Site of the earliest experiences of the Coalition in Appalachia, Clairfield is located in the Cumberland Mountains near the Kentucky border in a coal-rich landscape with a history of community organizing that became a role model for subsequent Coalition work. Since the early 1960s, activists with Presbyterian and Catholic organizations had already established a clinical and social presence. In 1969, they welcomed Vanderbilt students Bill Dow, Pat Maxwell, and others, introducing them to community leaders. Over time, community leaders in Clairfield became role models for others around the region eager to establish community-run primary care clinics. Legal research about taxation and land ownership in and around Clairfield inspired the foundation of SOCM (Save Our Cumberland Mountains).
See the 1969 SHC Annual Report for more information.