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Devyn Denton, RN, is running for a seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Turn on a TV or pick up a newspaper and you’ll see Oklahomans fed up with who’s representing them at the state capitol.
Thousands of educators from around the state marched on 2300 N. Lincoln recently to voice their displeasure of years of funding neglect.
Funding for most state agencies has been stripped bare.
Health care, including mental health services, for those who need it the most is often unavailable.
It all became too much for Devyn Denton, RN.
So instead of complaining the trauma nurse decided to do something about it, throwing her hat into the ring to represent House District 39 as a Democrat.
That seat is currently held by Rep. Ryan Martinez, a Republican who serves as the assistant majority whip.
Denton started her nursing career as a patient care tech at the age of 19. In 2010 she became a trauma nurse.
“I knew I wanted to do something that involved helping people and making a difference for my community,” she said.
Primaries are in June. Election day is November 6. But she’s got a lot of ground to cover.
Denton announced she would run last October on the state’s mental health save our services day.
“I think that everybody that needs mental health needs to be able to get it,” she said.
She is an active union member and a volunteer for veterans.
Denton grew up in rural Oklahoma, attended school in Tahlequah before pursuing her college degree at UCO. She grew up in a family of educators and military service members.
She now works as a nurse within the community and is the founder of a nonprofit serving those who serve our community.
Denton formed Operation Nurses Helping Nurses after witnessing the impact of a tornado in May 2013.
That organization has reached out numerous times during natural disasters in our state and man-made tragedies such as shootings in other states.
In the wake of the Orlando night club shooting in 2016, Denton’s organization created gift bags for the 210 Orlando Medical Center nurses and the 225 combined fire and police department responders.
Denton is dedicated to serving her community, both as a registered nurse and as a volunteer firefighter.
As an RN, she has seen first-hand how budget cuts affect the health and well-being of Oklahomans – from hospital closures in rural communities to Medicaid cuts that hurt our children and elderly.
As your representative, Denton says she will fight to protect Oklahoma’s most vulnerable and expand access to quality care throughout the state.
Increasing access to care is a primary focus. And that means expanding the role of nurse practitioners within their communities to increase access to health care in rural areas.
She knows that leadership must be able to foresee the future needs of a growing community like Edmond. Putting in place systems like public transit and statewide internet, not only serve to benefit the people of Oklahoma, but encourage economic development.
Her legislative focus will be to expand our state’s budget for transportation, water treatment, and focusing on Oklahoma’s rural communities that have been left behind.
As a mother of two she knows that equal access to quality education is Oklahoma’s key to prosperity.
She says she will fight to reverse years of cuts made to education from Pre-K to higher education and trade schools.
Her campaign believes that Oklahoma has abandoned our state educators.
Her goal is to equip teachers with the tools they need to nurture our children’s educational and emotional needs.
Denton comes from a long line of nurses and educators.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up but I knew that it had to help people,” she said.
She still remembers when her grandfather brought her to the polling station one day, hoisting her on his shoulders as he voted.
“He taught me how important it was,” Denton said.
She remembers when Jesse Jackson ran for president. Her mother worked in the campaign and Denton got to meet the leader when he came to the capitol.
So many advances, but so many setbacks for our state.
Denton embraces her entire heritage. She’s seeking to be the district’s first biracial female representative, drawing on her Choctaw heritage.
With a mother who worked for the Cherokee Nation and growing up on Cherokee soil, Denton didn’t understand until much later the importance of having Wilma Mankiller as her godmother.
Mankiller became the first woman to serve as chief of the Cherokee nation, leading for 10 years.
“I didn’t know the pieces of the puzzle until way later and I realized what an awesome human being she was and how magical and intense she was,” Denton said.
You can find out more about Denton online at devyndentonforhd39.com or on Facebook.
She’s currently seeking donations for her campaign.

