(L to R) Cherokee Nation Health Services Medical Director Roger Montgomery, Executive Director Connie Davis, W.W. Hastings Hospital CEO Brian Hail and Senior Director of Nursing Sandie Taggart celebrate the hospital being “Certified Healthy” by the state of Oklahoma.
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — Four of Cherokee Nation’s health centers, W.W. Hastings Hospital and the tribe’s entire health services department are deemed “Certified Healthy” by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
The Vinita Health Center, Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee, Redbird Smith Health Center in Sallisaw and Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell were recently selected among 1,700 winners of the Certified Healthy Oklahoma award for 2014.
The designation for maintaining a healthy campus for employees is administered by the state, Oklahoma Academy, state chamber and Oklahoma Turning Point Council.
“I believe it is important as a health department to set the example of making healthy choices,” said Connie Davis, executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services. “If we can create a work environment that not only encourages but supports these important changes in our lifestyle, then we have made a real impact on ensuring healthy generations to come.”
Employees take advantage of fitness rooms, daily exercise, and diet and nutrition classes offered at each of the sites. The tribe’s Early Childhood Unit was also recognized as “Certified Healthy” for providing a healthy nutrition policy for staff and Head Start children.
The awards are given annually in six categories: businesses, restaurants, schools, campuses, early care and education, and congregation.
“All of us are aware of the high costs associated with unhealthy habits, and because our employees work in the health care setting, it’s vital that the workplace be conducive to living a healthy lifestyle,” said Brian Hail, W.W. Hastings Hospital CEO. “Having this recognition from the Oklahoma State Department of Health demonstrates our commitment to our employees’ well-being and our dedication to the vision of healthy communities for this and future generations.”
The Cherokee Nation maintains an onsite health center to treat sick employees, the Gadugi Clinic, and employees and Cherokee Nation citizens have free access to the Male Seminary Recreation Center in Tahlequah, which offers a gym, weights and weekly boot camp, yoga and Zumba classes.
“The Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program is a free statewide recognition program showcasing organizations and communities that are committed to making the healthy choice the easy choice,” Julie Dearing, manager of the Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program, said. “Oklahoma truly has a vision of creating healthier places to live, work, learn, play and pray. We are challenging all Oklahomans to eat better, move more and be tobacco-free, as well as implement policies to create healthy environments throughout our state.”
For more information on Cherokee Nation Health Services, call 918-453-5657. For a list of state award winners, visit www.ok.gov/health/.