West Tennessee

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The Origin Story: In the words of Bill Dow

Several years before he died, Bill Dow agreed to participate in recorded conversations about his farming philosophies, with the idea that he would use the recordings to compose a book about sustainable agriculture. He died in 2012, before the project… Continued

Randall and Meryl Rice on the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment process and their role as navigators

Randall and Meryl Rice explain the internet connectivity and computer literacy hurdles of online enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in rural West Tennessee and expand on their role as navigators in problem-solving the complexity of this process. Barbara… Continued

Meryl Rice shares an Affordable Care Act enrollment success story

Meryl Rice shares an enrollment success story focused on the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) across party lines. Her assistance in this case speaks to the importance of the expansion of affordable healthcare, particularly in low-income rural communities… Continued

Minnie Bommer’s encounter with hospital segregation

Having overcome the adversity of racially biased employment discrimination imposed upon her at the outset of her nursing career, Minnie Bommer shares also about the realities of healthcare inequities and segregation experienced post-hire at a hospital in Covington, Tenn. Recorded… Continued

Dick Couto

The following text was part of a memorial by Irwin Venick during a gathering of Coalition alumni at Vanderbilt University, May 20, 2017. Richard (Dick) Couto served as Co-Director and then Director of the Center for Health Services (CHS) from… Continued

Barbara Clinton on the concept of psychological defensive denial and Medicaid expansion

During discussion with Randall and Meryl Rice about Medicaid expansion, Barbara Clinton comments on the role of psychological defensive denial in both the rejection of reality and voting against one’s best interest. Recorded on June 2, 2018.   Full footage… Continued

Randall Rice on the activist response to challenges imposed on the Affordable Care Act in West TN

Randall Rice discusses state-sanctioned roadblocks to the expansion of affordable healthcare among rural populations in West Tennessee. He also shares about his and others’ success in overcoming these challenges with the support of the nonprofit public policy advocacy organization, Tennessee… Continued

SHC goes to West Tennessee in 1973

Dana Ellis discusses how she got involved and her experience with the first Student Health Coalition (SHC) cohort to visit communities in West Tennessee in 1973. Continued

Randall and Meryl Rice on the miseducation about Medicaid expansion

Randall and Meryl Rice discuss misconceptions about and resulting aversions to Medicaid expansion, as well as the repercussions of refusing to adopt it—namely, rural hospital closures. Recorded on June 2, 2018.   Full footage of their discussion about rural healthcare. Continued

Jean Carney on the motivation to build the Stanton, Tenn. health clinic

Carney discusses how segregation created healthcare disparities in her community and provides a historical account of the health clinic in Stanton, Tenn. Recorded October of 2017. Continued

Randall Rice on the origins of his and Meryl’s work rolling out the Affordable Care Act in West TN

Randall Rice shares about his and Meryl’s involvement in assisting with open enrollment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in rural West Tennessee communities. Their work began in 2013, developed from a need left by the absence of major enrollment… Continued

Irwin Venick

Contributed by Irwin Venick, May 2016 I arrived in Nashville, Tenn. on a hot, humid day in August 1971 not really knowing what to expect. One thing for sure was that I was not in Kansas (meaning for me, New… Continued

Pushback against Douglas Community Health Center

Jean Carney shares how rhetoric against the Black-run Douglas Community Health Center manifested as several false accusations and presented various legal challenges to both the clinic and associated nurse practitioners.   Full footage of Jean Carney at the old Douglas… Continued

Minnie Bommer on racially charged employment discrimination and her journey to nursing career

Minnie Bommer shares her tumultuous experience at the outset of her nursing career, detailing the extent of racially biased obstacles intended to bar her from hire at hospitals in Tipton County, Tenn. Recorded on June 1, 2018.   Full footage… Continued

Challenges facing nurse practitioners

Outside the old clinic building of what used to be Douglas Community Health Center, Margaret Ecker and Jean Carney discuss the multitude of challenges facing nurse practitioners and what legislative movement’s been made to overcome adversity of such restrictive practice.… Continued

Square Morman’s sons on 1960s civil unrest and Tent City

Dana Ellis, a nurse and co-director of the West Tennessee Student Health Coalition, asks two of Square Morman’s sons what it was like in the early 1960s — from racial tensions to the development of “Tent City.” Recorded on June… Continued

Behind the scenes at Douglas Community Health Center

Jean Carney reminisces the early days of Douglas Community Health Center in Stanton, Tenn. Following a brief overview of the clinic’s architectural layout and functional operations, she delves into the impact of race relations on healthcare at the time.  … Continued

Rev. Anderson on the origins and operation of Tent City

Rev. Anderson discusses the foundation of Tent City in Fayette County, Tenn. and other community responses to the civil rights violations imposed on Black sharecroppers registered to vote. He links one of the leading incentives behind registration to Black representation… Continued

Randall and Meryl Rice call for political change in the interest of Medicaid expansion

Randall and Meryl Rice discuss the influence of Tennessee’s political climate on Medicaid expansion and affordable healthcare in rural communities and introduce the resolution which developed in response, an initiative known as Insure Tennessee. They highlight the importance of applying… Continued

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… Continued

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… Continued

Dana Ellis: Personal reflections

In this video clip, Dana Ellis reflects on her personal experiences as a student nurse working with community leaders in rural West Tennessee back in the early 1970s and how that work affected her career and her life. Continued