Golden Oaks Village Assisted Living located in Stillwater, OK Seeking an RN to serve as the Director of Nursing.
· Three years’ experience working as an RN in assisted living or similar facility
· Achieve and maintain compliance for all OK. State Dept of Health regulations governing long term care facilities
· Complete working knowledge of all applicable laws and regulations
· Experience performing routine assessments
· Strong managerial skills
· Implement recommendations to improve all facets of the Nursing department
· Active Oklahoma RN license
· Willing to re-locate and/or live in the Stillwater area
Work in a positive team environment with leaders who value our staff and have the chance to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.
Golden Oaks Village offers competitive pay, insurance benefits, 401k and paid time off.
Apply on-line at www.companionhealth.net


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Nicki Cerne, El Reno Public Schools director of nursing, oversees the health of almost 2,900 students across the district and, administrators say, has significantly moved forward the care and services afforded those students - care that’s changed lives for the better.

by Traci Chapman – Writer/Photographer

Nicki Cerne is a nurse who not only wears a lot of hats, she has a lot of patients – nearly 2,900 of them.
Those patients are the students of El Reno Public Schools. As the western Canadian County school district’s director of nursing – and its sole nurse – Cerne cares for prekindergarten through high school seniors, dealing with everyday scrapes and medication questions, training staff in first aid and other health issues.
But, as with many other school nurses, there is much more to it than meets the eye – then, consider she is the single point of contact for more than 2,800 students, their families, teachers, administrators and personnel and the community overall and it’s a job many people might run from.
Not Cerne, El Reno Superintendent Craig McVay said.
“We are so incredibly lucky to have Nicki Cerne on our staff as the director of nursing,” McVay said. “Nicki has a passion for helping students and continues to amaze all of us with her level of expertise on best practices for pediatric nursing in all areas.”
Cerne’s varied experience was a plus as she began tackling the ERPS nursing director job.
After nursing school, she first worked at Select Specialty Hospital Medical/Surgical and ICU, as well as a more than three-year stint working hospice, where she started an OU Children’s Hospital pediatric hospice division, she said.
That experience – as well as about a year working PRN for Preferred Pediatrics – marked a change in both Cerne’s outlook and where she wanted to take her career. Mother to a 19-year-old and twin 17-year-old daughters, Cerne said she was increasingly pulled toward working with children.
That’s how she became a public health nurse for Canadian County Health Department. There, she was responsible for El Reno Public Schools, as part of a contract between the two entities; when budget cuts slashed the department’s school nurse program, McVay hired Cerne to take over the district position.
But, actual hands on nursing was only part of that position, Cerne said. Working directly for ERPS was very different from her contractual responsibilities, and the new nursing director jumped in with both feet, McVay said.
“Especially in the area of prevention…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched or heard her with kids and co-workers talking about ways to prevent the spread of all the nasty kinds of stuff that hangs around schools,” he said. “Nicki easily made the transition (to full-time ERPS director of nursing), and really it has been like she was one of our staff the whole time anyway.”
To Cerne that transition meant coming up to speed on a variety of issues, first concentrating on areas that could most adversely affect students. With hundreds of the almost 2,900 children and youth attending ERPS facing potentially life-threatening conditions like seizures, asthma, anaphylactic reactions and diabetes, Cerne created individual medical files for those dealing with those issues – one copy for her and the other for school site administrators and each teacher who oversaw that student.
“I wanted to make sure everyone had the most up-to-date and complete information possible about what a particular student might be dealing with and how to address it, should an emergency arise,” the nursing director said. “While I go to each school site and usually can be there very quickly, as can emergency personnel, a lot of times the first level of defense is going to be a teacher, principal or school secretary.”
Wrapping up that first-tier project, Cerne then turned to other items that could impact a student, developing a site-by-site list including any information pertinent to a child’s well-being. She manually entered that data into the district’s districtwide computer software, PowerSchool – a months’ long process – so it could be both easily accessed and updated as needed.
