The 18th annual Champions of Health awards took place virtually on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Six winners were honored for their efforts to improve the health of Oklahomans. The evening featured News 9 anchor Lacie Lowry as emcee, and actress, model and author Brooke Shields as keynote speaker.
Dr. Rodney L. Huey Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health
Winner: The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges
Calm Waters Center for Children and Families is a support center for children and families who have experienced significant loss, including death, divorce, deployment, deportation, incarceration and foster/adoptive care issues. Camp Courage is Calm Waters’ annual 3-day, art-based summer camp that provides a safe and healing environment for children to express their feelings of loss and grief through art. Camp Courage introduces children to at least 10 different art forms that provide new outlets for kids to express their emotions and process their loss. Camp Courage is made possible by professional artists, facilitators, and trained Calm Waters volunteers who donate their time. Research has shown that giving children creative outlets during their grief journey reduces their stress and anxiety, improves their communication skills, and prevents long-term chronic dysfunction related to grief. Clients have expressed that Camp Courage helps their children feel less overwhelmed, more hopeful, teaches them new outlets for their feelings, and equips them with tools to face the future.
Champion of Senior Health
Winner: LIFE Senior Services
LIFE Senior Services has provided programs, facilities, and services to meet the needs of older adults across the continuum of care with choices since 1973. The greater Tulsa community is unique in having a nonprofit senior service provider that integrates and links a comprehensive group of resources under one organization. One of LIFE’s most utilized programs is SeniorLink, which helps LIFE Senior Services assist seniors with optimum efficiency. The programs within SeniorLink (LIFE EDU, Case Management and Behavioral Health, Caregiver Support Services, and SeniorLine) collaboratively serve seniors and caregivers with vital home and community-based resources. While SeniorLink has long been LIFE Senior Services’ most called-upon resource, the COVID-19 crisis created an increase in volume and broader scope of needs.
Finalist: Areawide Aging Agency
Champion of Children's Health
Winner: Anna's House Foundation
Anna’s House Foundation (AHF) is a faith-based organization whose mission is to provide immediate, stable and loving homes for Oklahoma’s children in state custody. AHF desires to offer a future of hope and faith to foster children and families by providing housing, support, training, and resources in a Christian community setting. AHF provides an exceptional, personal network of support for families in Oklahoma County and contingent counties caring for children in foster care, and the unique needs children share. Children enter into foster care when a judge determines it is no longer safe for them to remain with their caregiver, often their parents. While biological parents work a court ordered plan, children are temporarily placed in a foster care home. The goal of foster care is for children to reunite with their parents. In certain cases, adoption may occur.
Finalist: Counseling & Recovery Services of Oklahoma CALM Center
Champion of the Uninsured
Winner: Health Outreach Prevention Education, Inc. (H.O.P.E.)
H.O.P.E.’s mission is to create a healthier community by providing outreach and clinic services focused on HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), Hepatitis C (HCV) prevention, education, counseling, testing, and referrals to medical care and social services for those who test positive. H.O.P.E.’s IMPACT program is the only HIV, STI and HCV prevention program in Oklahoma that targets the rural areas to provide services to at-risk and uninsured individuals. This innovative program uses social media and dating apps to raise awareness about HIV, STIs, and HCV, as well as reduce the stigma associated with seeking testing and treatment services. H.O.P.E. meets clients where they are via an outreach testing van to provide testing and prevention education services. Services are provided free of charge.
Finalist: Brendon McLarty Memorial Foundation
Community Health Champion
Winner: Family & Children's Services COPES 911
What if when someone calls 911 and says, “I want to kill myself,” there was a crisis therapist they could talk to? The Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) COPES 911 program has placed such experts in Tulsa’s 911 Dispatch Center, allowing dispatchers to connect callers in psychiatric distress to crisis therapists. 911 centers are traditionally structured with responders from each main discipline housed in one, large room. Now, at least for Tulsa’s 911, they can transfer mental health distress calls directly to a trained and licensed F&CS COPES expert. Callers will talk with an appropriate professional F&CS mental health expert who, when possible, will de-escalate and stabilize the crisis over the phone. For more urgent situations requiring an on-site crisis response, F&CS’ COPES mobile crisis team, and/or other first responders may be dispatched to the caller’s location.
Finalist: Hospitality House of Tulsa
Corporate Health Champion
Paycom is an employee-centric organization that prioritizes the well-being and health of team members and is proud to offer an excellent health and benefits program to employees and their families. Throughout the pandemic, the company promoted health through a walking challenge, at-home fitness classes and mental health initiatives. Paycom’s mental wellness program and resources are there to provide support and promote health for employees. Whether a team member is caring for a loved one, navigating a pregnancy, anxious about returning to work or just needs someone to listen, Paycom’s robust wellness resources are there to help. Paycom takes care of employees’ families by offering unique benefits like paid family leave, backup childcare, adoption support, fertility support and a maternity support program. The company provides employees with full-time well-being advisors, access to mental wellness apps and an employee assistance program.
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 is presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, in partnership with Care Providers Oklahoma, 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.