2018 Champions of Health Winners Announced

July 10, 2018

Media Contact:
Ellen Devereux

(TULSA, Okla.) — Positive Tomorrows has been named the recipient of the Dr. Rodney L. Huey Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health, the highest honor of the Champions of Health awards. Positive Tomorrows , an Oklahoma City-based non-profit organization, is Oklahoma’s only elementary school and social service agency specifically serving homeless children and their families. As the overall winner, Positive Tomorrows will receive a $15,000 grant, which will be presented at the 2018 Champions of Health Gala on Sept. 27 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Actress and Author Jamie Lee Curtis will be the keynote speaker.

Positive Tomorrows focuses on both physical and mental health, and teaches lifelong healthy habits to some of the community’s most vulnerable kids. The school coordinates access to basic health care, dental care, nutritional care and counseling for homeless students and their families. A trauma-informed learning environment helps students to focus on learning, and to overcome the effects of trauma on their lives. Positive Tomorrows breaks down barriers to learning, like food, clothing, transportation and medical care, so students can focus on learning with happy and healthy bodies and minds.

Since 2004, the Champions of Health awards program has honored organizations and individuals who are making a difference in the health of Oklahomans. The annual Champions of Health gala benefits The Oklahoma Caring Foundation, Inc. , a 501(c)(3) organization that provides Oklahoma children with immunizations at no charge. Founded in 1994, the foundation is funded by community contributions and administered as an in-kind gift by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

In addition to the Dr. Rodney L. Huey Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health award, nonprofit winners in each category will receive a $5,000 grant and finalists will receive a $1,000 grant. The winners and finalists are identified below:

Champion of Senior Health
Winner: YMCA of Greater Tulsa
Since May 2017, The YMCA of Greater Tulsa has been filling the gap for those living with Parkinson’s in a unique way. The Tandy Family YMCA is a provider of the Pedaling for Parkinson’s program, which has proven that pedaling a bicycle may change the life of someone with Parkinson’s. Research conducted at the Cleveland Clinic showed a 35 percent reduction in symptoms by the simple act of pedaling a bicycle at a rapid pace – optimally, 80-90 revolutions per minute. This research, combined with consistent data from the YMCA of Greater Tulsa, has proven that the program has a large impact on a higher quality of life for the participants.
Finalist: RSVP of Central Oklahoma, Inc.

Champion of Children's Health
Winner: Infant Crisis Services’ BabyMobile
Infant Crisis Services' BabyMobile launched in 2013 as a response to clients who reported that transportation was their biggest obstacle to receiving services. Since then, more than 21,000 infants and toddlers have come to the BabyMobile in need and left with a week's supply of food, formula, and diapers. One mobile unit is now two, and currently, seven counties and 43 partner agencies throughout central Oklahoma host regular visits. The BabyMobile is the only pantry on wheels of its kind in central Oklahoma—families in crisis rely on it to ease the burden of providing for their children, but beyond basic physical necessities, they also find a place where they are given a listening ear and an encouraging word.
Finalist: CAP Tulsa Early Childhood Program

Champion of the Uninsured
Winner: Mental Health Association Oklahoma
Mental Health Association Oklahoma (the Association) has been advocating for Oklahomans impacted by mental illness, substance abuse disorders and homelessness since 1955. Its programs include housing, community health and wellness initiatives for the uninsured and underinsured, mental health education, support groups, pro bono counseling, mental health screening and referral, suicide prevention, peer-to-peer recovery services, employment readiness and criminal justice advocacy. The Association’s current housing portfolio includes nearly 1,500 units of affordable housing in Tulsa and 119 units in Oklahoma City.
Finalist: Good Samaritan Health Services

Community Health Champion
Winner: Our Daily Bread Food & Resource Center
Our Daily Bread (ODB) provides food assistance to underprivileged households living in Payne County, in which 18 percent of the population is food insecure, lacking reliable access to healthy, nutritious, and life-sustaining foods. With an emphasis on healthy foods, ODB offers guests a guided shopping experience with a shopping assistant in which the guest can choose from an abundance of foods to fill their fridge, freezer, and pantry. Those served range from college students, single parent households, individuals on a fixed income, veterans, and those with low-paying jobs.
Finalist: Dentists for the Disabled and Elderly in Need of Treatment, Inc.

Corporate Health Champion
Winner: Tulsa Health Department
The Working for Balance program at the Tulsa Health Department is an example of a quality corporate wellness program that can be replicated in small companies whose budget doesn’t allow for large expenditures on incentives or outside health promotion businesses. With the utilization of two part-time staff members, low-cost or no-cost local resources, internal talent and creativity, this corporate program engages up to 60 percent of employees. Tulsa Health Department wants to “walk the walk” to promote healthy lifestyles, and Working for Balance encourages employees to place their own health as a priority.
Finalist: Oklahoma State University & Gateway Mortgage Group
Note: The winner and finalists in the Corporate Health Champion category 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 Office of Secretary of Native American Affairs, 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.

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