Stories

The larger narrative of the Coalition work has been made possible through the steady accumulation of individual stories submitted to the archive over time. Some participants have written down a brief memory about a hog butchering, their home visit, or some other snapshot from the past. Others have recorded longer stories using a tape recorder or video camera. Still others have provided a fuller telling of the birth and growth of a whole community’s engagement with health care, environmental issues, and political power. All stories are collected into this section, organized by categories listed in the drop down menu and on the left side of this screen. See below for quick access to the ten most recently added stories.

Recently Added:

On the Center’s multi-phasic identities and development over time

Irwin Venick, Joe Little, and Bob Hartmann reflect on the birth and growth of the Center for Health Services (CHS) over time, tracing its stages of development from its initial Medical School partnership to its later social-science orientation and eventually,… Continued

On the role of institutional support in community-driven change

Bob Hartmann and Irwin Venick respond to Gillian’s question about how they would approach or encourage others to approach similar student and/or community-led projects today. