OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 26, 2021) –The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Board of Directors on Tuesday chose new officers to lead the board in 2021.
Michelle Stephens, of Weatherford, was selected as chair of the Board. Stephens had previously served as vice-chair. Bruce Benjamin, Ph.D., of Claremore, was selected as vice-chair. He had previously served as chair.
“Since its creation by voters 20 years ago, TSET has seen remarkable success in reducing rates of tobacco use and focusing attention on preventing the chronic conditions that cause so many premature deaths in our state,” Stephens said. “Now, reaffirmed by voters last November, I look forward to helping TSET build on the last two decades of work while finding innovative ways to face new health challenges like teen vaping and increasing obesity.”
Stephens is an attorney who previously served on the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services, the State Board of Education and the state CareerTech Board. Stephens has been a practicing attorney since 1992. She earned her law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law after graduating from Oklahoma Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Stephens is a member of the Board of Trustees for Oklahoma Christian University and served on the Weatherford Board of Education. She also is a member of the Oklahoma State 4-H Horse Council. She and her husband, Weatherford dentist Dr. Brian Stephens, have two children. Stephens was appointed to the TSET Board by former Governor Mary Fallin.
Benjamin is the vice provost for graduate programs; interim vice president for research; and an associate professor of physiology at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences. As vice provost, Benjamin serves in a leadership role for the graduate programs in biomedical sciences, forensic sciences, healthcare administration and athletic training. Before joining the faculty at OSU-CHS in 1997, he was an assistant professor of cell biology at Duke University Medical Center, a research scientist at Texas A&M University and University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, and a National Research Council Research Associate at NASA/AMES Research Center. He received his bachelor’s degree from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, and his doctorate at OU. He is a member of the American Physiological Society and the Oklahoma Physiological Society. Benjamin was appointed by former Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman.
To read more Board announcements, visit the TSET newsroom.
The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health.
TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health