2022 Winners

The 2022 winners were recognized at the 19th annual Champions of Health awards in Tulsa for their efforts to improve the health of Oklahomans. 

Dr. Rodney L. Huey Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health

Winner: The CARE Center

The CARE Center is Oklahoma County’s child advocacy center committed to helping children find their voice and begin to heal after abuse. Since its inception in 1991, The CARE Center has existed to help children share their abuse stories in a safe environment for investigations while connecting families with resources that remove barriers to the healing process. When a child experiences abuse, law enforcement or DHS refers to The CARE Center for victim services of forensic interviews, medical exams, family advocacy, and mental health services. The CARE Center convenes a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement, child welfare, medical, and mental health professionals in one child-friendly and trauma-informed location to provide healing and investigative services for children in active child abuse investigations. To prevent child abuse, the nonprofit also provides central Oklahoma with practical and effective child abuse prevention resources and education that give adults and children the tools they need to identify and prevent child abuse.

Champion of Senior Health

Winner: Healthy Living & Fitness, Inc. 

Healthy Living & Fitness, Inc. (Healthy Living OKC) is dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of older adults by providing state-of-the-art-health and wellness services, empowering adults to become avid health consumers responsible for their well-being and fulfillment of their personal goals. Healthy Living's 40,000-square-foot facillity and programming helps improve the physical and emotional wellness of northwest Oklahoma City adults by providing opportunities for physical activity, social engagement and lifelong learning. At Healthy Living, older adults can find connections and a community through social wellness activities and initiatives, access to professional and recreational physical fitness activities, and education and support on current adult-related issues.

Finalist: Volunteers of America Oklahoma

Champion of Children's Health

Winner: The Tristesse Grief Center

The Grief Center offers an innovative approach to address northeast Oklahoma's need for comprehensive, long-term grief counseling to assist the bereaved as they journey toward improved health and renewed sense of worth in the wake of loss. Its school-based programming aims to improve access to grief support and decrease the disparities that exist for bereaved children in Tulsa and the surrounding communities. Core components of the program include a grief support group, The Healing Hearts Club, where students learn healthy ways to process their grief and may for the first time experience the healing power of connection to others who have experienced profound loss. Individual and family counseling provides critical grief counseling for students and families who have experienced a traumatic loss. In addition, training is provided to educators and school administrators aimed at creating a more grief-sensitive learning environment while providing needed resources for crisis response in school communities.

Finalist: Little Light House

Champion of the Uninsured

Winner: Rieger Wood, D.D.S. – Founder of OK Mission of Mercy

Inspired by the Kansas Mission of Mercy, Rieger Wood, D.D.S. envisioned establishing a free two-day, fully-functional dental event in our state, making a city in Oklahoma the dental capital of the world for a weekend. His determination to change the landscape of dentistry for those in need through the power of volunteers has proven to be Oklahoma’s most impactful medical event. The goal was simple: bring the dental community together to provide essential oral health care to the uninsured, underinsured, or those who lack traditional access to dental care. The inaugural event was held in Dr. Wood’s hometown, Tulsa, in February 2010. Dr. Wood’s commitment has inspired more than 16,000 volunteers to spend thousands of hours serving in 11 Missions of Mercy statewide, providing over 17,000 patients with more than $14.2 million in donated dental care.

Finalist: Oklahoma Project Woman

Community Health Champion

Winner: City Care

City Care inspires those willing to look social injustice and extreme poverty in the face and empowers them to do whatever it takes to create change. Mentorship is widely accepted as the most effective intervention to intergenerational poverty and low academic achievement, which is why City Care established Whiz Kids, a one-to-one literacy-focused mentorship for more than 800 of Oklahoma City’s most vulnerable children. In addition, City Care provides more than 100 units of permanent supportive housing for those transitioning out of homelessness. In 2021, City Care opened the city’s only low-barrier night shelter. Guests at the night shelter are welcome to stay for any length of time with no prerequisites or requirements, and even companion pets are given a place to stay at the pet hotel. City Care exists to do the work few others are willing to do: end the cycle of social injustice and severe poverty, one person at a time.

Finalist: Hunger Free Oklahoma


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.