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OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center Expanding to Tulsa to Serve Northeast Oklahoma

NEWS
From left to right are: G. Rainey Williams, Jr., Chair of the University Hospitals Authority and Trust and Chair of OU Health; Gary Raskob; Senior Vice President and Provost, OU Health Sciences Center, OU Regent Bob Ross; Mayor G.T. Bynum, City of Tulsa; University of Oklahoma President Joseph Harroz, Jr; Saige Maxville, OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center patient of Sand Springs, OK; Peggy and Charles Stephenson; OU Regent Rick Nagel; Dr. Richard Lofgren, President and CEO, OU Health; Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner; Dr. Robert Mannel, Director, OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center; Randy Dowell, CEO UHAT

OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center Expanding to Tulsa to Serve Northeast Oklahoma

April 24, 2024

TULSA, OKLA. – OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center today announced its expansion to the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, marking a significant milestone in providing access to research-driven cancer care to northeastern Oklahoma residents. As the state’s sole National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center, Stephenson Cancer Center's expansion will offer local patients unparalleled access to advanced cancer treatments and hundreds of innovative clinical trials for multiple cancers.

“This is a landmark day for OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center and the state of Oklahoma,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “As part of Oklahoma’s flagship academic health center, Stephenson Cancer Center’s mission is to reduce the burden of cancer across our state. This expansion brings local access to people in Tulsa and surrounding communities who can receive the best research-driven cancer care while staying close to their families and support systems. Statistics show that patients receiving care at NCI-designated cancer centers have up to 25% improved survival one year after diagnosis. That is the level of care we want to make accessible to all Oklahomans.”

Starting this summer, Stephenson Cancer Center providers will begin seeing patients and conducting clinical trials in Tulsa. Plans are also in motion to build a state-of-the-art facility at OU-Tulsa, extending the most advanced, research-driven cancer care and life-saving clinical trials exclusively offered at Stephenson Cancer Center to the people of northeastern Oklahoma.

Although the state’s cancer incidence overall is below the national average, Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation for cancer-related deaths with nearly 23,000 new cases diagnosed annually. The cancer mortality rates in northeast Oklahoma are some of the highest in the state, and over the next ten years, the forecasted need for outpatient cancer care is expected to increase by 13% in northeast Oklahoma. Many of these cancers are complex, rare or resistant to traditional therapies where clinical trials can provide life-saving care. Despite these statistics, people living in northeastern Oklahoma have the lowest participation rates in clinical trials at Stephenson Cancer Center, underscoring the need for the expanded access to comprehensive cancer care that the expansion to Tulsa will provide.

Robert Mannel, M.D., director of Stephenson Cancer Center, emphasized the importance of regional hubs in providing high-quality care and clinical trials to urban and rural populations. "Our goal is to eliminate the barriers to accessing top-tier cancer care," he said. "This commitment to Tulsa is crucial in our mission to serve all Oklahomans."

Stephenson Cancer Center's multidisciplinary approach to cancer care places patients at the forefront, offering a wide range of resources and support services. With about 300 active clinical trials and the state’s only Phase 1 Clinical Trials Program, the center is at the frontline of cancer research and treatment innovation.

“Healthcare shouldn’t be an ‘away game.’ We know care makes the greatest impact when you are able to remain in your community,” said OU Health President and CEO Richard P. Lofgren, M.D., MPH. "As the flagship academic health system, we have a responsibility to the citizens of our state to offer life-saving specialty and sub-specialty care. No Oklahoman should have to leave the state to get the care they need, and this expansion brings us closer to this goal."

The expansion of the Cancer Center to Tulsa is facilitated by a robust public-private partnership involving key stakeholders. It includes an initial $50 million appropriation by the legislature from the American Rescue Plan Act and the state General Revenue Fund to the University Hospitals Authority and Trust (UHAT).

“We are excited to be building this state-of-the-art facility in Tulsa in furtherance of UHAT’s mission to support the clinical, research and educational missions of OU Health and the University of Oklahoma,” said G. Rainey Williams, board chairman of UHAT and OU Health.

Moreover, substantial contributions from Peggy and Charles Stephenson, the Cherokee Nation and other anticipated gifts underscore the collaborative endeavor aimed at enhancing cancer care in northeastern Oklahoma.

The expansion to Tulsa continues a long-held goal for the Cancer Center’s namesakes, Peggy and Charles Stephenson. Their support led to the opening of Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City in 2011, and their ongoing dedication has paved the way for the same in Tulsa.

“Peggy and I are grateful to be a part of the effort to bring the best treatment and clinical trials to Tulsa,” Charles Stephenson said. “People are cared for in a very compassionate and professional way at Stephenson Cancer Center, and that is what we want to bring to northeastern Oklahoma.”

"I am proud to stand alongside OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center as they expand their services to Tulsa, bringing much-needed cancer care closer to our Cherokee citizens and all northeastern Oklahoma residents,” said Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Through this partnership and other health investments, we are making a generational stride in improving the health of our citizens."

Small group of people smiling.

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.

OU Health

OU Health is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system of hospitals, clinics and centers of excellence. The flagship academic healthcare system is the clinical partner of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, one of the most comprehensive academic and research campuses in the country. With 10,000 employees and more than 1,300 physicians and advanced practice providers, OU Health is home to Oklahoma’s largest doctor network with a complete range of specialty care. OU Health serves Oklahoma and the region with the state’s only dedicated children’s hospital, the only National Cancer Institute-designated OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center and Oklahoma’s flagship hospital, which serves as the state’s only Level 1 trauma center. Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health was named one of the Top 50 Children’s Hospital for Pediatric Cardiology & Heart Surgery and Pediatric Gastroenterology & GI Surgery by U.S. News & World Report in its most recent rankings. OU Health’s mission is to lead healthcare in patient care, education and research. To learn more, visit ouhealth.com.

University Hospitals Authority and Trust

The University Hospitals Authority (UHA) and University Hospitals Trust (UHT), collectively (UHAT), were created to operate the University Hospitals and their associated ambulatory clinics. Together, they support the patient care, research and educational missions of various entities such as the University of Oklahoma, OU Health, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Hearts for Hearing and the Oklahoma Dental Foundation.

OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences

OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center is Oklahoma’s only National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center. Stephenson Cancer Center is one of the nation’s elite centers, representing the top 2% of cancer centers in the country. It is the largest and most comprehensive oncology practice in the state, delivering patient-centered, multidisciplinary care for every type of cancer. As one of the nation’s leading research organizations, Stephenson Cancer Center uses the latest innovations to fight and eliminate cancer. For more information, visit stephensoncancercenter.org.


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