Nominations are now open for the 2024 Lula Owl Gloyne – Person of Excellence Award. Download the nomination form HERE.

Each year, the Cherokee Indian Hospital Foundation opens nominations for the Lula Owl Gloyne – Person of Excellence Award. Following the standard of excellence first set by Beloved Woman Lula Owl Gloyne, who worked as the first registered nurse of the EBCI, this annual award serves to honor a deserving individual whose actions and contributions have improved the healthcare of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

EBCI Beloved Woman: Lula Owl Gloyne & Her Legacy

In the 1920s, a new school and new employee housing were both constructed around what would eventually be called “Agency Circle”—today’s home to the Cherokee Phoenix Theatre. Lula Leta Owl (later Lula Owl Gloyne) worked in a small clinic in the basement of the Agency’s administration building. She would go on to become the first registered nurse of the EBCI and later distinguish herself as a Beloved Woman of the Cherokee Tribe.

As the years passed, a small, two-story infirmary for the Cherokee Boarding School was built with the intent to care for boarding school students, and soon the school physician began providing the community with maternity and tuberculosis care. As the physician began to see new patients, the infirmary moved once again, where it served, at long last, as a “hospital”—though one that needed to be much larger and offer more services to truly help Cherokee.

Cherokee Delegation Rallies Support in DC

In the early 1930s, Lula Owl Gloyne traveled with Tribal officials to Washington, DC to testify in front of Congress—to address the need for a fully functioning hospital on the Qualla Boundary. After pleading their case, the Cherokee delegation emerged victorious, with Congress agreeing to provide funding to build the Cherokee Indian Hospital. Official construction began in 1936.

In 1973, a new outpatient clinic area was added, located where the UNITY building now resides in Cherokee. And in 1985, the hospital moved and began to ably serve the Eastern Band. Triumphantly in October 2015, the Tribe received a new 83 million-dollar healthcare facility that enrolled members proudly use today—a state-of-the-art facility providing the highest standards of healthcare, in a unique, Cherokee-infused environment meant to nurture and heal. The old hospital is currently being renovated into a Crisis Stabilization Unit that opened in January 2021 as part of the EBCI’s continued desire to create a recovery continuum available to all who need it on the Qualla Boundary.


Nominees are expected to reflect the following core values:

Contributions to Healthcare: Nominee has made significant contributions to the advancement of healthcare on behalf of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Selflessness: Nominee acts in the best interests of others and promotes their health & wellness.

Accomplished: Nominee has risen above and beyond the call of duty to achieve results. This includes educational and professional achievements and serving as role model and mentor to others.

Resilient: Nominee is an advocate on behalf of others to ensure the prosperity of the next seven generations of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Visionary: Nominee demonstrated forward thinking and a vision for the future of healthcare for the EBCI – regardless of barriers.


Past Recipients:

2023 Winner — Dr. Victoria Harlan

2022 Winner — Mary Wachacha