News Release

September 26, 2012

OHCA Contacts: Jo Kilgore - (405) 522-7474, Carter Kimble - (405) 522-7510

OHCA Brings A Geneticist On Board

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is proud to announce and welcome Alison Martinez, Ph.D., in the role as geneticist for the agency.

For more than a year, Martinez has served the OHCA as a Clinical Data Analyst in the Reporting and Statistics unit. Effective October 1, she will become OHCA’s first geneticist and will reside in the Medical Professional Services unit.

Prior to joining OHCA, Martinez received her undergraduate degree in microbiology from Pennsylvania State University - followed by a doctorate degree in genetics from the University of Chicago.

OHCA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sylvia Lopez said Martinez has been an asset to the agency since she began – by providing extraordinary work – and said she looks forward to seeing the quality of work and expertise Martinez will bring, serving OHCA as the in-house expert on all issues related to genetics.

“Genetics is an exploding field in the world of medicine. There are a multitude of new genetic tests under development that may or may not have an impact on a patient’s condition,” said Lopez.  “This is where Dr. Martinez will be such a valuable resource, in establishing guidelines for the utilization of new genetic testing and critical, objective analysis of new therapies and treatments.”

Lopez added, “it’s been challenging for OHCA because not only are genetic companies marketing to doctors but also to consumers (patients) who may start requesting genetic testing by their doctors. OHCA wanted to utilize in-house expertise to critically look at the scientific data and see if these tests/procedures will influence patient outcomes, and we know Dr. Martinez will do just that.”

“Genetic technologies have already made a significant impact on the way we understand, diagnose, and treat disease, and we fully expect genetics to play a growing role in shaping the health care landscape going forward,” said Martinez. “I am looking forward to helping the Oklahoma Health Care Authority evaluate the latest developments in the field of genetics and ensure that our members can benefit from clinically useful technologies.”