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Valerie McCartney, MS, RN, (right) is serving her community as a faith community nurse at Oklahoma City’s Skyline Urban Ministry. Also pictured Antrena Cox, operations assistant and Brian Stevens, food resource center manager.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Valerie McCartney, MS, RN, has traveled the world during her lifetime.
But all those years she’s never veered away from her true calling – taking care of others.
A pastor’s wife, a missionary, a midwife and eventually a nurse, McCartney’s calling has always been to help.
And as her nursing career begins to wind down you’ll still find her taking care of people as a faith community nurse at Skyline Urban Ministry in Oklahoma City.
“The nursing is really essential,” McCartney said between blood pressure checks. “It is an interface between the community and the health system and that’s one of the biggest problems in healthcare at the moment.”
McCartney tries to fill the healthcare part of that gap as Skyline Urban Ministry tries to do the rest.
Skyline Urban Ministry was established in 1969 and incorporated in 1974 as a mission outreach of the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Founder MacKenzie Thompson saw much of his city in poverty and decided to start an organization that could practically alleviate this harsh reality.
He and other members of his church, family, and neighborhood set out to create a relationship based mission that could help both the physical and societal needs of their clients. With an original emphasis on the Native American population, Skyline’s founders worked with tribal leaders, local church leaders, and social services to aid Native Americans and other poverty stricken groups in the community.
When Native Americans incorporated their own tribal social services, Skyline continued to serve those in need.
Continuing to operate in Oklahoma City, Skyline’s mission has always been to aid the urban population/working poor, children and senior citizens.
The focus is still on the original goals of the founders.
What started as a one-room food pantry has blossomed into a full service organization which provides food, clothing, eye exams, discounted glasses, school uniforms, and meals for senior citizens.
More than 40 years later, the Food Resource Center now serves more than 20,000 Oklahomans and more than 171,600 meals per year.
McCartney hails from England, where students begin narrowing in on their career fields early on.
She chose a technical school which offered accounting, typing and shorthand.
“I did that so I had something to fall back on,” she said. “My parents were in business so I knew those were useful skills if I couldn’t do anything else.”
At the age of 15 she decided she wanted to be a missionary. School teacher or nurse were her only options to pursue so she became a midwife and traveled with her husband, tending to the flocks at the numerous churches he would pastor.
McCartney decided it was time to start working again as her kids got older and more expensive.
She began working on the OB floor in Midwest City.
Then she moved to Oklahoma City’s south side.
Eventually she fell victim to a nursing downsize in the market and decided to retire at 64.
But something in her wasn’t ready to retire. That’s when she started volunteering as a faith community nurse and her nursing career blossomed.
“I knew at sometime I would be a parish nurse and I would be able to do my mission work,” she said.
Now she tends to those that might slip through the cracks.
“If you look at all the people then probably the biggest problem from the nursing point of view is access to healthcare but it’s also equally education about their chronic disease process,” she said. “They’re often so stressed in life the last thing they think about is themselves.”
“They know they’ve got a chronic disease but they’re not doing anything about it besides just hoping.”
McCartney sees her day-to-day priorities as increasing access to healthcare for the community, increasing health literacy and providing a continuity of care.
She gets her clients to sit down for a free blood pressure check.
But they get so much more.
“Education is really our cornerstone but you can’t educate unless you screen,” McCartney said.
Every Friday Skyline opens its doors to allow members of the community to come in and pick up an allotment of groceries.
A Prime Time senior program is also offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon for activities. McCartney pops in on them once a week for blood pressure screenings and glucose checks.
Her role is unique and one that is crucial.
“This is done in other states, not so much in Oklahoma, but they are talking about it,” McCartney said. “The faith community nurse is the interface between discharge and home care. Not all patients have home health.”
McCartney says she could use some help. She has openings for licensed nurses who could volunteer two hours a month, preferably on Wednesdays from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
For more information contact her at (405) 632-2644.