“We have all kinds of things, whether it’s a student recovering from cancer or someone with heart issues, ADHD, or a student might be in the hospital,” she said. “I had each student and their family fill out a form that helps make sure we’re completely up-to-date on anything they’re dealing with, from the routine to the most specialized situation.”
In a district where about 80 percent of its students qualify for free and reduced lunches and with a much higher than usual special needs population, Cerne’s care – and her attention to the minutest of details when it comes to not only the known conditions of her students, but also preventative medicine and screenings that could uncover hidden issues – is even more crucial.
And, it’s made a difference, administrators said.
Most recently, ERPS completed annual vision and hearing screenings for its kindergarten through second-grade students. One of those tests uncovered something startling for Cerne and for teachers and administrators at Rose Witcher Elementary School, when they discovered a second-grader there was totally deaf.
“No one knew this – not the parents, not his teachers, just no one,” Cerne said. “To me, that’s why what we do is so important – that is one kid who would have gotten lost in the system.”
Educators agreed. In fact, one district elementary teacher told Cerne just days after vision screenings were done on her class, seven students showed up wearing glasses.
“Think what that means for those students, who could have been marked as ‘problems’ because they couldn’t achieve what they’re capable of, simply because they couldn’t see properly,” Cerne said. “That’s one of the things that gives me so much satisfaction about what we’re doing here.”
Those types of results – and the fact many ERPS families struggle just to keep a roof over their children’s heads – led also to the “Smile, It’s Healthy” program, a partnership with a Fairway, Kansas, company that provides free dental care to students districtwide.
“They provide exams, cleanings, x-rays and fluoride treatments, coming out twice a year in the spring and fall, and they can come back after initial screenings to fill cavities – or they can refer the student to a local dentist,” Cerne said. “This can be so important for families who can’t afford expensive dental care, because SmileIH bills SoonerCare or provides free care to those who don’t have that or don’t have dental insurance.
“With dental issues having such a long-range impact on someone’s health, this is just invaluable to our students,” she said.
Up next for Cerne and her district are expanded efforts to address yet another rarely discussed medical challenge – students’ anxiety and mental health issues.
“We have several students who have – sometimes severe – PTSD, and others who deal with extreme anxiety and other issues that no one talks about,” Cerne said. “There are no programs to address this, and unless the behavior is so over the top that student can face it all alone.
“Some of these kids, what they have to deal with just to get to school, is overwhelming, so it’s imperative we have more education, more communication and more understanding so we can help them when it’s early, when they’re younger and it can really help them, not just through their school lives, but also beyond,” she said.
Cerne’s dedication has inspired others in the district to help each new program and effort the nursing director has taken on – from on-the-ground screenings and care to implementing district policy changes to make sure everything from immunizations to access to care are ensured for everyone, administrators said.
“She’s a real pediatric nursing professional and we are blessed she is serving our kids every day,” superintendent McVay said.
The work is a long way from her years growing years growing up in a Denver, Colorado, suburb and original arts and sciences degrees she earned – but, it’s something she would never give up now, Cerne said.
“I never saw myself working with kids, but I just love them, love how they see things and how smart they are – it always saddens me when people just think ‘they are kids and don’t know anything,’ because if you ever sit down with kids from five years to 18 and just have a conversation, you can learn so much,” she said. “Special need kids always have a special place in my heart, I think because of my dad who had CP, but we never treated him any different from anyone else.
“I would see people look at him because of the way he walked, and I would think, ‘you don’t even know him’ – and it made me work hard not to judge anyone by how they look or by what other people might think of them,” Cerne said. “Every one of these students, no matter what they face or how they might start out, have the potential to offer so much, and if I can make sure they have the chance to do that, it’s worth it every single time.”

