The 15th annual Champions of Health Awards took place on Thursday, September 27, 2018, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Six winners were honored for their efforts to improve the health of Oklahomans. The evening featured News 9 Oklahoma City morning anchor Lacie Lowry as emcee, Dave Lopez as keynote moderator, and actress and author Jamie Lee Curtis as keynote speaker.
Dr. Rodney L. Huey Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health
Winner: Positive Tomorrows
Positive Tomorrows is Oklahoma’s only elementary school and social service agency specifically serving homeless children and their families. Positive Tomorrows focuses on both physical and mental health, and teaches lifelong healthy habits to some of the community’s most vulnerable kids. Homeless children are sick four times more often than others, and are three times as likely to suffer from emotional trauma. A trauma-informed learning environment helps students focus on learning and overcome the effects of trauma on their lives. Homeless families report that medical care, health care, and food are among their greatest needs. The school coordinates access to basic medical, dental and nutritional care, and counseling for children. 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.
Champion of Senior Health
Winner: YMCA of Greater Tulsa
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects one in 100 people over age 60, and is the second-most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. Since May 2017, YMCA of Greater Tulsa has been filling the gap for those living with Parkinson’s disease in a unique way through its Pedaling for Parkinson’s program. Research of those living with Parkinson’s disease indicates that exercise can improve their self-confidence and independence, decrease their risk of falls, minimize fatigue, reduce rigidity and improve mobility. The program, offered at the Tandy Family YMCA campus, helps participants ease the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s and improve their cardiovascular health through movement. Classes are taught by instructors trained in the set-up and delivery of the special stationary cycling exercises designed for those with Parkinson’s.
Finalist: RSVP of Central Oklahoma, Inc.
Champion of Children's Health
Winner: Infant Crisis Services’ BabyMobile
Infant Crisis Services’ (ICS) BabyMobile – the only pantry-on-wheels program of its kind in central Oklahoma – launched in 2013 as a response to clients who reported that transportation was their biggest obstacle to receiving ICS services. Since then, parents and guardians of more than 21,000 infants and toddlers have visited BabyMobile in need and left with a week’s supply of food, formula, and diapers. One mobile unit has grown to a fleet of two, and currently, seven counties and 43 partner agencies throughout central Oklahoma host regular visits by BabyMobile. Families in crisis rely on BabyMobile not only to ease the burden of providing for their children, but as a place where they can find a listening ear and words of encouragement.
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. To help meet the needs of people living within its apartment complexes, the Association provides primary patient care services for uninsured and underinsured tenants. Program staff personally visit each of the Association’s housing sites to meet with tenants, learn of their individual healthcare needs, and develop a personalized treatment plan for each person. The Community Health and Wellness program is the essence of integrated care – it blends traditionally separate behavioral health treatment with general medical services. The service is made possible through a collaboration between the William K. Warren Foundation and the Association.
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 in Payne County, in which 18 percent of the population is food insecure and lacking reliable access to nutritious food. ODB serves those that fall below USDA-given income guidelines (185 percent of the poverty line). ODB offers guests a guided shopping experience, during which they can choose from an abundance of life-sustaining food. Guests can shop at ODB once every 30 days, and emergency food sacks are provided to those in dire need. Those served by ODB 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 Tulsa Health Department is an example of a quality corporate wellness program that can be replicated in small companies in which the budget doesn’t allow for large expenditures on incentives or external health promotions. With the utilization of two part-time staff members, low-cost or no-cost local resources, internal talent and creativity, the program engages up to 60 percent of employees. Working for Balance program elements include biometric screenings, exercise-focused events, stress reduction activities, healthy vending, walking groups, health-education presentations, team participation in events like the Tulsa Run, and individualized wellness
Finalist: Oklahoma State University & Gateway Mortgage Group
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 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.