The third annual Champions of Health awards took place on October 30, 2006, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in Oklahoma City. The evening featured Oklahoma University (OU) Women’s Basketball Coach Sherri Coale as emcee and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Louis Sullivan as keynote speaker.
A unique teen drinking-and-driving prevention and awareness program developed by the Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority was chosen as the Champion of Oklahoma Health 2006. This is the highest recognition in the Champions of Health Awards. The authority's Project Children's Health Interventions and Lifestyle Development (CHILD) initiative, a program called I Died. Who's Next? delivers a message with impact - the fact that alcohol-related vehicle crashes are the nation's number one killer of teens.
Health for Friends , Norman
Prenatal care is one of many foundations offering free health services by a volunteer clinic that has grown from a one day per week program to five days per week. Health for Friends serves the medical, dental and pharmacy needs of patients. The Better Babies Clinic seeks to improve the health of more than 1,270 mothers and their babies each year. Case management and bilingual interpretation is also provided to thousands of low-income clients each year.
The value of good dental care for the elderly and disabled is demonstrated by a group of volunteer dentists who are addressing the health care needs of an underserved population. Since 1986, D-DENT has provided dental care for more than 8,200 impoverished elderly and disabled persons and through more than 26,000 dental visits. More than $4 million of equipment and services have been donated to this life saving program.
The Oklahoman , Oklahoma City
By engaging its 1,100 employees in healthy activities, the state's largest newspaper company is rewarding healthy behavior and encouraging new healthy behaviors. A comprehensive package includes incentive programs and an on-site health club that can help employees lower their health care costs.
Preventive Lifestyles for Active Youth (PLAY), Lawton
Comanche County Memorial Hospital is addressing the issue of childhood obesity through a school-based extended day program to promote physical activity in children. The 2005 pilot program at a Lawton elementary school site resulted in positive lifestyle changes in students' diets, exercise and self-esteem. Measurable improvements were noted in improved body mass index (BMI) scores, increased physical fitness, program retention and positive feedback from children and parents.
HeartLine's Healthy Education for Life Program (HELP) , Oklahoma City
This aggressive suicide prevention effort reaches out to young adults and their parents and teaches them about warning signs of depression, self-harm and how to get help. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10 to 24. Since 1997, more than 36,000 youth, educators and parents have been reached through schools and youth-related community groups. HeartLine's program is part of a comprehensive suicide prevention effort in central Oklahoma.
African American Faith Community for AIDS Prevention (AAFCAP) , Oklahoma City
A coalition of faith leaders and congregations have successfully worked to increase awareness of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the black community. Through extensive educational training, the group has provided referrals and counseling for hundreds of persons affected by HIV and AIDS. The coalition has reached clients and other congregations by reducing the social stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.
Arthur G. Wallace, Jr., D.O., M.P.H., Tulsa
Dr. Arthur Wallace started the state's first Disaster Medical Assistance Team (D-MAT) after Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Since then, he was deployed to sites such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack in New York City and areas of the Gulf Coast affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He has been a leader in organizing coordinated volunteer efforts to assist those affected by disasters.
Nicole Nascenzi, Tulsa World Reporter
Nicole Nascenzi's leadership and dedication to better health reporting have considerably changed the face of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) coverage in Oklahoma. Nascenzi chronicled the life of an AIDS survivor and shared stories of many others fighting the epidemic. Outside the newsroom, she was the top individual fundraiser for the Tulsa AIDS Walk in 2005 and has continued following current issues in HIV and AIDS funding and education.
W. Michael Woods, M.D., Ramona
Dr. Michael Woods teaches the value of rural medical care to young doctors practicing in sparsely populated Oklahoma communities. He is a team doctor on Friday nights for many rural school football games in northeastern Oklahoma. His vision for the teaching and training of resident physicians has resulted in introducing technology and overcoming the difficulty in obtaining access to quality medical care in rural areas. Since 2005, more than 3,100 patients were seen under Dr. Woods' supervision and mentoring. Dr. Gerry Clancy, Dean of the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa's College of Medicine and president of Oklahoma University (OU)-Tulsa, said of Woods, "I can think of no other physician with whom I have worked over my past 18 years that exemplifies every virtue with the profession of medicine."
There was a tie for this category and, therefore, two winners:
Senator Mike Morgan, Stillwater
Oklahoma State Senator and President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan has worked to address trauma and emergency health care issues by supporting three key initiatives. Morgan supported legislation providing nearly $20 million annually for the Trauma Reimbursement Fund to compensate health care providers for uninsured patients. He advocated the protection of the Medical Reserve Corps, a volunteer group of health care professionals who support public health needs. Morgan also helped fund the creation of the Oklahoma Institute for Disaster and Emergency Medicine.
State Representative Doug Cox, M.D., Grove
Elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2004, Cox is the first doctor in the state legislature in more than 20 years. As Delaware County's winner of its Humanitarian of the Year award, Cox serves as a role model to his community. As an elected official, Cox has authored health care legislation and was a key supporter of the Medicaid reform initiative passed earlier this year. Cox works at Grove Integris Hospital as a physician and at family clinics in the area.