Crab Orchard is located at the edge of the Cumberland Plateau, at the foot of the Crab Orchard Mountains. The city limits of this small community of approximately 850 people were established through incorporation in 1973. In Spring of the following year, several community groups met with leaders of the SHC to explore the possibility of holding a health fair in Crab Orchard during the summer of 1974.
The Student Health Coalition did not hold a health fair in Crab Orchard, but an SHC community worker was assigned to stay there that summer. Earlier, Norman Curtis, a field manager for Project Concern in Appalachia, had seeded the notion of establishing a primary care clinic in the area. Local residents were keenly interested in this possibility, but they had little idea of what the operation (and funding) of a full-time clinic might entail.
The job assigned to SHC’s community worker, Jim Young, a pre-med student from Duke University, was to build a base of support among community residents while assessing the feasibility of developing such a clinic. The Cumberland Peoples Health Council had been formed by the time of Jim Young’s departure at the summer’s end.
See the 1974 SHC Annual Report for more information.