Oklahoma Diabetes Center


The mission of the Oklahoma Diabetes Center is to promote (1) clinical and basic sciences research related to diabetes and its complications, (2) education of the public and professionals in all matters related to diabetes, including diabetes prevention, and (3) optimal diabetes care for the people of Oklahoma.

  1. Research: To promote and conduct cutting-edge clinical and basic science research, through peer-reviewed research protocols and clinical trials. Thereby, to contribute to the growth of diabetes research activity and the mentoring of young investigators at OUHSC (current funding for diabetes research in the Section of Endocrinology and Diabetes exceeds $2 million per year). To promote use of the NIH-funded OUHSC General Clinical Research Center.
  2. Education and Prevention: To educate individuals with diabetes, health professionals, health care systems, policy makers, and the general public about diabetes and its complications. To sustain educational programs at all professional levels in medicine, nursing, dietetics, pharmacy, podiatry, and other health-related disciplines. To extend educational activities throughout the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Health Sciences campuses, and beyond into the general community.
  3. Clinical Care: To lead by example, promoting, through a team approach, the highest standards of health care for people with diabetes and related conditions, including pre-diabetes and gestational diabetes.



Diabetes is a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, amputations, blindness, kidney failure, and fetal mortality. The National Cholesterol Education Panel recently defined diabetes as a "cardiovascular risk equivalent". This means that an apparently 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. People with diabetes are 3-6 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than those without, and in the presence of diabetes, heart attack victims suffer an exceptionally high immediate mortality: only 50% reach the hospital alive. Recent surveys have indicated that patients, their families, the general public, and health professionals of all types are inadequately aware of these issues. Standards of care for people with diabetes are changing quickly, as new knowledge about prevention of the disease and its complications, and new treatments, emerge. Improved medications, interventions, and new devices for insulin delivery and self-glucose monitoring are appearing rapidly, but necessitate more aggressive medical care.

In the state of Oklahoma, diabetes affects over 190,000 adults. It is conservatively estimated that a similar number of people have undiagnosed diabetes, and that 400,000 others have pre-diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes increases with advancing age and is higher in minority populations, including Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans who together constitute almost half the population of the state. The high prevalence of diabetes among older adults and minorities is well illustrated by the fact that 10,000 of the 40,000 veterans who attend the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center have a diagnosis of diabetes, and as many more have insulin resistance. Diabetes has increased to epidemic proportions in the state of Oklahoma and in the nation over the past decade. As is the case elsewhere, provision of care lags far behind established standards for most patients.

We have established the Oklahoma Diabetes Center on the OUHSC campus in Oklahoma City, and plan to extend this effort to the OU Tulsa campus and throughout the state. The Center has been accredited by the American Diabetes Association as a recognized center of excellence for diabetes education.

GOAL 1: Diabetes Research

We have established a nationally recognized center for diabetes research at OUHSC, with over 25 peer-reviewed grants brought to the Section of Endocrinology within the past three years. In addition, there are many investigators in a number of departments of OU Health Sciences Center (e.g. cell biology, ophthalmology, biochemistry, and nephrology) and in the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation whose work is relevant to diabetes. Our strategy has been to establish a core group of researchers in the Section of Endocrinology and Diabetes, and to amplify productivity by maximizing inter-departmental collaborations for both clinical and basic science.


GOALS 2 and 3: Education and Patient Care

The educational and clinical goals of the Oklahoma Diabetes Center are as follows:

  1. To provide a comprehensive program of education and management which adheres to the latest standards of care for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, using a team approach.
  2. To prevent the progression of eye, kidney, nerve, heart, brain, and leg vascular complications in patients with diabetes.
  3. To collaborate with related specialties, including pediatrics and obstetrics to reduce the impact of diabetes on future generations.
  4. To use this center as an educational tool for other diabetes health care providers throughout the state, and as resource for essential clinical research.
  5. To serve as a model program for the training of medical and graduate students, house staff, endocrine fellows, visiting physicians and other health professionals.
  6. To improve screening to detect undiagnosed diabetes, and to prevent diabetes before it develops.
  7. To promote knowledge and awareness about diabetes and its prevention in the general community.
  8. To influence public policy in matters related to diabetes and its prevention.