Cherokee Nation programs, health centers ‘Certified Healthy’ by state


TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Three of Cherokee Nation’s health centers, the entire health services department and the head start program were recently “Certified Healthy” by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

This year the Vinita Health Center, Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee and Redbird Smith Health Center in Sallisaw were among 1,146 winners of the Certified Healthy Oklahoma award program. It is administered by the state, Oklahoma Academy, state chamber and Oklahoma Turning Point Council.

Cherokee Nation Health Services and Early Childhood Unit also won the award for promoting health among their employees and community.

“I believe it is important as a health department to set the example of making healthy choices,” Connie Davis, executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services, said. “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.”

The Vinita Health Center, Three Rivers and Redbird Smith Health Center encourage employees to take advantage of fitness rooms, daily exercise, and diet and nutrition classes. They also provide information on health issues like obesity, diabetes and tobacco use. The Early Childhood Unit abides by a healthy nutrition policy for staff and children. Head Start staff also has the option of daily physical activity with the children.

The awards are given annually in five categories: businesses, restaurants, schools, campuses and communities. Only 503 businesses statewide received the ‘Certified Healthy’ certification, including the five from Cherokee Nation. The programs were also among 194 that met the highest standards of excellence.

Certification is given to those that offer health screenings and evaluations, information on health issues, opportunities for physical activity, tobacco prevention, behavioral health services and more. To receive excellence, a business must be 100 percent tobacco free.

“The Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program recognizes those businesses that are working to better the lives of their employees by promoting healthy environments and lifestyles,” Tina Williams, program manager for Certified Healthy Oklahoma, said. “These businesses are moving the needle here in Oklahoma, and that benefits not only their reputations, but the reputation of the state as one that wants to take care of its employees.”

All Cherokee Nation employees are provided health access at the employee Gadugi Clinic, located near the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex, and have free access to the Male Seminary Recreation Center in Tahlequah.

For more information on Cherokee Nation Health Services, call 918-453-5657. For a list of state award winners, visit

Cherokee Nation News Release
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