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Redlands Community College School of Nursing senior Mikaela Meeks’ experience not only in her classes and clinicals, but also as Student Nursing Association president has given her experiences far beyond what she expected.

by Traci Chapman – staff writer/photographer

For Mikaela Meeks, her years at Redlands Community College’s School of Nursing have transcended classes and clinicals – the experience has given her real-world leadership experience, as she moves toward the working world.
“This has been so different than when I got my first (bachelors) degree,” Meeks said. “The entire experience has been one of encouragement, of a lot of growth and just learning more than I ever really expected.”
That knowledge has come not only because of her classwork, but also through her experiences with Redlands’ nursing administration and instructors, she said. In what Meeks called a “climate of caring and support,” those individuals pushed her to move beyond what she’d known before and strive for more and better than she’d ever accomplished, she said.
That led Meeks to her position as RCC’s Student Nursing Association President, she said.
“I learned about the association the first semester, and I’m very much a Type A kind of person,” Meeks said. “I helped put on a fundraiser, and through that and all that’s happened since then, its taught me how to be thrown into a situation and make it work.”
Meeks’ involvement with SNA – and her outlook surrounding school activities – has changed a lot since she worked toward her bachelor’s degree, she said. Then, she was working and had no time for school activities; the program also was quite different in that she felt rather lost in the crowd – something she’s never experienced as part of RCC’s nursing program.
“I love the professors – they build a relationship with you,” Meeks said. “For example, I had a medical problem last semester, and they all worked with me, they cared about me, not just my school work, and it was very personalized to my situation.”
Those professors, her classroom and clinical studies and her SNA role have given her a depth of experience she didn’t expect, Meeks said.
“It really has helped set me up time management and communicating, and it’s helped me become very determined about what I need and want to do to succeed,” she said.
While Meeks credits Redlands for much of that determination, those who have taught and guided her during her time in the school’s nursing program said that determination has always been there – from the start, Redlands nursing administrators saw a drive and dedication they admired, Dean Rose Marie Smith said, it was something that came naturally.
“It’s easy to be encouraged and excited about future nurses when you work with someone like Mikaela – I don’t know that she realizes just how good she already is, and how far she can go because she’s so open to learning and guidance,” Smith said.
“I’ve just always had a good work ethic, I’ve always known what I needed to do to get to the next level,” Meeks said.
That meant putting herself through school while pursuing a bachelor’s degree working as a bartender; after finishing with BA in science with a psychology major, Meeks was ready for that next level – nursing school. Redlands’ approach made choosing the eastern Canadian County community college an easy decision, she said.
“Redlands was revamping their program – they were like, ‘you’re the type of student we really want,’” Meeks said. “That really made me feel wanted, it felt good they wanted me here.”
That choice was made in August 2016; Meeks will graduate this May, and she’s never regretted, she said.
Wanting to work as a surgical nurse after that graduation, Meeks said her favorite courses at Redlands involved science.
“Complex was my favorite nursing class – I love the schedule of the program, the people, the instructors, and I love that it keeps me interested and on my toes,” Meeks said. “I enjoy learning things and looking back at how hard I worked to get where I am.
“The nursing program is definitely something that pushes you to work and something I am proud of completing,” she said.
SNA has made that process even better – and it has allowed Meeks to give of herself, not only to her fellow students, but to the community at large. An example was last November’s Winter Wonderland fundraiser, which not only helps fund the school’s pinning ceremony, but also included a toy and donation drive. “As we have been serving in our community, our nursing students have seen many needs and have a desire to help our neighbors,” Meeks said at that time. “While we appreciate the opportunity to raise funds to support the pinning ceremony that is so special to nursing graduates, we are pleased that our toy and donation drive will be able to benefit Helping Hands.”
That kind of outlook was a great part of Meeks’ success – and the success Smith and other Redlands administrators and faculty saw on the senior’s horizon.
“Nursing is always about giving, about heart, and Mikaela definitely has that in abundance,” the dean said. “I’m so proud of all she’s done and how she’s looking forward to the next thing – and we can’t wait to see what that is.”

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Be part of our 2018 National Nurses Week Special Edition.

For more than 19 years we have been publishing this keepsake edition with facilities and organizations from all over the state taking part.

If you were part of the 2017 issue, thank you. We can publish your same ad or redesign a new ad to accompany your new feature story for 2018.

This Special NNW edition will be distributed to almost 30,000 RNs, LPNs and other healthcare professionals in print, to our thousands of digital subscribers, website visitors and to our more than 10,000 facebook likes/subscribers (yes, we just hit 10,000!) https://www.facebook.com/oklahomas.nursingtimes/. By taking part, this edition will include your story (a special feature written by our writers and approved by you – or you can write your own story) along with your 1/4, 1/2 or full page appreciation ad.

This is an excellent passive way for recruiters to show they appreciate the nurses they employ and seek. Your ad will include your recruiting contact information (websites, email addresses or phone numbers) so the nurses can make contact with you.

Your story can cover recruitment opportunities, special education programs and discounts or specifically about a nurse or general story but we need to act fast.

