The first Champions of Health awards took in 2004 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The evening featured Alex Cameron of KWTV and LeAnne Taylor of KOTV as emcees and Olympic gymnasts Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci as keynote speakers.
Dr. Gordon H. Deckert, Norman
State Board of Health member Dr. Gordon H. Deckert has been chosen as the Champion of Oklahoma Health, the highest recognition in the Champions of Health Awards. Deckert was chosen for his visible, sustained leadership on state public health issues. He led the effort to create the Oklahoma State Department of Health's State of the State's Health Report, an annual health report card for the state. Produced since 1996, the report collects statistics and other data about state health concerns, ranging from tobacco usage to obesity. Deckert is a David Ross Boyd Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Oklahoma, is the author of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and retired from clinical private practice.
Bedlam Community Health Project , Tulsa
Initiated in August 2003, the Bedlam Clinic's purpose is to provide access to primary and specialty health care, free of charge, to indigent and uninsured individuals. Through an innovative campus and community partnership, the project is run by volunteer health care professionals and through donations from local industry. A free after hours clinic operating two evenings each week is the core project, providing more than 10,000 patient encounters. Through this unique model, the cost per patient visit is about $36, compared with the cost of an average emergency room visit which can cost $300 or an average primary care visit which can cost $75-$200.
Chesapeake Energy Corporation , Oklahoma City
This Oklahoma employer of 1,300 people has woven fitness into the daily routine of its employees and is reaping the rewards. With an absenteeism rate of just 1.1 days per year, as compared with a national average of 6.2 days (CCH Incorporated - October 16, 2000), their commitment to keeping employees and their families healthy and fit continues to expand. The company runs a 40,000 square foot corporate fitness center, an on-site restaurant/cafeteria with healthy meal choices, a "Good Health Benefit" of $600 per employee and family member for preventive health care and screenings, employee assistance program, running and cycling clubs, on-site Weight Watchers classes and more.
Schools for Healthy Lifestyles , Oklahoma City
Schools for Healthy Lifestyles was formed in 1997 to combat Oklahoma's declining health status by focusing on students, their families and educators. The program promotes physical activity and fitness, provides nutrition education and awareness, tobacco use prevention and safety and injury prevention. The program was founded by the Oklahoma County Medical Society, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Choctaw Nation Preventive Health Services , Stillwater
Choctaw Nation Preventive Health Services provides health care and health care education for more than 32,000 Native Americans and their families in 10.5 counties in southeastern Oklahoma. They also serve all citizens in western LeFlore, southern Latimer, eastern Pittsburg and northern Pushmataha counties, regardless of race. The Choctaw Nation's programs focus on prevention of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other conditions common in the community. Through health assessments, coordination of community coalitions and education, the Choctaw Nation Preventive Health Service provides vital health improvement resources for the area.
LeAnne Taylor, KOTV-6 reporter and morning show host, was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2003. A wife and mother of two children, ages four and 12, Taylor didn't miss a day of work through her four months of chemotherapy, followed by 33 radiation treatments. Taylor began sharing her story with her audience when her treatments led to hair loss. She kept her sense of humor by acquiring a wardrobe of wigs evoking personalities including Dolly Parton, Tina Turner, Marge Simpson and many others. Taylor appeared with a closely shaven head on the cover of this September's TulsaPeople. Her public education efforts about early detection, which began long before her personal ordeal, have firmly positioned Taylor as a spokesperson for breast cancer awareness.
Dr. Don Wilber, Midwest City
Dr. Don Wilber, a pediatrician at the Oklahoma City Clinic in Midwest City, was recognized for his volunteer efforts to improve children's immunization rates. Dr. Wilber has served as chairperson of the Oklahoma State Immunization Advisory Committee since 1993. As chairperson, he led successful efforts to add the hepatitis B vaccine to school and day care requirements. He is a driving force behind the Oklahoma State Department of Health's "OK By One" campaign to promote on-time immunization of infants under one year of age.
Lucille R. Fancey, Coffee Creek Riding Center for the Handicapped , Edmond
At age 84, Lucille Fancey operates the therapeutic riding center for the handicapped that she founded 28 years ago. Specially designed games and exercises target areas of need, while the horses provide freedom and enjoyment for disabled riders. Her center serves nearly 200 students per semester, with each requiring one to three volunteers to assist them in their classes. Over the years, many of these volunteers have chosen careers in education and health-related fields, influenced by their experiences at Coffee Creek.
Former Oklahoma State Senator Angela Monson, Oklahoma City
Senator Angela Monson served in the Oklahoma State Senate since 1993. A nationally noted advocate of health care reform, Senator Monson is a member of the steering committee of the Reforming States Group, a Milbank Memorial Fund health care initiative and serves on the board of Families USA Foundation. In 2004, she accepted an invitation to serve as National Advisory Committee member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's State Coverage Initiatives program. In 1998, Senator Monson was appointed to the National Advisory Council to the National Health Service Corps by then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, and later chaired that council until 2002. She authored a substantial amount of health reform legislation, and has been an advocate for affordable, accessible health care for all Oklahomans.
Dr. John Fernandes, president of the OSU Center for Health Sciences, wrote, "Those who choose to live outside the metropolitan area should not be penalized by being denied access to effective, convenient health care." The OSU Telemedicine network, established in 1994, allows physicians to consult or examine patients from a remote location. Today OSU manages and operates 24 telemedicine sites in Oklahoma, along with 20 distance-learning locations that help doctors stay up-to-date when they choose a rural practice.
In addition to the 10 Champions of Health, three programs were chosen for Awards of Merit and a $500 grant: