We believe that Oklahoma State University is in a unique position to address the sexual health needs of communities within the state and rural America. The Sexual Health Research Lab at OSU is a collaborative group of scholars from across disciplines working to advance public health, sexual health, and sexuality-related health disparities in Oklahoma and abroad. We have a strong desire to maintain a focus on the extent to which sexual health concerns are understood within the context of social inequalities and health disparities, particularly those associated with disenfranchised communities in both urban and rural settings.
To do this, we actively engage community partners from across the state. Community-academic partnerships provide unique opportunities to bring community members and academic institutions together as more equitable partners to overcome complex societal barriers in an effort to improve health. Such partnerships allow for the adoption, tailoring, and development of innovative evidence-based programs or best practices of health care. Continued partnerships are an ideal method for providing community-level data to organizations seeking to secure additional funding to adopt/tailor evidence-based programs or best practices to advance the health of individuals residing in urban and rural areas.
Previous research conducted by faculty at Oklahoma State University demonstrates a continued need to evaluate existing frameworks for improving sexual health, mental health, and overall quality of life for underserved and under researched populations. Such research has provided robust economic evidence for public health and sexual health policy, providing up-to-date research on cost savings to be made locally, regionally, and nationally. Investment in public health and sexual health programs, in Oklahoma and abroad, is financially sound policy that could lead to decreased medical costs absorbed by governments, health insurers, and individuals in the future. Ultimately this informs agencies on how best to improve public health and sexual health services at the local level.