2022 Grant Recipients

HOLA (Morristown, Tenn.)


In 2014, the Latino Task Force of Morristown, the Latino Task Force of Knoxville, and the Community Economic Development Network of East Tennessee helped found “HOLA Lakeway” as a grassroots Latino support organization in the 6 county Lakeway region around Morristown. In 2018, with increasing Middle Eastern and Asian immigrants arriving in the area, the mission was expanded to serve all immigrant groups.

On April 5, 2018, the area was the target of President Trump’s largest Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raid of undocumented workers to date. ICE agents, supported by TN Highway Patrol, and military helicopters, detained over 100 workers at the Southeastern Provisions Meatpacking Plant in Bean Station. While the raid generated some local political support, it also generated broad community opposition from residents who rallied to support the undocumented workers and their families. The women of HOLA Lakeway quickly became the leading faces coordinating support for the workers. With many partners, including the Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition, the Highlander Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, workers’ families bore the brunt of Trump’s public relations stunts, as the IRS investigated the privately-owned meat packing plant’s taxes and practices of hiring low paid immigrant labor, and detaining and deporting undocumented workers.

HOLA Lakeway’s mission is “to facilitate the integration of immigrant families into the fabric of the Lakeway community through the values of empowerment, solidarity, and inclusivity.”

Programming includes Workforce training & development, health education materials including COVID- 19 and vaccines provided through the mobile “HOLA Lakeway on the Move” program, English and Spanish language classes, free immigration legal clinics, emergency food assistance, and working with area school systems to improve integration of immigrant students into public schools. One creative educational effort includes establishing “laundromat libraries” to encourage increased English literacy among women.

Various events provide opportunities to expose the whole community to diverse cultures through the arts, food, and multicultural activities, highlighting diversity while promoting unity.

The youth leadership focused “Elevate” program assists students through various transition phases, such as middle to high school, high school to college, entering the workforce, and adapting to a new country. It provides opportunities for language acquisition, leadership and social skills, academic support, parent engagement, and college preparation.

SHADE TREE CLINIC (Nashville, Tenn.)


Providing nearly 2,900 cost-free health services a year, the Shade Tree Clinic’s (STC) origin story and mission emphasize the success of student-led health initiatives. Connections between the Shade Tree Clinic, the Center for Health Services, and the Student Health Coalition go back decades. Dr. Robert F. Miller, Vanderbilt University Medical Center Faculty and STC Medical Director, shares his remarks:

I have known about the Student Health Coalition almost since arriving at Vanderbilt in 1980 and through my associations with Irwin [Venick], Tom John, and Lew [Lefkowitz]. I also enjoyed the fact that many of the people who helped Vanderbilt medical students establish the clinic had in some way had connections to the Student Health Coalition years earlier. I remind students on a regular basis that our commitment to the community follows in your shadow. Irwin brought many members of the Student Health Coalition for a Lefkowitz Hour presentation a few years ago.

Shade Tree provides care for a complicated panel of patients. We began as a primary care clinic in 2005 and have added many specialties. Our patient care is similar to what you did in the 1970s. We have a social worker (our only paid employee). We offer free medications, free transportation when needed, legal services, and some food. Almost all medical students participate in some way. Nearly 100 faculty help as well.

Details about inter-disciplinary collaboration between medical, nursing, pharmacy, and law students along with outcomes of care can be found in the STC Annual Report 2019-2020.



Innovative Covid Outreach

Tennessee Healthcare Campaign (THCC) has launched a COVID vaccination initiative for families living in Hardeman and Haywood Counties, with a particular outreach to underserved Black and Immigrant communities.

Building on alliances with leaders in the Black and Immigrant communities, THCC lifts up the voices of trusted local messengers spreading fact-based information. Through their Vaccine Ambassador program, they encourage local community leaders to promote COVID vaccination.

An innovative approach is their 2022 Back-to-School resource fair in Haywood and Hardeman counties, which provides school aged children and youth with school supplies and health information. Partnering with local civic, fraternal, and service organizations and collaborating with the Tennessee Dept. of Health, this event assures participants the opportunity to get COVID and other vaccinations needed to ensure a healthy school year.

A grant from the Student Health Coalition Legacy Fund supports printing, radio advertising and school supplies for participants.

Community Leadership Focuses on Health Disparities

In Hardeman and Haywood Counties, 20% of residents live below the poverty line and 12% are uninsured. Communities of color are chronically underserved and marginalized. The COVID pandemic exacerbated existing health disparities. Many people of color are uninsured and have limited access to medical care, while working in some of the highest risk occupations. Language, culture and immigration status create additional barriers. Tragically, 218 Haywood and Hardeman Countians have died from COVID illness. Culturally appropriate and community affirming strategies that encourage local community leadership are needed to reach these communities.

According to a February 2022 report by the Tennessee Department of Health, children are making up an increasing percentage of the COVID cases in Tennessee. Vaccination in children greatly reduces the likelihood of severe disease and complications and reduces disruptions to in-person learning. In addition, vaccinated children are less likely to spread the virus to others in the community. But vaccination rates are shockingly low. In Haywood and Hardeman Counties, less than 30% of youth age 12-17 and less than 15% of children age 5-11 are vaccinated.

Health Care Advocacy

The Tennessee Health Care Campaign (THCC) is Tennessee’s leading nonprofit consumer health care advocacy group. THCC’s vision is affordable, equitable access to high quality health care for all Tennesseans. THCC’s enrollment, education, policy analysis and grassroots advocacy has successfully increased the number of insured Tennesseans and promoted policies that improve cost, quality, and transparency in the health care system.

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