Former First Lady Laura W. Bush Speaks in Tulsa

HEALTH CHAMPIONS: From left are Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Terry Cline, Laura Bush and Bert Marshall at the Champions of Health Gala at the Tulsa Convention Center.

Former First Lady Laura W. Bush was the keynote speaker for the Champions of Health Gala, which was held Oct. 25 at the Tulsa Convention Center Ballroom.
Just before the event began, she had the opportunity to tour the Oklahoma Caring Van.

With praise from former First Lady Laura Bush for their programs, seven new names were added to the list of nearly 100 Champions of Health award winners.

Miki Farris, executive director of Infant Crisis Services, Inc., was named the Champion of Children’s Health. Shirley Harris, Executive Director of Dentists for the Disabled and Elderly in Need of Treatment, Inc. (D-), was honored as the Champion of the Uninsured. The Champion of Senior Health award went to Senior Services. The TeleStroke Program at Sequoyah Memorial Hospital was named the Community Health Champion.

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma’s Food for Kids Backpack Program was named the recipient of the Dr. Rodney Huey Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health award, the highest honor of the Champions of Health awards.

Melton Truck Lines, Inc. and their iCare Program were recognized as the Large Business winner. Plan Benefit Analysts and their Wellness program was recognized as the Small Business winner.

Attendees heard from Oklahoma State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline about the positive changes that are happening with Oklahoma’s health statistics, thanks to efforts by groups like this year’s award winners. Governor Mary Fallin also congratulated winners and introduced Bush.

Bush is actively involved in issues of national and global concern, with a particular emphasis on education, health care and human rights.

A former teacher and librarian, Bush convened in 2001 a Summit on Early Childhood Cognitive Development, providing a forum for prominent scholars and educators to share research on the best ways for parents and caregivers to prepare children for lifelong learning. She is an enthusiastic proponent of teacher recruitment programs such as Teach for America, The New Teacher Project and Troops to Teachers.

As the leader of former President George W. Bush’s Helping America’s Youth initiative, Bush has listened closely to the concerns of young people, parents and community leaders throughout the country. She draws attention to proven programs that help children avoid such risky behaviors as drug and alcohol use, early sexual activity and violence, and highlights the need for a caring adult role model in every child’s life.

Bush is an advocate for women’s health and has been an active participant in campaigns to raise awareness of breast cancer and heart disease, both in the U.S. and around the world. She partnered with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in The Heart Truth campaign and the Red Dress project. And she traveled to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Panama to help launch international partnerships for breast cancer awareness and research in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The Champions of Health awards were launched with the idea that Oklahoma can do better. The program recognizes those that are doing good work and those that are creating programs that can be used in other communities to change the health of even more Oklahomans. Champions of Health seeks to “move the needle” by forming partnerships to help solve Oklahoma’s health issues.

The event benefits the Oklahoma Caring Foundation, a 501©(3) organization, which provides Oklahoma children with free immunizations.
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Updated 11-21-2011

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