OKLAHOMA CITY – For the first time since 2019, OU Health Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences, will present its Connect + Cure Gala on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The biennial event was put on hold in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Diabetes is an epidemic in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 34 million Americans have diabetes and face its devastating consequences. In Oklahoma, approximately 373,824 people -- 12.4% of the adult population -- have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and an estimated 1 in 3 Oklahomans have pre-diabetes. greatly increasing their health risk.
Harold Hamm Diabetes Center is one of the few places worldwide that leads diabetes research, treatment and prevention. Thanks to the center’s efforts, both pediatric and adult patients are gaining access to new treatments, drug therapies and clinical trials. In the labs, researchers are making discoveries leading to better understanding of how to predict and prevent future diagnoses of diabetes related diseases. Harold Hamm Diabetes Center’s mission for the gala is to inform attendees of the advances that are being made right here in Oklahoma.
“The gala gives us the opportunity to celebrate the ongoing progress being made in finding a cure for diabetes,” said Harold Hamm, lifetime Harold Hamm Diabetes Center Board member. “But there is much work we still have to do. The money raised through this event will make a significant impact on diabetes research, getting us that much closer to finding a cure and saving lives.”
The event will also honor Sir Stephen O’Rahilly, M.D., FRS, FMedSci, winner of the 2023 Harold Hamm International Prize for Biomedical Research in Diabetes. Awarded biennially in the amount of $250,000, the prize recognizes innovation in the field of diabetes research with an emphasis on progress toward a cure.
O’Rahilly is a professor and the head of the Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine department at the University of Cambridge. He co-directs the university’s Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, one of the world’s largest institutes for metabolic research. He was selected as the 2023 Hamm Prize laureate for his research that linked a specific gene and the mechanisms leading to the development of obesity. Obesity is considered the biggest risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and O’Rahilly’s rigorous clinical research defined very specific molecular mechanisms and genes that are responsible for the condition of obesity.
Harold Hamm Diabetes Center is committed to curing diabetes and ending the diabetes pandemic in the 21st century. It is among the world’s largest and most comprehensive institutions of its kind, integrating top-flight academic research with clinical care and disease prevention for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It has facilities in Oklahoma City and Tulsa as well as affiliated sites across the state, including partnerships with Native American communities. An innovative range of services includes support groups, cooking classes, lifestyle intervention programs and a summer camp for children and teens.
“We are so pleased to be able to bring this amazing event back this year and bring together like-minded Oklahomans who are anxious for a cure to this deadly disease,” said Jed Friedman, Ph.D., director of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center and associate vice provost for diabetes programs at OU. “Our state's diabetes statistics are a stark reminder that we need urgent intervention.” Funds raised from the Connect + Cure Gala will help us meet the goals of bringing talent, technology and teams to Oklahoma and help secure the future of in its efforts to prevent, treat and find the cure for diabetes.”
Vince Gill and Amy Grant will be performing a special holiday concert at the gala.
Sponsorship opportunities are still available by contacting Kerry Morris at (405) 271-2824 or Kerry-Morris@ouhsc.edu. A limited number of tickets will be available starting Nov. 3. For more information on the event, go to connectandcure.org.
About OU Health Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences
OU Health Harold Hamm Diabetes Center is committed to curing diabetes and ending the diabetes pandemic in the 21st century. It is among the world’s largest and most comprehensive institutions of its kind, integrating top-flight academic research with clinical care and disease prevention. The center oversees the world’s top research prize in the diabetes field. It has facilities in Oklahoma City and Tulsa as well as affiliated sites across the state, including partnerships with Native American communities. An innovative range of services includes support groups, cooking classes, lifestyle-intervention programs, and a summer camp for children and teens. For more information, visit hammdiabetescenter.org.
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit ou.edu.