Williamson County, TN

Williamson County is located south of Nashville in Middle Tennessee. In 1969, the first iteration of the Student Health Coalition, comprised of five medical students and two nursing students, conducted screenings of children in a Head Start program in Williamson County. Students went on to build on this early experience to craft health fairs and community organizing efforts in the more rural communities of East and West Tennessee.

Excerpt from the Annual Report:

One of the most striking discoveries [this summer] was the complexity of the interdependent relationships between the delivery of quality health care and other community problems. Legal, economic, and environmental conditions are closely linked to the existing situation, and progress must be made in each of these non-medical areas before twentieth century health care can become a reality for these people. [Next] year’s project includes law and non-professional students, as well as local helpers, to achieve a more comprehensive view of problems.

See the 1969 SHC Annual Report for more information.

Related People:

Bill Dow in Smithville ,Tenn., 1970

Bill Dow

Bill Dow co-founded the Student Health Coalition while in medical school at Vanderbilt University, in 1969. His larger-than-life role in the SHC origin story and beyond warrants special telling, which we attempt in the essay that follows. Contributed by Margaret… Continued

Related Stories:

Margaret Ecker on early SHC work: dental screening in Williamson County, Tenn.

Margaret Ecker shares the story of Bill Dow’s and Pat Maxwell’s collaborative dental screening of children at a Headstart in Williamson County, Tenn. She frames it as an early manifestation of the SHC’s Saul Alinsky-inspired approach to addressing community public… Continued

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