MUSKOGEE – District 7 County Health Departments celebrated local leaders following the conclusion of the Health Equity and Leadership Summit on Friday, October 28. Leaders were nominated by their peers and awarded for advancing health equity and demonstrating leadership skills that positively impact their community.

Recipients of the Leading in Excellence award included Dr. James Baker, MD, of Cherokee Nation Three Rivers Health Center; Jeremy Colbert of the Oklahoma State Department of Health; Mayor Marlon Coleman of the City of Muskogee; Reggie Cotton of the Muskogee Police Department and the Oklahoma State Department Health District 7 Grants Advisory Board; John Cruz, President of the Latin Association and Civic Center Director of the Oklahoma State Department Health District 7 Grants Advisory Board; Reverend Rodger Cutler, ThD, with the NAACP; Marlene Diaz of VA Muskogee; Lindsey Durant with the Cherokee Healthy Living program; Leslie Hamil with the Muskogee Youth Volunteer Corp.; Dr. Tracy Hoos, DO, of Hoos Pediatrics; Mayor Marilyn Jackson of the City of Clearview; Taje Jackson with the Oklahoma State Department of Health; and Marcus Jeffrey, Reverend and Deputy Mayor of Okmulgee.

Other recipients of the Leading in Excellence award include Michele Keeling of Saint Francis Muskogee; Ed Kennedy with the Oklahoma State Health Department’s District 7 Grants Advisory Board; Joan Lange of the Oklahoma State Health Department; Julie Ledbetter with Neighbors Building Neighborhoods; Tamara Moore of the Oklahoma State Department of Health; Lisa Pivec of Cherokee Nation Health Services; Floritta Pope of the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity; Lainey Porter with the Healthy Oklahomans Nutrition Alliance; Julia Price, RN, of Muskogee Public Schools; Derrick Reed of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center and Deputy Mayor of the City of Muskogee; Natalie Shelton with Tahlequah Men’s Shelter; Charlie Stilwell of Cherokee Nation Public Health; Ron Venters, pastor and grants from Oklahoma State Department Health District 7; Lacey Wallace with OSU expansion; Kim Walton with Saint Francis Muskogee Hospital; Doug Walton of the Oklahoma State Department of Health; and Pam Wemhaner of Catholic Charities Sallisaw.

The three-part summit gave attendees access to nationally recognized speakers, such as Carlos Mendez, a former Navy SEAL who served under Jocko Willink; Kizzmekia Corbett, Ph.D., co-developer of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine; and Chester Elton, author of “The Orange Revolution” and “The Carrot Principle”. Throughout the three sessions, comprising 11 presentations, participants were provided with strategies for becoming effective leaders and skills for identifying areas of low health equity within their own communities.

The Health Leadership and Equity Summit was sponsored by District 7 County Health Departments, as well as the Health Department’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity of Oklahoma State and Saint Francis Muskogee Hospital. It was held at the Indian Capital Technology Center in Muskogee.

District 7 County Health Services protects and promotes health serving Adair, Cherokee, Haskell, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, and Sequoyah counties. To find out more, visit oklahoma.gov/health.