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Board of Directors Approve FY14 Budget, Finalize Funding Agreements for Grants Across State

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 9, 2013) -- The Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) at its quarterly meeting on Thursday approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2014 and finalized funding agreements with 58 grant-supported programs across the state.

The board approved a $40 million budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“Our board continues to invest in prevention and evidence-based programs,” said Casey Killblane, chair of the TSET Board of Directors. “These are solid investments in programs that help our communities be healthier places and help the people of Oklahoma have healthier, more productive lives.”

Last year, the TSET Board of Directors approved a reserve policy that limits expenditures to no more than 5 percent of the endowment trust balance and requires the board to accumulate two years worth of expenses by holding back up to 10 percent of the certified earnings until the level is reached.

The FY14 budget includes $8.8 million for research that focuses on the prevention and treatment of cancer. The budget also includes over $10 million for community-based work in tobacco control and physical activity and nutrition, and $1 million to measure the impact of TSET’s programs. 

“TSET has long been a partner in the fight to improve Oklahoma’s health and lessen the toll of cancer and other lifestyle related disease such as cardiovascular disease,” said Tracey Strader, TSET executive director. “The board has wisely chosen to continue to fund programs that work to decrease preventable disease and help improve the health of future generations of Oklahomans.”

TSET was created by voters in 2000. TSET funds the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, Tobacco Stops With Me, tobacco prevention and cessation programs in 50 counties and one tribal nation, and physical activity and nutrition grants in 21 counties.

Earnings from the endowment fund also support groundbreaking research at the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research, the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Research Center and the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center.

Cessation Systems Initiative grants work within health systems to infuse clinical best practices to address tobacco use as part of routine health care. Grants in this area also work with hospitals, Medicaid recipients and those with behavioral health disorders to promote cessation.

Through its unsolicited proposal process, TSET funds a variety of programs, including a grant to the Physicians Manpower Training Commission that helps doctors repay their student loans if they practice in a rural, underserved area.

Payments from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement are invested in the state’s endowment trust fund. Earnings from the endowment fund’s investments are used to fund evidence-based and innovative programs across the state.

A bi-partisan seven member board oversees the operations and program funding at TSET. Board members represent the state’s five congressional districts and appointees must have expertise in health care or programs that benefit children or senior adults. Members serve seven-year terms. Board members are appointed by the Governor, the Attorney General, the State Treasurer, the State Auditor and Inspector, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Senate President Pro Tempore and the Speaker of the House.

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working toward shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health. For more information visit www.tset.ok.gov.