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Gary L. Loving, Ph.D., R.N. has been named interim dean of the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma.

Gary L. Loving, Ph.D., R.N., a leader in medicine with nearly 40 years of experience in nursing education, has been named interim dean of the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma. OU President David L. Boren made the announcement today at the September meeting of the OU Board of Regents.
“The university is very fortunate that Dr. Gary Loving will be leading the critically important Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing,” said Boren. “He will do an outstanding job.”
Loving fills the leadership position following the resignation of Lazelle Benefield, Ph.D., R.N., who will continue to serve the College of Nursing as dean emeritus, professor and Parry Chair in Gerontological Nursing, and director of the Donald W. Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence.
Loving previously served as the college’s senior associate dean, providing administrative oversight for the college’s 10 academic programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level, and serving as a member of the college’s executive leadership team. During his tenure at OU, he has served as an academic division director, assistant dean for educational excellence, assistant dean for distance education and instructional technology, and associate dean for academic programs. Additionally, he served as acting dean of the College of Nursing from September 2015 through February 2016.
Known as a pioneer in the use of technology-mediated nursing education, Loving in 1997 developed and taught master’s-level courses online – the first nursing education initiative in the state involving web-based nursing education. In addition, he served as a member of cross-disciplinary teams to develop the infrastructure for the delivery of web-based content throughout the OU Health Sciences Center. Due in large part to his leadership, the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing ranks as one of U.S. News & World Report’s best online graduate degree nursing programs as well as among the best nursing schools for master’s and doctor of nursing practice programs for 2017 and 2018.
Loving’s work has included federally funded program grants to develop technology-mediated advanced nursing educational programs, informatics teaching programs using open-source electronic health records and models for interprofessional teaching. He has advanced high-fidelity simulations for use in nursing education. For the past five years, he has served as a core member of OUHSC faculty from across all colleges to plan and implement interprofessional health sciences education.
In his academic administrative role, Loving has been a leader in developing academic/clinical relationships to expand innovative models of nursing education and training which include the OU Medical System, the Veterans Administration Nursing Academy, and numerous urban and rural clinical settings across Oklahoma. He also serves on the OUHSC Academic Strategic Planning and Research Strategic Planning committees.
Loving assumes leadership of the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at a time of great opportunity for an expanded partnership with OU Medical System, interprofessional training across OUHSC and solving critical health workforce needs across the state.
A recipient of numerous teaching awards, Loving received the OU Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching in 2009, and he received the Oklahoma Nurses Association Excellence in Nursing Education Award in 2014.
Loving earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University in 1975, a Master of Science in nursing from OU in 1979 and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin in 1991.

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Cindy Popejoy is celebrating her 18th year as a labor and delivery nurse. While her path has been unusual - she was caring for a patient on the second floor of Moore Medical Center when it was destroyed in the May 20, 2013 tornado - she would never do anything else.


