Oklahoma ranks among the worst in the country when it comes to children’s health, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
According to the Kids Count Databook, Oklahoma ranks 42nd in the country for overall child well being.
"What this really means functionally is that we are never going to catch up we are never unless we do something about our pediatrician workforce. I guess we become more collaborative, innovative, and creative," said Dr. Casey Hester, the Pediatric Residency Program Director at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy hosted a panel discussion focused on recruiting more pediatricians.
Another focus was reaching out to rural communities and finding students who have an interest in joining the medical field.
A lack of medical professionals in rural towns leads to people having to drive hundreds of miles for care.
"And if you have a pregnancy that is causing problems and you go into stress driving 100 miles before you deliver that baby... Not going to always work out so that impacts the health and safety of our patients and families," said Dr. Dwight T. Sublett, a doctor in Stillwater.
Sublett believes reaching out to organizations and community leaders can help get rural communities on the right track.
"We must develop it is not an option we must develop a coalition between all of our training programs, and we must develop an attractive environment that once we train these doctors to say ‘oh yea, I want to go to Cushing, I want to go to Durant I want to go out to Woodward,’ or wherever,” said Sublett.
To read more on the report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, click here.