Certified Healthy Oklahoma is a free statewide certification that recognizes entities going above and beyond to make health and wellness a priority for all.

The program is open to businesses, campuses, communities, congregations, early childhood programs, restaurants, and schools. Recently, 38 Cherokee County entities were awarded Certified Healthy status for 2016.

A factor to improving the health of Oklahomans is providing a variety of opportunities for residents to make healthier choices where they live, work, learn, play, and pray. Certified Healthy Oklahoma meets this challenge by recognizing a wide variety of entities that encourage health-focused behaviors and policies.

"These certifications provide opportunities for Cherokee County to create environments that support health policies and individual health decisions that ultimately will improve Oklahoma's health outcomes," said Alexander. "We applaud all Certified Healthy Oklahoma recipients for making the healthy choice the easy choice and for helping to create a culture of wellness in their communities."

Certifications are awarded at the Basic, Merit, and Excellence levels, dependent upon number of criteria fulfilled. The following entities received recognition by the Certified Healthy Oklahoma program, sorted by program area and certification level:

The following were awarded Excellence as Certified Healthy Businesses: Cherokee County Health Department, Cherokee Nation Health Services, Cherokee Nation W. W. Hastings Hospital, NeoHealth Hulbert Pharmacy, NeoHealth Administrative Offices, NeoHealth Hulbert Clinic, NeoHealth Medical Center NSU Campus, NeoHealth Tahlequah Extended Care, NeoHealth Tahlequah Health Center, NeoHealth Tahlequah OBGYN Associates, NeoHealth Tahlequah Pediatrics, OSU Extension Cherokee County, and OSU-CHS- Center for Rural Health-Tahlequah Office.

Merit level Certified Healthy Businesses include: Cherokee County Health Services Council, CREOKS Behavioral Health, Northeastern Health System, Northeastern State University, and Reasor's LLC.

Reaching Our Hulbert Community was awarded a Basic level as a Certified Healthy Business.

Northeastern State University was awarded an Excellence as a Certified Healthy Campus.

Certified Healthy Communities were Town of Hulbert with an Excellence, and City of Tahlequah with a Merit level.

First United Methodist Church- Tahlequah received a Merit level as a Certified Healthy Congregation.

Little Sprouts Preschool and Sweet's Child Care Center received a Basic certification as Certified Healthy Early Childhood Programs.

The Oasis Health Food Store Inc. earned an Excellence as a Certified Healthy Restaurant.

The following Certified Healthy Schools ranked an Excellence: Cherokee Elementary, Cherokee Immersion Charter School, Grand View, Greenwood Elementary, Heritage Elementary, Sequoyah High School, Sequoyah Pre-K, Shady Grove Elementary, Tahlequah High School, Tahlequah Middle School, and Tenkiller Elementary School.

Hulbert Elementary School and Hulbert High School received a Basic certification as healthy schools.

All award winners will be acknowledged at a ceremony and luncheon at the Embassy Suites in Norman on March 1 and are also listed on the Oklahoma State Department of Health website.

The Certified Healthy Oklahoma program is a joint effort of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, The State Chamber, The Oklahoma Academy, Oklahoma Turning Point Council, and additional partners who are helping to shape a healthier future for Oklahoma.

The 2017 application opens on Aug. 1 and can be found at www.certifiedhealthyok.com at that time, along with criteria details and additional information.

For local information on Certified Healthy Oklahoma, contact: the Cherokee County Health Department at 918-456-8826.

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