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Employee Spotlight: Passion for Public Health is Personal for J.T. Petherick

J.T. Petherick has been a vital part of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma since joining the company in 2012. His passion for public health, inspired by his active lifestyle, plays a key role in his position as the associate vice president of government relations. 

From a young age, sports played an important role for this Tulsa native.

“I was pretty active growing up,” Petherick says. “I played several sports, but eventually focused on soccer. I played soccer in high school for both club and the high school team and later on in college. After I was finished playing, I was looking for something to stay active.”

Petherick attended Tulsa Public Schools. He is a graduate of Northeastern State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He also has a master’s degree in public health from OU Health Sciences Center.  

Following his days on the soccer field, Petherick got into distance running. He completed his first marathon in 1996 and has finished 22 more in 13 states. Washington is the farthest Petherick has traveled to compete in a marathon. His latest marathon took him to Georgia in late February.

The father of three has also competed in multiple triathlons, including four Ironman Triathlon competitions. Ironman events are a supreme test of endurance, consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a full marathon.

What does Petherick enjoy most about competing in these events?

“I think it’s fun to still push myself,” he says. “There are also a lot of mental health aspects of staying active and it’s a great way to take your mind off of stuff. Competing in different places, you’re getting to explore other areas as well.”

Petherick is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and also of Cherokee, Seminole and English descent. Prior to joining BCBSOK, Petherick held positions with the Cherokee Nation, National Indian Health Board and Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission. One of his more memorable outdoor adventures came several years ago when Petherick biked the northern route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears. 

“It was an amazing experience,” Petherick says. “The trail starts in Georgia and goes through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and into Oklahoma. You get to see so much along the way and learn a lot of history.”

Working at BCBSOK, Petherick enjoys championing the advancement of public health.

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma is a leader in the state, we’re in a really strong position to do some good in Oklahoma,” Petherick says. “What I love about my role is we get to contribute to positive changes benefitting the health of Oklahomans. I also enjoy how the company supports and encourages their employees to serve in their communities.”

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association