OKLAHOMA CITY - Leadership Oklahoma will present the Cherokee Nation and three other entities with awards for leadership at its annual Excellence in Leadership Gala at The Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City on Saturday, April 25.

"Each year, Leadership Oklahoma recognizes the outstanding contributions of Oklahoma corporate and individual leaders for their commitment and service to elevating the quality of life and empowering our state for greater prosperity," said Marion Paden, president and CEO of Leadership Oklahoma. The Statewide Community Award acknowledges an organization or company that, through specific projects or efforts, has reached across valued differences to develop among Oklahomans a sense of common purpose and a more profound sense of loyalty to their state. This award has been created to promote a heightened sense of appreciation for the possibilities available when Oklahomans work together as a single statewide community. The Statewide Community Award acknowledges the Cherokee Nation.

The Cherokee Nation is transforming the future of health care in northeastern Oklahoma. On the W.W. Hastings medical campus in Tahlequah sits the new 469,000-square-foot outpatient health center, the largest in the U.S. to be operated by a tribe. As part of the historic Indian Health Service joint venture between a tribe and the federal government, Cherokee Nation invested $200 million in construction and equipment for the facility, and IHS is providing $100 million annually for staffing and operational costs. The outpatient health center features more than 240 exam rooms, an ambulatory surgery center, two MRI machines, primary care, 34 dental chairs, full-service optometry and specialty health services. The tribe is expected to add 850 new health care-related jobs in the coming years, including 100 physicians.

"It's an honor to receive this year's statewide community award for the Cherokee Nation's advancement in rural and tribal health care," Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. said. "Opening the largest tribal outpatient health facility in the country in the fall of 2019, and constructing the first medical school on tribal land to open in 2020 was the result of our leadership coming together to share input, vision, funding and determination to help get these projects in place for our tribal citizens, and community to benefit from long into the future."

The OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cherokee Nation, also on the Hastings campus in Tahlequah, is the first tribally affiliated medical school on tribal land in the country. The $40 million medical school will focus on educating primary care physicians who have an interest in serving Native and rural populations in Oklahoma. The first class of students will start this August.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have used their leadership abilities to improve the quality of life for Oklahoma's citizens and its future generations. This year's Leadership Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Glen D. Johnson, of Oklahoma City. Johnson is the chancellor and chief executive officer for the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.

The Distinguished Graduate Award honors a Leadership Oklahoma graduate whose recent leadership activities have exemplified the highest standards of Leadership Oklahoma and whose activities achieved results or set an example of statewide significance. This year, the Distinguished Graduate Award belongs to powerhouse couple, Marnie and Clayton Taylor of Oklahoma City, who have dedicated their lives serving their community and state while investing in the people around them. Although a dual recognition for this award is not typical, the Taylors' leadership and support of organizations is often so interwoven between them, separating their influences does not seem to do their collective sufficient recognition.

The Business Leadership Award commends a business entity for its impact in promoting leadership principles and practices, implementing programs worthy of example, and fostering the growth of quality leadership. The Business Leadership Award will honor McNellie's Group located in Tulsa.

For ticket information or sponsorship opportunities, go to www.leadershipoklahoma.com or call 405-848-0001.

Leadership Oklahoma is a statewide organization with 1,630 graduates from 183 Oklahoma communities whose mission is to create, inspire and support a dynamic network of leaders whose increased awareness and commitment to service will energize Oklahomans to shape the Oklahoma's future.

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