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Officials at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College announced Brandi Payton as the recipient of the 2022 Outstanding Young Alumna award.
NEO will formally honor Payton during the Outstanding Alumni Banquet on Saturday, Oct 1, at 11 a.m. in the Calcagno Family Ballroom.
All alumni and friends of the college are invited to attend the event. Tickets are $25 and $15 for children 12 and under. Purchase tickets at the door or through neo.edu/homecoming. NEO homecoming festivities will take place Sept 30 through Oct 1, 2022.
Payton is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation as well as Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Hopi descent.
She grew up in Miami, Oklahoma, and graduated valedictorian from Miami High School in 2004. She was a member of the Key Club and National Honors Society, and she took concurrent classes at NEO.
Unfortunately, Payton lost her younger brother shortly after she graduated high school. Spending time with him in the intensive care unit influenced her decision to pursue a career in nursing at NEO, which she considers the best nursing program in the area.
Payton began her nursing education shortly before the historic flood of 2007. The flood forced the nursing program to relocate to a rented space downtown. Despite being away from campus, she said the flood provided many opportunities to volunteer and support the community.
She worked for Integris Miami throughout her time at NEO, mentored by health professionals she holds in high regard. She was also actively involved in the National Students Nurses Association.
After she graduated from NEO, Payton began working as a staff nurse in the cardiovascular unit at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Oklahoma Health and Science Center, and her master’s in health care administration from Oklahoma State University. She is currently working toward her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership.
Payton returned to Northeast Oklahoma in 2012 with a passion to serve in Indian health. In 2013, she joined Cherokee Nation Health Services as a Quality Management Nurse. Within two years, she was promoted to Clinic Administrator to help open the Cooweescoowee Health Center in 2015. She oversees a $3.8 million investment in CHC to help expand primary care and dental services.
Payton and her husband, K.J., now reside in Owasso, and they welcomed their first child in August. Her husband, mother, and father all attended NEO, and her father serves as an adjunct instructor at the college.
Some of Payton’s proudest achievements include assisting in opening CHC, completing the Native Graduate Health Fellowship at the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C., and taking a team to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Center for Domestic Preparedness at Fort McClellan.
Payton is an active member of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma, serving as the Tulsa chapter president. She was elected to the state board in 2021. She was part of Leadership Native Oklahoma in 2018 and, more recently, commissioned by the Board of County Commissioners as a Commissioner to the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission.
Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. appointed Payton to serve on the Cherokee Elder Care governing board. She was selected for the Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity Fellowship program, served on the board of directors for Sooner Healthcare Executives, she is an active member of the Oklahoma Nurses Association, serving as director and president for region two, where she is assisting with the development of the Oklahoma Indigenous Nurses Association.
For more information, please contact NEO alumni coordinator Eric Iverson at email@example.com.