Joe Dorman

Recent Articles

Fighting Childhood Obesity is “Work Worth Doing”

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” -Theodore Roosevelt

I saw this post on a friend’s social media page. As Teddy is my favorite President, I was surprised that I had not seen this quote before. If you have read about him, this certainly describes his attitude and how he lived his life. Equally in the spirit of this quote are the people who also want to see better, even if on different paths. That is what makes policy work an unusual beast; almost all want to see better results and opportunities for the people served, but various philosophies, party registrations, backgrounds, and viewpoints create different daily dynamics. Continue Reading →

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Lawmakers Consider Ideas to Improve Children’s Lives

This week, I want to write about some of the great ideas for children being considered by Oklahoma’s representatives and senators. The job of a lawmaker is often tough; fortunately, there are many advocates and activists who are experts in their respective fields who provide input and ideas. It is the job of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) to offer data-driven suggestions on policy to help lawmakers make good decisions on the best path for state government to help children. OICA is watching 200 bills with potential impacts on children still alive for the 2021 session. Senate Bill 339 by Sens. Continue Reading →

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A Blizzard of Mental Health Needs

This cold snap is raising awareness of homelessness in Oklahoma – especially in northeast Oklahoma where a man froze to death overnight last week. Officials and volunteers have been working around the clock to help those in need, sometimes coming into a debate about the best way to assist.  Please do what you can to support the programs providing aid to the homeless as we continue to face this weather, and also those battling the pandemic facing the world. Much of our homelessness crisis stems from the crisis in mental health, which affects people of all ages.  Nearly 60% of Oklahomans in need of mental health treatment last year did not receive help, according to Mental Health America. A large part of this comes from a lack of support for state programs.

This is not just an Oklahoma problem. Trust for America’s Health, a non-partisan public health policy, research and advocacy organization, released a report last year called “The Impact of Chronic Underfunding on America’s Public Health System” with information that will likely shock the general public, though it is all too well known in advocacy circles.  They detail that the United States spends an estimated $3.6 trillion annually on health, with less than 3 percent of that spending directed toward public health and prevention. Continue Reading →

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What You Need to Know about Getting the COVID Vaccination

Happy New Year, Oklahoma! There is light up ahead, at the end of this very long tunnel we have been traveling since last March. The first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations began last month with distribution to health care workers, long-term care residents, EMTs and paramedics, and public health staff. The estimated 150,000 Oklahomans in these categories are receiving their first of two doses with an expectation that Phase 1 will be complete this month. Then, Phase 2 can begin, which includes first responders (paid and unpaid including fire departments, law enforcement, emergency managers, homeland security, and medical examiners). Continue Reading →

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COVID Worsening – It’s Time to Do More to Protect Children

Over the weekend, Oklahoma hit a horrible mark with a record new cases of COVID-19. Oklahoma had 4,741 new cases, almost doubling the previous record high. Combine that with more students returning to in-school learning and we have the potential for a human catastrophe greater than what we already have endured. There are few Oklahomans who have not been impacted in some way by COVID-19. One of my good friends died from COVID-19 last week. Continue Reading →

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Getting Older, Seeing Needs, Working to Meet the Challenge

Part of life is growing older, and I have the distinct pleasure of hitting the half-century mark this week. If you would have asked me in my younger days if I would have lived the life that I have, I doubt that I could have imagined where I would be. With the challenges I faced and experiences that helped shape me, I am grateful to have had an opportunity to help make Oklahoma be a better place to live. “Making things better” should be a goal for all of us – it is the rent we pay to be alive. My latest endeavor is to lead the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA). Continue Reading →

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OICA Continues “Kid Governor,” Calendar Art Programs

OKChildren

One of the most fulfilling parts of our job at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is to engage with our state’s young people and allow them to display their talents.  The “Kid Governor” program certainly provides that opportunity. Oklahoma has, over the past two years, has had Luke Peterson serve as Oklahoma’s Kid Governor, a powerful advocate for helping to raise awareness of children’s issues across the state. Luke was such a strong voice that he was selected to be the first two-term Kid Governor by OICA and Sunbeam Family Services. It is time for him to “pass the torch” to the next Kid Governor, and we at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy are honored to coordinate that process. For the past several years, we have partnered with Sunbeam Family Services for this program that they created, but they have passed that torch to us to lead the selection effort going forward. Continue Reading →

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Don’t Forget to Vote in the Primary Runoff Tuesday

OKChildren

Oklahoma Has Strong System of Voting Convenience and Security

For those of you who are registered voters, please do not forget that Tuesday, August 25, is the Primary Runoff Election Day. In total, 50 of our 77 counties will have polls open for voters for at least one race. In 18 Oklahoma counties, there will be a federal or state runoff on the ballot. If you have a question regarding if you have a race in which to vote this election, you can go to https://www.ok.gov/elections/ to check and to get other information about elections. On OICA’s website at oica.org, we have published candidate surveys returned by individuals seeking your votes across the state. Continue Reading →

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Child Advocacy Group Announces People’s Choice Awards

Awards Part of Group’s First-of-its-Kind “Virtual Ball”

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) recently conducted its annual awards and fundraising ball, despite the limitations caused by COVID-19. OICA holds the annual Heroes Ball each summer to recognize those Oklahomans who have worked to improve the quality of life for the state’s youngest residents and to raise money for OICA’s ongoing mission of child advocacy. This year’s Heroes Ball was unique in that it was the first attempt by a nonprofit organization in the nation to conduct a virtual event of this size with meal delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, according to OICA CEO Joe Dorman, exceeded all expectations; other nonprofits who are struggling to find ways to maintain operations in the new COVID-19 normal are considering the model as a means to continue their annual events.             “Our sponsors, donors, ticket purchasers, staff, and volunteers stepped up,” Dorman said. Continue Reading →

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Maintaining Civility Important in Difficult Times

Conversations About Tough Topics Vital for Children

On Monday (Aug. 10), the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy held our weekly Child Advocacy Chat. This weekly teleconference on the Zoom platform allows leaders from various nonprofit and state organizations involved in youth issues to learn from each other. This week, several faith-based leaders joined the call to discuss how the pandemic has impacted their services, the actions of their houses of worship, and how it has affected children who participate. As I planned the discussion, I thought about the old adage about the taboo things which should not be discussed at the dinner table: “religion, politics, and sex.” With our modern times, it feels like that last topic has been replaced by another “s” word: science. Continue Reading →

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