Theme: Health Care – People

Leslie Falk

Leslie Falk was born April 19, 1915, and grew up in St. Louis, Mo. After attending University of Illinois and Washington University (St. Louis), Falk received a Rhodes Scholarship, which allowed him to attend Oxford University, 1937-1940, where he helped in developing a process for extracting penicillin from mold. In 1942, Falk received his medical …

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Bill Dow in Smithville TN, 1970

Bill Dow

Bill Dow co-founded the Student Health Coalition while in medical school at Vanderbilt University, in 1969. His larger-than-life role in the SHC origin story and beyond warrants special telling, which we attempt in the essay that follows. Contributed by Margaret Ecker, compiled with good friends sifting through the complicated light that Bill left in our …

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Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) provided support to the Student Health Coalition early on, beginning in 1970.  A TVA van traveled to the Coalition health fairs and included x-ray, lab facilities, and staff to run it.  Retired TVA vans eventually served as early clinic buildings in the communities where the Coalition worked.   TVA is …

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Odes and Shelby McKamey

Odes and Shelby McKamey were among the most cherished local hosts for members of the SHC when the health fair arrived in their remote mountain community of Stoney Fork, Tenn. Later, after the Stoney Fork Clinic was established, the McKameys also housed and hosted visiting doctors who came to the clinic, including Tom John. Odes …

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John Kennedy

The summer before his final year at the Vanderbilt Law School and during the summer and fall after his graduation, John Kennedy worked for the Student Health Coalition in 1971 and 1972. He provided assistance to former miners who were seeking black lung benefits and disability payments from federal and state agencies. He was based …

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Eula Hall

A self-described “Hillbilly Activist”, Eula Hall (Pike County, Ky., 29 October 1927 –  Craynor, Ky., 8 May 2021) was a former Appalachian Volunteer and the leader of the “Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organization” which invited the Student Health Coalition to bring a health fair to Mud Creek, Ky. in the summer of 1971. This was …

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Martha Stucker

Martha was a Catholic nun and a registered nurse working in East Tennessee at the Clairfield clinic in 1969 when Bill Dow first encountered her and engaged her help in designing student-run health fairs. She had been conducting primary care for pregnant women and their children, including dispensing birth control, since before Nurse Practitioner was …

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Jean Carney

Jean was a community leader in the 1960s and 1970s in and around Brownsville, Rossville, and Stanton in West Tennessee.  With help from the health fairs conducted by Student Health Coalition (SHC), including students from Meharry and Vanderbilt, Jean helped ensure the establishment of the first primary care clinic in Stanton, Tenn.  To this day, …

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Dana Ellis

Dana worked West Tennessee health fairs in the summers of 1973 and 1974 while a student in the School of Nursing at Vanderbilt. She served as co-director of the Student Health Coalition alongside George Smith who was in medical school at Meharry Medical College, a historically Black medical school. Together they provided clinical leadership for …

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J. Thomas “Tom” John

I am a bit late in getting my bio in, best done in the earlier stages of pending dotage. I am originally from Laurinburg, N.C., a small farming and, then, textile community in the eastern part of the state. I attended Laurinburg HS and at one time was junior Rotarian of the month. Then to …

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