Gov. Stitt thanks OMES for latest tech at newly relocated Public Health Lab
By Christa Bolain
OMES outfits new OSDH lab in Stillwater
After months of hard work the Office of Management and Enterprise Services is celebrating alongside the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which opened its new state laboratory in Stillwater Thursday morning, the Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence.
OSDH reports the OPCIE is the first public health and research center of its kind in the nation. The center’s mission is to develop testing tools, conduct cutting edge research and grow partnerships between public and private entities, bridging the gap between laboratory and clinical practices and improving public health responses by establishing an all-encompassing approach to research for rural, urban and tribal communities.
Interim Health Commissioner Col. Lance Frye, M.D. said this lab will lead the nation and serve Oklahomans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but also launch future bold initiatives to create better state services for generations to come.
“The need for critical and cutting-edge public health services has never been so clear,” he said. “This new facility will give us the ability to utilizes the best in rural and urban health in a state-of-the-art lab with the latest technology.”
Col. Frye said with this technology, health experts will be able to mitigate disease outbreaks and develop future vaccines before they spread. Aside from pandemics, Col. Frye also mentioned the lab is focused on newborn screening, which will allow medical staff to detect life-threatening conditions earlier in young patients.
Gov. J. Kevin Stitt said this lab is a combination of private and public health and will help the economy by attracting clinical and laboratory research talent. He said he is thankful for private partnerships and for the continued support of state agencies.
“OMES helped us outfit this lab with the latest technology,” he said. “I think you’re really going to be super impressed when you see it. We will put our lab up against anyone else in the country.”
Gov. Stitt said the lab will bring more jobs across the state and make Oklahoma more competitive for federal research dollars and grants. He said they already have interest from a number of groups to join the lab’s efforts.
“Change does not just happen,” Gov. Stitt said. “The future doesn’t just happen. It takes bold leadership.”
Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur said the lab’s unique focus creates a way for Oklahoma to defend against illnesses.
“This facility will focus on using a one-health approach,” she said, “which recognizes that the health of humans is closely tied to the health of animals and our environment. We can greatly improve our ability to respond to new disease and public health threats as they arise.”
Gov. Stitt said this project sets the state apart and better equips Oklahoma to respond to future health crises before they even happen.
“Today marks a new beginning for science and innovation in Oklahoma,” said Gov. Stitt said. “The OPCIE is an incredible investment in public health that puts Oklahoma on track to becoming a Top Ten state, a national and global leader in pandemic preparedness.”
View the full ribbon cutting ceremony below. For more information about the new lab, visit the OSDH website.