Improving the Health of Oklahomans One Child at a Time

Improving the Health of Oklahomans One Child at a Time

Imagine for a moment that you are a parent of three children. You’re working two part-time jobs that leave you unable to travel to the doctor’s office to get your children the vaccinations required to enroll in school; what can you do?

Thanks to the Oklahoma Caring Foundation and the Oklahoma Caring Van program, barriers such as limited clinic hours or lack of transportation are eliminated and thousands of children are able to receive vital preventive health services, like immunizations, every day.

Oklahoma Caring Van program

The Oklahoma Caring Foundation leaving site icon (OCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization administered as an in-kind gift by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK). The signature program of OCF is the Oklahoma Caring Van program, launched in 1999 to serve families statewide. Oklahoma Caring Vans provide services to children who are uninsured, Medicaid eligible, or American Indian. Since 1999, more than 195,000 children have received nearly 335,000 immunizations aboard the Caring Vans. In 2019, the Oklahoma Caring Foundation celebrates its 25th Anniversary and the 20th year of the Oklahoma Caring Van Program.

The Oklahoma Caring Foundation operates nine Caring Vans:

  • Two Caring Vans serving the Tulsa area
  • Two Caring Vans serving the Oklahoma City area
  • The Chickasaw Nation Caring Van, serving south central Oklahoma
  • The Choctaw Nation Caring Van, serving southeastern Oklahoma
  • The Southern Plains Tribal Health Board Caring Van, serving Oklahoma’s tribal nations
  • The Southwest Caring Van, operated in partnership with the Oklahoma State Health Department, serving southwest Oklahoma
  • The Oklahoma Dental Foundation Caring Van

In addition to immunizations, Oklahoma Caring Vans offer Body Mass Index (BMI) Screenings. The data received from these screenings is shared with parents and schools or childcare facilities to help fight childhood obesity and diabetes. Other services aboard the Caring Vans include dental screenings, fluoride varnishes, blood pressure screenings and diabetes screenings.

We’re proud of all our employees and partners who operate the Oklahoma Caring Vans statewide, and we’d like to introduce you to the van coordinators working in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Andrea Oguinn
Andrea Oguinn started with OCF in the Oklahoma City office as a Caring Van Specialist in July 2013. Andrea brings a fun and exciting attitude to her van, which helps to ease a child’s fears when receiving shots. “Some kids might be a little scared, but then I hand them a prize like a rubber ducky or ice cream coupons and they smile every time,” Andrea said. She manages OCF’s partnership with Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS), the largest school district in the state, which accounts for over 40 percent of the children immunized aboard Caring Vans in Oklahoma City.

Fernando Guillen
Fernando Guillen joined the Tulsa team as a Caring Van Specialist in December 2017. Fernando is bilingual and has expanded the services offered to Spanish-speaking families and the agencies that serve them. Fernando is tech savvy, which has been instrumental in the launch of the new Caring Van Program online database. “I am thrilled to play a role in improving the health of my neighbors and offer a welcoming service to families who come to the Caring Van,” Fernando said.

Evelyn Cardona
In January 2019, the Oklahoma Caring Foundation welcomed Evelyn Cardona as a Caring Van Specialist in our Oklahoma City office. Before joining the team, Evelyn worked for a banking firm in Oklahoma City, where she specialized in customer service.  “I am so excited for this opportunity to work on a Caring Van,” said Evelyn. “The Oklahoma City community is very important to me, and I look forward to providing preventive health services to those who are underserved.” Originally from El Salvador, Evelyn is a bilingual Spanish speaker. She enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering in her community.  

A full schedule of clinics can be found at oklahomacaringfoundation.orgleaving site icon on Facebookleaving site icon or text TULSAVAN or OKCVAN to 33633 (standard data and messaging rates may apply).

Originally published 8/6/2016; Revised 2019