by Traci Chapman – staff writer/photographer

The most difficult day of Cindy Popejoy’s professional life was also a positive, a day that ended with a new life and a new path.
It was May 20, 2013 – and what started as just a regular shift as a labor and delivery nurse at Moore Medical Center would change Popejoy’s life forever.
“Moore’s labor and delivery unit was an amazing facility,” Popejoy said. “We were able to build everything just the way we wanted it, we got to design just how we thought it would be the best for everyone.
“It was just a wonderful experience, for the patients and for those of us lucky enough to work there,” she said. “It was designed so mother and baby could be together throughout the entire experience – during labor and delivery, of course, but also post-partum, all the way through discharge.”
The unit was dedicated to making the few days mothers and their new babies were there the most special time possible, Popejoy said. Staff gave new mothers massages before they went home, and several patients came back to deliver their next child.
“It’s hard to describe the atmosphere and how special it was,” Popejoy said. “I thought I would retire from Moore.”
Then came May 20, 2013. That Monday started normally enough – Shayla Taylor, who has described her own perception of what happened several times – was at Moore Medical for the birth of her second child. Her husband Jerome and 4-year-old son, Shaiden, were right beside her.
“She was at 9 cm, and we gave her an epidural – the baby wasn’t doing great on the monitor, so when we got the first tornado warning, we decided we needed to keep her upstairs,” Popejoy said. “I’d been with her throughout the day, so I think that helped her comfort level when things started to escalate.”
Everyone else, including Jerome and Shaiden Taylor, were ushered downstairs to the facility’s cafeteria and emergency room when it became clear the tornado was not going to veer away. That left Popejoy, her manager and a scrub tech with the expectant mother in a second-floor operating room that had no windows.
As the tornado continued on its collision path with the hospital, Popejoy said she and her coworkers did what they could to protect Taylor. Placing pillows and blankets from the warmer all around and over her, the three healthcare workers locked arms over their patient and waited for the worst.
“It was an indescribable situation,” Popejoy said. “It seemed to go on forever, although it was probably just a few minutes – first, there were ceiling tiles and insulation falling all over the place, then the doors blew down and the wall collapsed.
“When it was over, we could look out and see the Imax (then Moore Warren) theater and Interstate 35 just standing there looking out of the room,” she said.
Popejoy had stopped the epidural and administered a shot to Taylor to attempt to slow her contractions as the tornado approached; in its aftermath, it became clear the new challenge was finding a path out of the operating room, so she could be transported to another hospital in time to give birth.
“It was weird, trying to find a way out and everything looked different,” Popejoy said. “There was a car blown through a window and just debris everywhere – then we started smelling gas and knew we needed to get out of there quickly.”
With no flat board at their disposal, Popejoy and her colleagues were relieved when one of the hospital’s pediatricians made his way to them, as well as EMSA personnel and staff from the nearby Harley Davidson dealership. The group made it out and to an ambulance, and Popejoy accompanied Taylor on her ride to Norman Regional Hospital.
“She gave birth to a beautiful little boy, who they named Braeden Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us,’” Popejoy said. “It seemed very appropriate.”
While the day ended on a happy note, with Taylor and her son – as well as everyone else in the hospital at the time the tornado struck – healthy and unharmed, Popejoy was faced with something she would have said the day before was unthinkable – the job she loved for eight years was gone.
“I really struggled with finding my place after the tornado,” she said. “Norman offered me a spot, of course, but it was just not what I was looking for, and I worked for a while at Deaconess, but it was nights and just wasn’t what I wanted either.”
It was through her daughter and a friend that Popejoy would find a place that called to her, much as Moore Medical had all those years ago, she said. An interview with Integris Baptist Hospital’s labor and delivery unit meant an immediate job offer – and a new path for the woman who spent her life taking care of mothers and their babies.
“I just immediately knew, I love it here and I can’t imagine going anywhere else,” Popejoy said. “We have a great team, and the concept is like what we had in Moore, where the moms and babies stay together, something I think is so important.”
Now in her 18th year as an RN, Popejoy is more committed than ever to the career she always knew she wanted, and that day in May 2013 not only ultimately gave her a new start – it also was the start of a deep friendship.
“I still have a relationship with her (Taylor) – she went to nursing school and works as an RN at St. Anthony’s,” Popejoy said. “Three boys were born during that day, including Immanuel – we call them the ‘Nado Boys’ and recently had a birthday party for them.
“It’s things like that, those deep relationships and the feeling you get when you know you’ve taken care of someone, no matter the circumstances – I just can’t imagine doing anything else,” she said.

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(L to R) Tammi Holden, RN, BSN, Cancer Treatment Centers of America Chief Nursing Office & VP of Oncology Patient Services, joins Daisy awardee, CTCA nurse Amy Susan, and Margaret Holt MS, RN, CTCA Director of Quality.

