Denise Smith, director of the Title IV program for Citizen Potawatomi Nation was awarded the Betsy Davis Smith award at the 27th Annual Oklahoma Minority Aging Conference. The award is given yearly by the Oklahoma Minority Task Force on Aging to a recipient who shows integrity and courage, possesses leadership abilities and is dedicated to serving the elderly.

In 1985 Betsy D. Smith coordinated the first conference dedicated to training state workers on how to better serve the minority elderly. Davis’ leadership and dedication was instrumental in developing this conference into a nationally recognized conference with keynote speakers from all national minority aging organizations, representatives from Federal agencies on aging and tribal leaders and aging experts throughout the state and region. Davis embraced Native American culture and allowed greater participation from the Oklahoma Indian Council on Aging, creating a lasting impact on the programs for minority elderly in Oklahoma.

“To receive an award for a job you love to do is amazing. I appreciate other Title VI Directors and Area Agencies on Aging (AAA’s) Directors who nominated me for this award,” said Smith. “We all work very hard for our Elders; they become part of our families.”

Denise Smith has worked with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation elders programs for more than two decades. During her career she has served on the Oklahoma Indian Counsel on Aging and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. As a N4A board member, Denise is one of two members who represent all of the Title VI Programs in the United States.

Currently, she oversees the Citizen Potawatomi Transit Program, Title VI Elders program and the Caregivers Respite Program.

Denise Smith was nominated by the Oklahoma Indian Council on Aging.

The Oklahoma Task Force on Minority Aging presents the Oklahoma Minority Aging Conference. The task force purpose is to promote the effective delivery of services to minority elderly through advocacy and support. The task force was founded in 1983 when Betsy Davis Smith met with the Oklahoma Indian Council on Aging and Aging Services Division to discuss the needs of minority elders in Oklahoma.