HealthCorps®, an organization co-founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa Oz to promote healthy youth lifestyles, honored Marlo Thomas and Harold Hamm for their contributions at their 7th Annual Gala, the “Grassroots Garden Gala,” on Wednesday, April 17, at Gotham Hall in New York City. The Gala, emceed by Dr. Oz, had over 500 guests in attendance including Jermaine Paul, Daphne Oz, Naughty By Nature, Phil Donahue and Alejandro Chaban.

Dr. and Mrs. Oz co-founded HealthCorps in 2003 to provoke healthy lifestyle changes through youth implemented programs. Last week I had the opportunity to chat with the Gala's most notable guests on the red carpet to learn more about the charitable organization.

“The reason I’m proud of HealthCorps and the reason why we love these Galas is because it’s both, on an emotional and a physical level, a way of  giving back,” said Dr. Oz. “You also get much more than you’d ever be able to give.”

Although the pair is dedicated to giving back, Lisa Oz shared, “What I love about tonight is that it’s a celebration – the hard work all year long, the kids, the schools and making a change. And tonight is really about celebrating the differences they’ve made and seeing the kinds of things that they do.”

The couple’s eldest daughter, Daphne Oz, was also in attendance to celebrate HealthCorps’ 7th Annual Gala. “When we started this charity as a family it was really with this idea that with information comes power,” she explained. “And every year that we do this gala, every year that we spread the word to more and more people who are able to affect a change in their own communities, it makes it that much more exciting for us because the information really starts to take on a life of its own.”

Marlo Thomas, the Gala’s honoree, boasted about the Oz family’s tireless efforts to HealthCorps. “I love what Dr. Oz is doing, not just on his show and by making us all understand what health is about, but he’s also encouraging children and parents to make children well and healthy.”

Thomas, an actress, producer and social activist, became the spokesperson for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 1991. Her husband, media personality Phil Donahue, also shared his appreciation for Dr. Oz. “I have to say, he’s a very good talk show host,” said Donahue. “He’s also the most respected physician in the country – and I resent it!,” he joked. With all jokes aside, Donahue expressed that Dr. Oz has become such a “major figure in modern health,” speaking in a way that “everyone understands.”

Alejandro Chaban, actor, author and HealthCorps Ambassador, expressed his pride as one of the few Hispanic ambassadors in HealthCorps. Chaban has a deep connection with the organization because of his past struggles with his weight. “I used to be 314 pounds,” he explained. “I lost all of the weight and then I had the pleasure to meet the whole team and Dr. Oz and became inspired by him and his story.”

The Grassroots Garden Gala kicked off the night with a “health fair” hour highlighting HealthCorps’ current curriculum. The main event included a black tie dinner, performances from Naughty By Nature, the Eturnity Band and Jermaine Paul, in addition to speeches by the honorees and a live auction.

Jermaine Paul, winner of The Voice (Season 2), treated guests to a live performance. Although The Grassroots Garden Gala marked his first live performance for the organization, he’s attended four HealthCorps’ Galas in the past. “Every time they do a HealthCorps Gala there’s always something cool going on,” Paul explained.

HealthCorps is currently in 66 schools in 14 states and the District of Columbia. The organization hopes to have a presence in 100 schools by 2015.

To learn more about HealthCorps, visit