William Shakespeare wrote, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Each and every day, nurses all over Oklahoma give not only give of their time, compassion and professional skills in hospitals, clinics and home settings – they also make an impression on their patients’ lives. Exceptional nurses go above and beyond, really investing that “something extra” in each patient and patient family they come in contact with.
Amy Susan, a registered nurse in the Infusion Center at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Tulsa and resident of Owasso, Okla., is among this cadre of stellar nurses. And like many others, she found purpose in life at a young age.
“When I was nine years old, my grandma passed away from lung cancer,” said Susan. “We were extremely close. Before she passed, I used to give her what I called ‘medicine hugs.’ I knew from that point on that I wanted to be a nurse in oncology to help others battling cancer.”
Susan was recognized recently at CTCA with a DAISY Award. CTCA is a hospital-partner with the international DAISY Award program, which highlights and rewards one nurse per quarter for extraordinary, compassionate and skillful care demonstrated in their every day work.
According to team members, Susan’s gift and purpose shine through. “It’s true that when your heart is in it, it’s less of ‘work’ and more of a calling,” she added. She recommends to others, “Remember to never lose your joy or compassion.”

Village on the Park is HIRING FT/PT & DBL WEEKEND ACMA/CMA/ CNA to join our AMAZING Family.
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We’re like family – we care about not only the patients’ well-being, but also each other. Lynn Morrison

I can use my years of experience as a perinatal nurse to provide education to our Native American population of mothers and fathers. Lynne Arnold

OKCIC is very supportive and understanding and helps us with our personal growth – they make sure we know our work is meaningful. Patty Taylor

OKCIC allows me and also encourages me to make a difference in American Indian lives daily. Stephanie Harris

LPN – ON-CALL: 5:00pm-8:30am, Mon-Thurs
Apply in Person at 7705 S. Walker Ave, OKC, OK 73139 or call (405) 789-2913


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Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Robert Axtell, Ph.D.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation researcher Bob Axtell, Ph.D., has received a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to study a rare autoimmune disease called neuromyelitis optica (NMO).
The grant, awarded by the National Eye Institute, will provide Axtell with $2.8 million to study NMO and investigate its similarities to other autoimmune diseases, especially multiple sclerosis.
NMO, like all autoimmune diseases, occurs when the immune system attacks its own healthy tissues as if they were harmful invaders. In the case of NMO, the body primarily attacks the optic nerves and spinal cord, resulting in inflammation that can cause severe pain and vision loss.
In severe cases, NMO–also known as Devic’s disease—can invade regions of the brain or brain stem.
“NMO is so similar to multiple sclerosis in how it presents itself that it is often misdiagnosed as MS,” said Axtell. “This can be devastating to the patient, because MS therapies do not work for NMO and, in some cases, can make the disease worse.”
Axtell said this grant offers an opportunity to study the origins of the disease and, along with his expertise in MS, to better understand the condition in order to identify molecular targets for therapies.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, NMO affects roughly 4,000 Americans and it occurs 80 percent of the time in women. It also disproportionately impacts African-Americans.
Currently there are no approved therapies for the disease, and Axtell would like to play a role in changing that.
“I was elated when I got notice of the grant. When it sank in, I knew it was time to go do something important,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to make a difference for people struggling with this horrible disease, and we are motivated to be a part of the solution.”
The grant, 1 R01 EY027346-01, is funded through the NEI, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

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Q. Why is it that so many people can make good, well thought out decisions about their jobs, careers, choice of cars, where they vacation, etc but in matters of love they seem to have no working brain cells? Love seems to be the most difficult road to navigate. Why?