Writers will need time to get the interview, put the story together and get it back to you for proofing and/or changes. Ads are a bit more simple and we can provide you with a free sample to get started – just tell us the size and what you want to say.

You can reply to me or Amanda to get started. It’s simple, we (or you) write the story and we (or you) design the ad.  Or, if you don’t want a story and only want your appreciation ad to appear we have special rates for that as well.  I’ve attached a link to a copy of last year’s NNW edition for your review and look forward to hearing from you.

I look forward to hearing from you.




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What brings you joy in your job? ComForCare Oklahoma City

Sharing my nursing knowledge with others.

Nancy Bell, RN

I’ve been doing this over 20 years but it’s caring for clients. I love it.

Mandy Sitzes, LPN, retired

The people in this office and my clients.

Stephanie Dhallwin, Admin Asst

I really enjoy working for ComForCare because we get to help seniors & others stay in their home. Tina Singleton, LPN

AllianceHealth Midwest
Small but BIG.
Small enough to care about you,
big enough to care for you!
We are welcoming experienced RN’s for all areas to apply!

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Recently St. Anthony Hospital employees volunteered at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
Packing food boxes at the volunteer center, Saints employees and various other volunteers worked together to provide 13,188 meals for those in need.
“At St. Anthony serving our community is not just our job, it’s our privilege. The food bank was a wonderful opportunity to serve in a different capacity, and we enjoyed every minute of it,” said Tammy Powell, President of St. Anthony Hospital. “We look forward to several more food bank volunteer dates this year,” she added.
Oklahoma consistently ranks among the hungriest states in the nation. To learn more about the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma or to sign up as a volunteer visit https://www.regionalfoodbank.org/learn-more.

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Q. I believe one of my female co-workers is in an abusive relationship. She frequently has bruises and the explanations don’t fit. I have tried to get close to the subject but she shuts me down every time. What can I do?

A. Domestic violence is, in many ways, a quiet epidemic. Though in plain sight, victims are often invisible, fearfully denying their situation and hiding behind the facade of a happy home. But the statistics reveal a shocking reality. Every nine seconds, a woman in America is assaulted or beaten. A mind-boggling one in three women (and one in four men) has been a victim of physical brutality by an intimate partner. That makes intimate partner violence “the single greatest cause of injury to women.”
Lilly was one of these women. Her husband of 24 years had been controlling and sexually violent for much of their marriage. Here is her story:
“Max would force me to have sex, tearing my clothes off if I didn’t respond quick enough. He told me all wives give their husbands sex when they want it, it was “my duty.” I never talked to other women about my situation to see if they too were forced to have sex. I was extremely private. But I was in a lot of emotional and physical pain.
My work was my salvation, even though it was often high stress, it was my refuge. One day my supervisor called me into her office. After a few minutes of tangential conversation she wanted to know what was wrong. She said my eyes revealed much sadness. I really liked her and felt comfortable to talk about work stuff but no way could I tell her what was happening at home.
While I was in her office my phone kept buzzing. I told her that I absolutely had to answer it because it was my husband and he would be angry if I didn’t answer. She asked if I was being abused and controlled by my husband. I told her absolutely not. No way.
A couple of weeks passed and she wanted to talk to me again. She strongly suggested that I call the company’s employee assistance program and talk to a therapist. I said I did not need to do that. She handed me the phone……..and I called, reluctantly.
I have been seeing a therapist for over one year and I have learned many things about domestic violence and how I really have been a victim. I have not left my husband. This has been a process. I keep hearing his words in my head, “If you leave me and I see you with someone else, I will kill you.”
I am getting stronger and putting a plan together with education from my counselor, talking to an attorney and my very supportive supervisor. I have also made a few female friendships. I have found my voice, but I am trying to use it wisely.

