Cherokee Nation Opens Will Rogers Health Center in Nowata
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith joins with State Representative and former Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Member Chuck Hoskin, Sr., as well as other tribal and state officials in cutting the ribbon signifying the opening of the tribe’s Will Rogers Health Center in Nowata. Pictured left to right are: Dr. Gloria Grim, Cherokee Nation Medical Director; Melissa Gower, Cherokee Nation Health Services Group Leader, Hoskin, Smith, State Senator John Ford, and Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief Joe Grayson, Jr.
NOWATA, OK — More than 150 guests attended the opening of the Cherokee Nation Will Rogers Health Center in Nowata on Tuesday, as tribal officials and employees joined with state officials and representatives of Indian Health Services to officially open the facility.
“We are here today because of foresight and initiative of our health services leaders,” said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “Our health care system has improved dramatically in the past eight years because of the leadership provided.”
The existing Nowata health center currently offers a variety of health services, including family and community health services, behavioral health services, cancer and diabetes care and counseling, laboratory services and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) services. In addition to those services, the new center will be adding radiology and will provide the first drive-through pharmacy in the Cherokee Nation health system.
The 25,000 square-foot center will consolidate the tribe’s health services in Nowata into one building from the current five. The $6.6 million structure has an overall theme of pre- and early-Oklahoma statehood, and is named for renowned Cherokee actor, writer and humorist Will Rogers. The tribe worked with the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore in gathering artwork and photographs of Rogers, which is displayed throughout the center.
The Nowata center sees approximately 1,700 patients per month. Since 2002, more than 1.5 million patient visits have been scheduled at Cherokee Nation health centers, taking a tremendous burden off of city, county and state health organizations. In recent years, the Cherokee Nation has increased its annual health care budget to more than $126 million.
Equipment continues to be installed in the center, which was delayed slightly due to the recent winter storms in the area. The new Will Rogers Health Center plans to begin seeing patients after the first of the year.