Dungannon, VA

Dungannon is a small town of approximately 300 people, located in Scott County near the southwest tip of Virginia. Dungannon is part of the “Tri-Cities” region made up of Kingston, Tenn., Johnson City, Tenn., and Bristol, Va.

In March of 1975, Nancy Raybin and Mary Anne Atwell of Dryden, Va. proposed Dungannon as a possible site for a health fair in the coming summer. Their hope was that if a clinic could be established there, it might later become affiliated with the clinic in St. Charles, sharing medical services and elevating the profile of both. In April, Mary Anne began meeting with the Dungannon Ruritan Club and with other members of the community. They enthusiastically endorsed the idea of inviting the SHC to visit their town.

That summer, Mary Anne was asked by the SHC to continue working as a consultant to build a community base for the health fair and the possible creation of a new clinic. She provided assistance and shared her contacts with the two SHC community workers who were assigned to Dungannon: Kevin McDonald and David Cheatham.

The health fair was a success, serving 1186 people over a five-day period. In the following weeks, discussions were held about the need for a local clinic. At a community meeting near the summer’s end, local residents watched a video about clinics in East Tennessee that the SHC had supported. The administrator for the St. Charles Clinic, Bill Corr, was also invited to attend. He talked about the process of incorporating and operating a community-controlled clinic. An outcome of this community meeting was the election of an 18-member board of directors, with at least one representative from each of the communities in Scott County. They later incorporated as Clinch River Health Services and began planning for the establishment of their own clinic.

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