A. First of all, decisions about love are usually not made from a cognitive, well thought out plan. Love is about emotion, its a feeling. You may “tell” yourself, “I have made up my mind, I am breaking up with Larry,” but then Larry calls, says all the right things and you forget your previous plans. Your emotions are now rewriting your script.
The hardest battle to be fought is between what you KNOW and what you FEEL. How do you stay in your head long enough to make good, healthy decisions when it comes to love?
When you read the writing on the wall that tells you the relationship has many flaws; do you erase it and pretend it will be ok, do you read it and try to change the word “flaws” to something less toxic or do read it and realize you are losing more than you are gaining (you move from your emotions to your cognitive problem solver).
If more people in dysfunctional, toxic relationships could choose to be single and take some time for themselves then there would be an opportunity to learn more about choosing healthier people. If this “alone, down time” could be viewed as “self care time” then insight could be gained and different choices made. But being ALONE scares some people into staying, no matter how abusive.
People are wired to love and be loved. Love can be healthy, warm, nurturing and just makes you feel good. Having someone to communicate about the day, the world, what to have for dinner; to hold and feel the warmth of a hug, a kiss; to protect and support………now that’s healthy love. It really does exist.
I was talking to a friend who has been married for 25 years and she said the key to her marriage has been friendship. She and her husband developed a friendship before and continued throughout their marriage. They don’t just talk, they communicate. They both have a strong self worth, respect for each other and for themselves.
Before you feel love, think about it. What does love mean to you? If you don’t have a “deal breaker” or two, stay home. It’s dangerous to date and not know what you won’t accept. At least try to do some “cognitive brain cell work” before your emotions jump into high gear.

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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Prostate Pep Talk panelists (L to R) are: cancer survivor Richard Smith, Steve Largent, Dr. Michael Payne, CTCA medical director of radiation oncology, Ed Too Tall Jones, and CTCA CEO Jay Foley.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. Nearly one in seven men (and one in five African American men) will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. But if detected early, this is a disease that can have very effective treatment options. That is, if men will go get screened.
In an effort to increase awareness of the disease, the benefits of early screening, and to give guys the extra “nudge” they need to follow a good game plan for their health, the National Football League Alumni Association (NFLA), Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) and LabCorp are teaming up.
The Prostate Pep Talk Partnership
The three organizations launched the Prostate Pep Talk campaign across the country with patients, oncologists and NFL legends. The goal is two-fold: to educate men about prostate cancer stats, risks and symptoms as well as to increase access to screenings.
Through Oct. 15, up to 2,000 men, ages 40 and older, who meet eligibility requirements, may sign up to receive a free Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) screening at most LabCorp locations. After the first 2,000 spots are filled, qualifying men may still schedule a screening at the discounted price of $25 through mid-October.
Dr. Michael Payne shared why CTCA partnered in this important program during national Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, September 1-30. “The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates there will be 161,360 new prostate cancer diagnoses in 2017,” said Payne. “The ACS recommends that men who are considered high-risk get screened beginning at age 40. Risk factors for being at higher risk can include family history and race, with African-American men having a more than 20 percent higher likelihood of developing prostate cancer. The oncology community recommends the men at average risk should be screened starting at age 50. More men need to be aware and take action.” CTCA of Tulsa hosted a panel discussion on August 30 for patients, community business leaders, cancer support organization representatives, as well as legislative and chamber guests and featured a prostate cancer panel discussion. The informative session was followed by a “meet and greet” reception with former NFL players Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Steve Largent. The football greats shared stories of how their lives, and lives of players or coaches close to them, have been impacted by this specific type of cancer.
Life Lessons from Legends
The NFL Alumni Association is a nationwide group of former NFL players, coaches, staffers, cheerleaders, spouses and associate members whose mission is to serve, assist and inform former players and their families. The Association offers a variety of medical, financial and social programs to help members lead healthy, productive and connected lives. The partnership fit well in their mission and the retired football icons were more than happy to be in the Prostate Pep Talk lineup.
Former Seattle Seahawk Largent shared his memorable story of good friend, Oakland Raider Mike Haynes. “Mike had retired and was inducted into the Hall of Fame and got a job with the NFL out of New York City. While doing a promotion tour for prostate screening, he got screened himself. His test came back positive.”
“It was a shock,” said Largent. “Here was this guy with a similar career to mine and in his early 50s. He had prostate cancer. Cancer doesn’t care if you look healthy, are 6 foot 4 and weigh 250 pounds. It can impact anyone.”
Patients Given a Winning Chance
Norman resident and cancer survivor Richard Smith knows that first-hand. “I had no symptoms,” noted the Tulsa CTCA patient who shared his personal prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment journey alongside the NFL alums.
“I was at an age my doctor recommended the PSA test during a routine check-up. My numbers came back high,” explained Smith. “And I was inclined to do nothing more. But my doctor persisted in encouraging me to follow up further on the results. I finally did and those test revealed I had the cancer.”
The parting advice from all of the panel participants in Tulsa was this: be the champion of your own health. No excuses, fellas.
“We caught it early enough for me to be here to tell my story,” added Smith. “My advice: get the test. Listen to your doctor. Win at life.”
To sign up or learn more about eligibility, men can visit www.prostatepeptalk.com. Testing will be performed at most of LabCorp’s patient service center locations across the country. No case is typical. You should not expect to experience these results.

