely access to a higher level of care when needed and provides a smooth return to care in our community when care is provided in Oklahoma City.”
SSM Health Care Oklahoma includes St. Anthony Hospital (Oklahoma City); Bone and Joint Hospital at St. Anthony (Oklahoma City); St. Anthony South (Oklahoma City) and St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital (Shawnee, Okla.). The SSM Oklahoma network also includes two St. Anthony Healthplex campuses, 17 affiliated hospitals, and St. Anthony Physicians Group with more than 200 physicians and providers.
Southwestern Medical Center, an affiliate of RCCH HealthCare Partners, is a 199-bed, full-service acute care hospital with a medical staff of more than 150, covering a wide range of medical specialties. SWMC has a 24-hour emergency department, 59-bed medical/surgical unit, and 8-bed intensive care unit. SWMC’s free-standing Southwestern Behavioral Health Center offers inpatient and outpatient services for children, adolescents, and adults.

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization committed to driving quality, safety, and transparency in the U.S. health care system, today released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide. St. Anthony Hospital, including Bone and Joint Hospital at St. Anthony, was one of 823 hospitals to receive an “A” for its commitment to reducing errors, infections, and accidents that can harm patients.
“At St. Anthony and Bone and Joint Hospital at St. Anthony, our top priority is patient safety. We are pleased to be recognized by The Leapfrog Group, as this is a true testament to our commitment to best safety practices. By utilizing these practices, we ensure our patients receive the best care possible,” said Tammy Powell, president of St. Anthony Hospital.
“Hospitals that earn top marks nationally in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, ‘have achieved the highest safety standards in the country,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “That takes commitment from every member of the hospital staff, who all deserve thanks and congratulations when their hospitals achieve an ‘A’ Safety Grade.”
Developed under the guidance of an Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 30 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.
To see St. Anthony Hospital’s full grade, and to access consumer-friendly patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit or follow the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade on Twitter or Facebook. Consumers can also download the free Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade mobile app for Apple and Android devices.