The fifth annual Champions of Health awards took place on Monday, September 29, 2008, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Ten winning individuals and organizations were honored for their efforts to improve the health of Oklahomans. The evening's speakers were 2005 Champion of Oklahoma Health Dr. J. Mark Osborn as emcee and former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich as keynote speaker.
The Dr. Rodney L. Huey Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health Award was named in memory of Dr. Rodney Huey, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma's first physician president. His name was added to the award in 2008. Huey passed away in December 2007.
Mayor Mick Cornett , Oklahoma City
Mick Cornett, mayor of Oklahoma City, was named Public Service Health Champion and recipient of the 2008 Dr. Rodney L. Huey Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health award, the highest honor of the Champions of Health awards. He was honored for his launch of the "This City is Going on a Diet" campaign, with the goal of losing one million pounds as a community in order to make a healthier city. Cornett led by example, losing 42 pounds.
Insure Oklahoma , Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, working in partnership with insurance agents, health care providers and other state agencies, implemented Insure Oklahoma, a program that subsidizes the cost of private health insurance premiums for Oklahomans who qualify. Funded in part by a state tax on tobacco products, Insure Oklahoma also gets funding from the federal government that matches each state dollar approximately 2-to-1.
Gail Potts, Senior Life Network , Enid
Senior Life Network programs promote healthy lifestyles focusing on the benefits of regular exercise and proper nutrition to improve the quality of life of Oklahoma's seniors. Periodic health screenings, designed to identify health issues in their early stages, also are provided as part of a wellness-centered approach in supporting senior health.
Employee Wellness Initiative, Chesapeake Energy Corporation , Oklahoma City
In 2004, Chesapeake Energy was honored as Corporate Health Champion. Since then, Chesapeake has grown from 1,300 to 7,200 employees. Explosive growth has allowed more chances to teach, expand and enhance Chesapeake's wellness commitment to employees and family members. This includes the growth of the fitness center, major increases in participation in the "Living Well" program and the opening of a full service medical and dental clinic on-site for Chesapeake employees and family members. Benefits include reduced copays, monthly B-12 shots and free skin cancer screenings.
Norman Regional Health System , Norman
Norman Regional Health System partnered with the Norman Public Schools to financially support the establishment of school health services. While the school district was only able to pay for two school nurses and two part-time health assistants, the partnership made it possible for the school district to provide health services personnel at each school site, increasing access to school nurses, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and 15 trained health assistants to the district's more than 13,000 students.
Lawton-Fort Sill Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Team , Lawton-Fort Sill
High school students comprise the Lawton-Fort Sill SWAT Team, volunteering more than 20 hours a month to tobacco-control work, offering a diligent and diversified approach through interactive community projects, educational training and policy advocacy to improve the health of Oklahomans.
Student volunteers work to raise awareness about tobacco industry practices and the harm of secondhand smoke, while changing attitudes about tobacco and empowering youth to resist tobacco products. SWAT's work, in collaboration with Comanche County Memorial Hospital, has impacted youth tobacco use. Risk surveys indicate youth tobacco use in the area is declining.
Cherokee Nation Health Partners , Tahlequah
The Cherokee Nation and Tahlequah City Hospital joined efforts to fight the growing epidemic of heart disease among Native Americans. Together they formed the Cherokee Health Partners, offering "big city" heart care to the Cherokee people served by the rural 82-bed Tahlequah City Hospital.
CAN is an international model of effective community response to reported child abuse, bringing multiple disciplines together in a single safe and comforting environment for children in crisis. CAN enables medical, mental health, investigative and legal professionals to work together under one roof, providing less traumatic investigation while deciding if child abuse has occurred.
Lori Holliday, Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) , Oklahoma
OETA, Oklahoma's only statewide public television network, works to deliver educational and public television programs to improve the health of Oklahomans. Led by Lori Holliday, director of educational and community outreach, OETA sheds light on issues that impact health. Airing a series designed to raise awareness and promote involvement for a healthier Oklahoma, OETA addressed the issues of housing, cultural relations, education, jobs, community development, social support systems and tax policies, collectively framing them in the public health documentary series, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?
Frances Haas, D.O., Tulsa
Dr. Frances Haas of University of Oklahoma Physicians Tulsa, department of internal medicine, was one of the first physicians to volunteer on a weekly basis at the Bedlam Free Clinic. As a means for the underinsured and uninsured people of northeast Oklahoma to receive medical care, this clinic quickly became the medical home for more than 1,800 patients. Haas learned that many of these uninsured patients had an acute need of medical care for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C. To address these special health concerns, Haas established an HIV clinic to help identify high risk patients, provide them with testing and coordinate them into care and treatment if needed. The clinic provides all medical care, laboratory testing, counseling, social services and medication assistance.