New River, TN

New River is perhaps best known in the Coalition Story as the name of the great bluegrass band, the New River Boys . For many years, besides local musicians Tommy Philips and others, the bass player for the band was Rick Davidson. Rick also served as medical backup for the health fairs and eventually as the medical director of a network of clinics that grew from the health fairs.

The town itself is located on Highway 27, a main artery that runs through Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau between Alabama/Georgia and Kentucky.

The health fair in New River was especially remarkable for its extreme inaccessibility, as noted by students in the 1971-1972 Annual Report. Roads into and out of New River were often non-functional, washed out by flooding and exacerbated by poor maintenance. Nonetheless, 436 people were examined between July 12th and July 16th that summer. Students also collected detailed data in New River about clinical findings by age and gender, available for review starting on page 230.

Other nearby communities where the Coalition conducted health fairs included Oneida, Robbins, Sunbright, and Deer Lodge.


Related People:

J. Thomas “Tom” John

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Notes from the road: Mountain People’s Health Councils

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Related Resources/Links:

Article: “Second Health Fair in Progress,” from the Oak Ridger

Lunsford, Larry. “Second Health Fair In Progress.” Oak Ridger, 1971. View PDF. Transcription: A second “Health Fair” is currently in progress at the Briceville Elementary School in the Briceville Community west of Lake City. (It continues through Friday.) Sponsored by the Briceville… Continued