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 news@okcnursingtimes.com

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StoneGate Senior Living, an award-winning full-spectrum senior care and housing company, announces the addition of eight new properties in Oklahoma. The communities offer a range of supported services in all areas of retirement from independent living to assisted living, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and memory care. The eight established properties are newly contracted from Southwest Healthcare.
“We are excited to announce our involvement with the Southwest Healthcare properties,” says John Paul Taylor, COO of StoneGate Senior Living. “As an Oklahoma native, as is our CEO, we have known Denver McCormick for many years and have always appreciated the manner in which he and the Southwest team have cared for the senior population. We will strive to follow in his footsteps with our involvement in his properties and hope to continue the legacy and success.”
The properties include: • Garland Road Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Enid, OK • Highland Park Manor, Okmulgee, OK • Meadowlake Estates, Oklahoma City, OK • Noble Health Care Center, Noble, OK • Ranchwood Nursing Center, Yukon, OK • Tuscany Village Nursing Center, Oklahoma City, OK • Meadowlakes Retirement, Oklahoma City, OK • Victorian Estates, Yukon, OK
StoneGate now contracts with 13 total properties in the state; 11 skilled nursing facilities and two assisted living communities with more than 1,300 beds. The skilled nursing facilities accept Private Pay, Medicare, Managed Care and Medicaid and the assisted living communities accept Private Pay.
“It has been my honor and privilege to work with Southwest senior leadership, regional support, and facility leadership to assure a smooth transition into the StoneGate portfolio of properties,” says Brandon French, Divisional VP of Operations. StoneGate management says plans for the properties include making substantial investments in the physical plant and IT infrastructure. StoneGate also plans to continue to improve market presence through community outreach, strategic partnership, and marketing initiatives to promote and grow the StoneGate brand.

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Palliative Care Symposium on Symptom Management Sponsored by Oklahoma Chapter of HPNA

When: Friday, April 27, 2018 at 8:00am – 4:30pm.
Where: Norman Regional Hospital Education Center, 901 North Porter Avenue, Norman, OK 73071. Who Should Attend: Nurses, home health and long-term care providers, physicians, social workers, and other hospice and palliative care providers from acute, post-acute, home and chronic care settings. Topic: Numerous Speaker(s): Dr. Sarah Yoakam, MD, Dr. Sarah Minor, DO, Dr. Bryan Struck, MD, Dr. Peter Winn, MD Professor at OUHSC, Dr. Rachel Funk-Lawler, PhD, Becky Lowery, APRN, CNS, AOCN, Additional Information: The Oklahoma Chapter of the Hospice and Palliative Nurse’s Association is offering an interactive and interdisciplinary education forum for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Our aim is to increase healthcare provider awareness, knowledge and skills necessary to provide supportive and palliative care and symptom management throughout all phases of the palliative and hospice care trajectory. Please register at https://okhpna.nursingnetwork.com *free to Norman Regional Employees*.

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Knee Center for Strong Families Positive Aging Initiative Continuing Education Program in Social Work and Counseling


When: Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 8:30am CT – 4:30pm CT Where: NorthCare of Oklahoma City, 2617 General Pershing Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK 73107. CE Credits: This event offers 6.0 CE credits to attendees. CE accredited by Continuing Education Approved: LCSW, LSW, LSW-Adm. (6.5 hrs., including one hour of ethics) Home Care and Hospice Administrators (6.5 hrs., including one hour of ethics) LADC (6.5 hrs., including one hour of ethics) LPC and LMFT (6hrs., including one hour of ethics) LPNs, RNs (6.5 hrs., including one hour of ethics) Continuing Education Requested: Nursing Home Administrators and Certified Assistant Administrators (6 hrs.) RC/AL, Residential Care, and Adult Day Administrators (6 hrs.). Cost: $65.00 with CE credits $20.00 without CE credits Lunch will be provided. Topic: Full list provided here: https://okhpna.nursingnetwork.com/ PosAgeConfAgenda_2018 Speaker(s): Roberto E. Medina, MD Assistant Professor Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine Mark A Stratton, Pharm.D., BCGP, FASHP Professor Emeritus OU College of Pharmacy Jacqueline L. Millspaugh, M.Ed., LPC Clinical Support Manager Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Karen Orsi, BA Director Oklahoma Mental Health and Aging Coalition. Additional Information: For information and accommodations please contact Diane Freeman by phone (405)325-2822 or dkfreeman@ou.edu. Sponsored by OU Fran Ziegler and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing.