The 16th annual Champions of Health awards took place on Thursday, September 26, 2019, at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa. Six winners were honored for their efforts to improve the health of Oklahomans. The evening featured News on 6 sports director John Holcomb as emcee, and former professional boxer, author, and television personality Sugar Ray Leonard as keynote speaker.
Dr. Rodney L. Huey Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health
Winner: Dentists for the Disabled and Elderly in Need of Treatment
Dentists for the Disabled and Elderly in Need of Treatment, Inc. (D-DENT) manages the efforts of volunteer dentists who provide charitable dental work from within their private dental clinics. Founded in 1986 by a small group of dentists spearheaded by Dr. J. Don Harris, D-DENT volunteers have restored the oral health of more than 16,000 uninsured Oklahomans free of charge. Dentists donate their time, their staff, and their equipment to restore the mouths of low-income uninsured seniors, veterans and those who are developmentally disabled. To successfully implement its Restorative Care program, D-DENT partners with volunteer dentists across the state by ensuring individuals served have met program eligibility guidelines, and by paying any lab fees incurred during the restorative process. More than $24 million worth of donated dental care has been provided by this life-saving organization since its inception.
Champion of Senior Health
Winner: Comanche Nutrition Center
Comanche Nutrition Center is a recreational center that provides services and information for senior citizens. Owned and operated by the city of Comanche, the center’s primary focus is the health and wellbeing of senior citizens in the surrounding area. The program focuses on the overall physical and mental health of its clients and offers services that promote independence and interaction. In addition to nutritious meals, seniors receive access to fellowship and social engagement, health screenings, physical therapy and exercise, financial planning and entertainment. The program also offers limited transportation services, home delivered meals and in-home welfare checks for participants. Activities are designed to meet the interest and needs of seniors of every age, whether they’re looking for a place to get in shape, or simply a place to join friends in a game of cards.
Champion of Children's Health
Winner: Anadarko Hope Squad
Anadarko Hope Squad is a school-based peer-to-peer suicide prevention program comprised of students within three Anadarko Public Schools sites. Based on a model founded in Utah in 1999, the Anadarko Hope Squad started in 2016 with the mission of raising hope and kindness. Hope Squad members serve as the eyes and ears of school counselors to provide friendship, support, and in certain cases, suicide prevention for their peers. Members complete monthly training sessions to help them identify changes in their friends. They serve as the bridge between their peers and school counselors and monitor social media for potential issues. Through evidence-based training, Hope Squad members are empowered to seek help and save a life.
Champion of the Uninsured
Winner: The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital
The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital is a private nonprofit hospital that offers 24-hour medical care, comprehensive rehabilitative therapies, respiratory care, and special education. One of the first hospitals in Oklahoma to use music as a rehabilitation tool, its music therapy program has impacted more than 6,000 patients and their families from every county in Oklahoma since 1996. All patients are evaluated for music therapy, and most patient families are uninsured or underinsured. Therapists work with children from birth to age 21 who have been hospitalized for birth defects, chronic illnesses, traumatic accidents and other conditions. Research shows music therapy can aid in the recovery process by activating various parts of the brain, helping to re-wire the brain, and improving motor skills. Music therapists build rapport and earn trust with patients by offering them something familiar and comforting: music!
Community Health Champion
Winner: YWCA Oklahoma City
YWCA Oklahoma City’s Forensic Program provides cutting edge health care, support, and specialized resources to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, many of whom experience the life-threatening crime of strangulation. The program’s highly trained nurses deliver empowering health care 24/7 to survivors free of charge, addressing both emotional and physical trauma while helping to reinstate control and choice. YWCA nurses provide free preventive medications and are often the first medical professionals to tell survivors it is not their fault, which is pivotal to healing. In addition to expert medical assessments, vital forensic evidence collection, and court testimony, forensic advocates provide emotional support, resources, and safety planning, focusing on clients’ individualized needs and informing them of their rights. YWCA’s Forensic Program provides life-changing services and health care during patients’ darkest hour, inspiring hope for a violence-free future and ensuring they do not suffer alone in silence.
Corporate Health Champion
Winner: Groendyke Transport
Groendyke Transport, one of the largest tank-truck carriers in the nation, provides a comprehensive wellness program to help employees and their spouses reach their health and wellness goals. Wellness opportunities including regular wellness challenges with rewards for participation and performance, the ability to track health metrics, and the support and advice of health coaches. The program provides all employees and their spouses with a free comprehensive wellness screening every year. Groendyke provides additional support to those with certain chronic health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. In place since 2008, the program was born from a leadership initiative to improve the overall health of employees in an industry typically fraught with health issues.
View a video presentation about Groendyke Transport
Finalist: Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
Note: The winner and finalists in the Corporate Health Champion category are not 501(c)(3) organizations, and are ineligible to receive grant funds.
The Champions of Health awards program is presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, in partnership with the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians, the Oklahoma Dental Association, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Oklahoma Hospital Association, the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, the Oklahoma Primary Care Association, the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Oklahoma State Medical Association.