St. Charles Clinic

After the 1975 health fair In St. Charles, Va., the local health council worked tirelessly to build a permanent clinic. By 1976, that clinic had opened to the public.  And over time, it grew into a network of 12 regional primary care clinics that serve over 20,000 people in rural southwestern Virginia.


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The role of community control in structure of Stone Mountain Health Clinics

Art Van Zee discusses the impact of community agency on the success of the St. Charles Clinic and the key role local ownership plays in rural healthcare centers. Recorded March 17th, 2013.   Full footage of Art Van Zee’s interview. Continued

Interview with Mary Herr by Jessie Wilkerson, May 19 2011, Southern Oral History Program, UNC Chapel Hill

Mary Herr was born in Springfield, Ill. in 1940. In 1978 she moved to Cherokee, N.C. where she has worked on many community development projects, primarily in legal aid services. Herr begins the interview by discussing her family history; a… Continued

J. Thomas “Tom” John

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The renaming of “Negro Head Rock”

Ron Carson showcases an old check with an emblem of what used to be called “Negro Head Rock” and shares the story about his grandmother’s 1968 petition to have it renamed. It’s now known as Stoneface Rock. Interestingly, former Student… Continued

On Art Van Zee’s decision to stay in St. Charles

Art Van Zee shares the motivation behind his decision to stay at the clinic in St. Charles, Va., long after the Student Health Coalition’s activity there. His story is but one example of the long-term impact the SHC had on… Continued

Nancy Raybin

Nancy worked with SHC in the summers of 1973 and 1974 as a community organizer in St. Charles, Va. and then as co-director of the Coalition in East Tennessee and western Virginia.  She was at that time an undergraduate student… Continued

Cathy Barrow Heck and Jeff Heck

Contributed by Cathy Barrow Heck I was absolutely sold on the Appalachian Student Health Coalition upon seeing the video as a nursing student in the fall of 1973. The idea of a team of students working in partnership with rural… Continued

Tish Crane Rainey

Contributed by Tish Crane Rainey, March 2017. I participated in the Student Health Coalition the summer of 1975. I had just finished my first year in nursing school at Vanderbilt with an eye on becoming a nurse midwife. That fall… Continued

First integrated band in St. Charles, VA: Smith Carson and the Black and White Melody Boys

Ron Carson shares about his grandfather’s, Smith Carson, first integrated band in the area: the Black and White Melody Boys. Their legacy throughout the South includes having played with Louis Armstrong and Elvis Presley.   Full footage of Ron Carson’s… Continued

Art Van Zee’s message to students today

Art Van Zee discusses how the legacy of St. Charles Clinic may serve as inspiration to students today, and encourages them to harness a belief that they, too, should feel empowered to get involved in social movements. Recorded March 17th,… Continued

Art Van Zee on the opioid epidemic in southwestern Virginia

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Rebecca Joffrion Ingle

Contributed by Rebecca (Becca) Joffrion Ingle. I was born in Starkeville, Miss. in 1952, but grew up from age 5 in Huntsville, Ala. This small, sleepy Alabama town exploded in growth and diversity during those years with the coming of… Continued

Art Van Zee on the first health fair in St. Charles and early clinic history

Art Van Zee shares about the first health fair in St. Charles, Va. (1973) and expands on the origins of the clinic that still stands today. Recorded March 17th, 2013.   Full footage of Art Van Zee’s interview. Continued

Dr. Daniel Gabriel’s legacy in St. Charles, VA

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The power of multi-generational primary care

Art Van Zee describes how meaningful the opportunity to provide care for several generations of the same family has been on his medical career, and why community-run clinics in rural areas, such as the one in St. Charles, model a… Continued

History of the St. Charles Clinic ft. Art Van Zee

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1976 St. Charles Health Clinic, VA

After the 1975 health fair in St. Charles, Va., the local health council worked tirelessly to build a permanent clinic. By 1976, that clinic had opened to the public. And over time, it grew into a network of 12 regional… Continued

“I will always be grateful for the gifts that the work and the people of those summers gave to me.”

[Story contributed by Angela Carroll Healy, M.D.] Dear All, Seeing the videos and reading the memories of other Coalitioners has made me want to share what working with the Student Health Coalition (SHC) meant to me. I was a Brooklyn… Continued

Post-Reconstruction African American migration and the St. Charles coal camps

Ron Carson details post-Reconstruction African American migration trends from cotton fields to coal camps in St. Charles, Va. (including migration years later in the mid-20th century to northern urban centers for manufacturing jobs) and their impact on resulting Black diaspora… Continued

Art Van Zee on community hosts Howard and Elsie Elliot

Art Van Zee reminisces Howard and Elsie Elliot, a local couple with whom many Student Health Coalition (SHC) participants were welcomed to stay. He highlights their hospitality as a hallmark of the Coalition’s community-centered approach to effective organizing. Continued

Hearts of Gold

Brought to us by Margaret Ecker and others involved in its 2013 production, this special collection of insights from several Student Health Coalition (SHC) figureheads in the 1970s features Bill Dow, Bill Corr, Carolyn Burr, Dal Macon, and Marie Cirillo–among… Continued

Bridging a cultural divide: St. Charles welcomes SHC students, 1973

Art Van Zee reminisces the power of St. Charles’ warm welcome to students in the summer of 1973, commenting on the richness and impact of mountain culture on nurturing sustainable community relationships. Recorded March 17th, 2013.   Full footage of… Continued

St. Charles Health Clinic

“The St. Charles Health Clinic” (19 mins, 53 secs) Interviews with St. Charles community members and members of the Vanderbilt University Student Health Coalition about the need for local health care services and the successful efforts of both groups to… Continued