Dr. Brett Gray was Celebrated Monday on National Doctors’ Day
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — A Cherokee Nation doctor is being recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of 30 “champions” across the nation for saving lives by lowering the blood pressure of at least 70 percent of his patients.
Dr. Brett Gray, a physician at Cherokee Nation’s A-Mo Health Center in Salina, is a 2014 Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge Champion. The Million Hearts initiative was launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2011 with the intent to prevent one million heart attacks by 2017. It also identified doctors making sweeping change.
Monday, March 30, was National Doctors’ Day. Cherokee Nation employs 166 doctors in its eight health centers and W.W. Hastings Hospital. The tribe held a proclamation signing at Hastings to thank all Cherokee Nation doctors for their first-class service to Cherokee citizens.
“I feel honored to get the award and be recognized for the kind of medicine that we’re trying to practice as a team, to improve lives not only for patients with hypertension, but other health issues as well,” Gray said. “I’m really honored that my name is on the award, but I also want to make sure that the credit goes where it’s due. This has always been a team effort.”
Gray and his team of nurses have a patient success rate of 81.2 percent of controlled hypertension, which is when a patient maintains a healthy blood pressure, lowering the chance for cardiovascular complications.
“For years the government has measured the quality of our health facilities’ success, and the Cherokee Nation continues to lead the nation in their quality scores,” said Connie Davis, executive director of health services. “This recognition of Dr. Gray, who is a leader here at the tribe among his peers, is very deserving and another example of how the Cherokee Nation reaches its high quality scores.”
High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes, and keeping levels regulated has been proven to save lives. Gray is credited with more frequent patient follow-ups and trying to keep patients with a routine team of practioners.
“My case manager follows up with people and keeps everything together. Our LPN is well liked by the patients, so she’s always encouraging and educating them. Our clerk keeps our hectic schedules in order. And another nurse at the health center will get our patients in sooner to check on their blood pressure and let us know if we need to make any adjustments. This team approach has gotten us to the level we’re at now,” he said.
Gray, of Pryor, started at the Cherokee Nation in 2000 after having his own practice. Last month, he was recognized by the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate as the “Doctor of the Day” during Cherokee Nation Legislative Day.
The Million Hearts initiative is led by the CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. More information on that program is available at their website, http://millionhearts.hhs.gov.