In 2001, Cherokee National Health Services developed a long-range plan which identified a need to expand health services in Northeast Oklahoma including the Muskogee area. In 2005, Cherokee Nation Health Services submitted a Joint Venture Construction application to Indian Health Service (IHS), which was approved, becoming the largest IHS Joint Venture Indian Health Clinic to date.
The design was influenced by a period that the Cherokee people refer to as the Golden Age: the time between postremoval and pree-1900. During this time in their history, education was emphasized and facility construction was booming. The Golden Age was a time of prosperity for the Cherokee people after having overcome terrible hardship during the removal years.
The culture, history and traditions of the Cherokee people are part and parcel to the design of the Three Rivers Health Center. Traditional Cherokee design elements include a facility entrance from the east, round brick columns reminiscent of the old Seminary Columns, the incorporation of the seven-pointed star, forms and materials form their traditional council house, and traditional symbols and art - all of which are important components to the larger goal of improving the user experience through cultural identification.