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Health and Wellness

Wellness, nutrition, and mental health needs are crucial to Oklahoma families.  Children, and especially children with disabilities are Oklahoma’s most vulnerable populations next to the elderly.  I will advocate for the well-being and mental health of all our citizens.  

Childhood obesity and diabetes rates are very concerning to me. Childhood obesity has tripled in the last ten years as a national epidemic.  Childhood obesity in Oklahoma in 2016 was 13.8 % for 2 to 4 year old Women Infants and Children (WIC) participants, 33.8 % children ages 10 to 17 years old based on body mass index (BMI), 17.3% for high school students.  In 2016, there was zero dollars allocated for obesity health reform.  Read more about Oklahoma's obesity crisis here.

 Diabetes rates for children are on a rise in Oklahoma.  Nationally, “132,000 children and adolescents younger than age 18 years old had diagnosed diabetes.”  Adult diagnosed diabetes costs an estimated $3.8 billion in Oklahoma each year” (ADA-Oklahoma).  These figures published by the Oklahoma Department of Health are staggering!

Parents, caregivers, and schools need access to current information and programs that support educational opportunities so they are informed about nutritional and physical needs of children to reduce Type 2 diabetes as adults. They also need access to community grocery stores so they have convenient access to fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole food options.  By championing and leading the investment in these programs, we will reduce health care expenditures and meet the needs of Oklahoman families.  I will be proactive instead of reactive.


Adequate resources and core services must be provided to address mental health and suicide prevention for all Oklahomans, from our students to our veterans.  The Oklahoma Department Health and Substance Abuse Services reports that our State has some of the highest rates of mental illness and substance use disorders in the country.  The agency notes that with between 700,000 and 950,000 adult Oklahomans need services.  Most do not receive the necessary care to fully recover.

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds in our country.  Every week in Oklahoma, about 2 young people (age 10 to 24) die by suicide.  Oklahoma's suicide rate among male and female veterans and military service members exceeds the national rate for the general population, with about 22 veterans dying daily by suicide.

Mental Health

 Oklahoma should be proactively preparing for the healthcare needs created by retiring Baby Boomers who live in our wonderful communities.

Oklahoma must ensure the healthcare infrastructure is in place to adequately serve aging citizens, including adequately staffed nursing homes.  Recently published data is quite shocking.  PBS recently reported that " numerous studies have found, [nursing] homes with lower staffing tended to have more health code violations — another crucial measure of quality."

A shortage of general practice physicians is facing the U.S and our state.  Nurse practitioners (NPs) are an logical solution to this shortage.  A NP is a registered nurse who is prepared, through advanced education and clinical training, to provide a wide range of preventative and health care services to individuals of all ages.  NPs complete graduate-level education preparation that leads to a master’s or doctoral degree.  

Senior Vaccination

I support allowing nurse practitioners (NPs) to practice at the full scope of their capabilities in Oklahoma.  The Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners reports that 21 states and DC offer NPs full practice authority. Oklahoma is one of 12 states that require a physician to supervise NPs.   Seventeen states have laws that fall between restricted practice and full practice authority for NPs.  Learn more about this solution.


The House District 47 economy has the potential to prosper as a Healthcare Hub.  Availability and access to high quality healthcare are important factors that relocating businesses would evaluate when considering their move to our district.  Families and retirees want to live in communities with access to the healthcare services they need.  Opening new clinics, diagnostic facilities, and surgical centers will create high paying jobs that foster additional economic benefits to our communities.  

Blood Pressure


Why Expand Medicaid in Oklahoma?  Medicaid expansion has the potential to lower the uninsured rate, provide gains in health coverage, and improve the physical health and quality of life for our citizens.

When Oklahomans have access to adequate health insurance, they are less likely to delay seeking healthcare services, don’t skip taking critical medications because of cost, and seek care from primary sources rather than expensive emergency room visits.

OK State Question 788, Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative.  On June 26, 2018, Oklahoma voters decided that our State will allow medical marijuana. 

I believe the ability of citizens to make decisions for themselves and to petition the government to make necessary changes.  The right to change and modify laws is a primary element of democracy.  The people of Oklahoma followed the legal process to get this issue on the ballot.  The people of Oklahoma decided to pass this legislation at the ballot box.

I support the right of Oklahomans to make medical decisions with their physician about the benefits of medicinal marijuana.  I am empathetic and deeply concerned for those living and suffering with medical hardships, especially the terminally ill.


Authorized and Paid for by Elect Sarah Carnes for House 2018
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