West Tennessee

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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

Sharon Roberson on her family stay and community relationships in West TN

Sharon Roberson provides insight into the dynamic of student stays with local families and developing community relationships, including the mutually shared desire not to disrupt existing social norms that would persist after they left.   Full footage of Sharon Roberson’s… 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

Annual Report: 1973 (West Tennessee Project)

Full Title: Rural Student Health Coalition, West Tennessee Project: 1973 The Student Health Coalition Annual Reports summarize the goals, outcomes and activities for each summer’s health fairs and special projects. Some reports include rosters of volunteers and participants, as well as lists and… 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

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

Sharon Roberson on Black deference to White people in West Tennessee

Sharon Roberson describes an air conditioning situation in the Haywood County Public Health Services building which, to her surprise, highlighted how Black people, according to custom and engrained mentality, demonstrated deference to the White demographic.   Full footage of Sharon… 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

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

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

Grant proposal process for the Douglas Community Health Center

Jean Carney details the convoluted grant proposal and approval process for establishing the Douglas Community Health Center, and the lengths to which she and others had to go to make it happen. Despite the several setbacks, she persisted and the… 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

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

Origins of the Douglas Community Health Center’s Board of Directors

Jean Carney recounts the story of how the Board of Directors for the Douglas Community Health Center in Stanton, Tenn. first came to be, as well as the role Irwin Venick‘s feasibility study played in determining the community’s need for… 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

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

Sharon Roberson’s work with the YWCA

Sharon Roberson delves into more detail about her ongoing work with the YWCA and how her experience with the Coalition shaped the values which, to this day, inspire her professional priorities.   Full footage of Sharon Roberson’s 2018 oral history… 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

Appealing to community leaders, the health fair model, and rights and benefits counseling in West TN

Sharon Roberson describes the student-led approach to community organizing in West Tennessee, such as appealing to established community leaders (namely, ministers from local churches). She also details the health fair model and rights and benefits counseling, both of which were… Continued

Sharon Roberson on institutional racism and her invitation to Chancellor Heard’s home

Sharon Roberson shares what she’s most proud of from her time in West Tennessee, explaining how it cultivated greater depth to her critical understanding of institutional racism and the ensuing drive to educate others on the matter.   Full footage… 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

West TN summers and their impact on Sharon Roberson’s career arc

Sharon Roberson shares how her experience with the Center for Health Services informed her professional pursuits, particularly as it relates to combatting the mentality she’d witnessed among many people in West Tennessee–that being the impetus not to “rock the boat”… Continued

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

Jean 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

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

“Whites treated Whites and Blacks treated Blacks”

Sharon Roberson discusses her witness of racial segregation in rural West Tennessee healthcare (circa late 1970s), noting how said disparities severely limited access to healthcare for many in the area.   Full footage of Sharon Roberson’s 2018 oral history interview. 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

Sharon Roberson’s early involvement with the Center for Health Services

Sharon Roberson tells of her first getting involved with the Center for Health Services, a Vanderbilt-sponsored affiliate program of the Student Health Coalition. She worked in West Tennessee (primarily Haywood County) and explains that unique to this region, in comparison… 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

Differences between West and East TN core injustices and approach to community organizing

Sharon Roberson describes community organizing work over time and the growing tension that transpired among Vanderbilt students from one summer to the next, particularly in light of apartheid in South Africa and the ongoing domestic fight for civil rights. Many… 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

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

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

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

Inadequacies of healthcare system in Stanton, Tenn.

Jean Carney discusses the several, primarily race-related inadequacies of the healthcare system in Stanton, Tenn. prior to the 1977 establishment of the Douglas Community Health Center.   Full footage of Jean Carney’s tour and narrative of the Douglas Community Health… Continued

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