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September is Sepsis Awareness Month. Here are some facts from Sepsis Alliance, the nation’s leading sepsis advocacy organization, about sepsis in the U.S. and how simply knowing the signs can save a life.


You probably have never heard of it. In fact, only 55 percent of adults in the U.S. ever have. It’s sneaky and is the result of your body’s immune system turning on itself instead of fighting the cause – an infection. It can start from something as simple as a tiny cut. It doesn’t discriminate and can happen to anyone – young or old, healthy or ill. Every year, more than 258,000 people in the U.S. die from it, more than from prostate cancer, breast cancer, and AIDS combined. The most devastating part is that it’s treatable, especially when it’s caught early and treated properly. What is it? Sepsis.
“Sepsis is the overreaction of the body’s immune response to an infection. This can lead to organ damage and even death,” said John Hurst, St. Anthony Infectious Diseases Pharmacist and Director of Antibiotic Stewardship. “Anything from pneumonia to a UTI can progress to sepsis. The most common causes of sepsis are infections of the lungs, skin, abdomen and urine. It’s important to know that 80 percent of sepsis cases start outside of the hospital setting.”
So what symptoms should you look for? “When someone has an infection along with any combination of the following signs it could be sepsis: shortness of breath or rapid breathing, confusion or disorientation, fever or shivering, high heart rate, extreme pain, and/or pale clammy skin,” said Hurst.
The quicker sepsis is diagnosed and treated, the higher the chance of survival with no or minimal long-term after affects, such as amputations. “The best thing you can do is seek medical care. Sepsis is a medical emergency and every minute counts when we look at sepsis survival,” stated Hurst. “Call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately if you think you or someone you are caring for has sepsis. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor ‘Could this be sepsis?,’” he added. So you know what sepsis is and the symptoms, now what? Prevent infection in the first place by using good hygiene – wash your hands, properly care for open wounds, get vaccinations, and seek medical attention if you suspect sepsis. “Vaccinations are extremely important in the prevention of sepsis, especially the flu and pneumonia vaccines,” said Hurst. “Seeking medical care for infections before they get out of control can help prevent progression to sepsis. For patients with diabetes, skin and foot care can prevent infections from taking hold and putting you at risk for sepsis.”
Remember, every two minutes someone dies from sepsis – a treatable condition that can start from any kind of infection. So don’t hesitate if you suspect sepsis and get medical help as soon as you see the signs. You could save a life.

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The event will be held at the OU Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, 1100 N. Stonewall Ave, Room 138, Oklahoma City, OK 73117 Friday, September 29, 2017 from 8:00 am – 1:20 pm. Registration will be 7:30 am – 8:00 am. $50.00 per/person (complimentary to consortium employees) For more information contact: Patrice Brown patrice-brown@ouhsc.edu 405-271-1491, ext. 49206.