Smithville, TN

By the summer of 1970, the Coalition had grown from just a handful of nursing and medical students into a large and ambitious group of 40+ students from all academic departments at Vanderbilt. They conducted their first health fair that summer in Smithville, Tenn. That fair was largely frustrating and disappointing, for reasons well articulated by Ann Baile Hamric and Rod Lorenz in a video clip documenting The Smithville Story: basically, access to health care, even for low-income residents, was already pretty good for most residents in and around Smithville. But the Coalition learnings from the event were deep and wide, and shaped the work of the Coalition for years to come.

The town itself was largely prosperous compared to smaller coal mining towns further east. It is located about 90 miles east of Nashville. Ever since 1971, it has hosted the now-famous Old Time Fiddler’s Jamboree and Crafts Fair.

See the 1970 SHC Annual Report for more information.

Related People:

Rod Lorenz

Contributed by Rod Lorenz, August 2015. “I was involved in the SHC for its first 2 years, and remember working in several different locations.  In the first year I remember a health fair in White Oak and sleeping quarters in… Continued

Related Stories:

The Smithville Story

  Learn more about Rod Lorenz on his profile page. Continued

Carolyn Burr on Rick Davidson’s mentorship

Carolyn Burr describes her work at the SHC health fairs in Smithville, White Oak, Briceville, and Deer Lodge from 1970-1971. She explains the nature of nursing students’ role in conducting physical exams and providing follow-up care, their skills having been… Continued

Related Resources/Links:

Richard Davidson Photograph Collection, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill

Richard Davidson (1947-), a medical physician and educator, was among the founding participants of the Vanderbilt Student Health Coalition at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. (1970-1971) and the Mountain People’s Health Council in eastern Tennesee (1975-1976). The Student Health Coalition… Continued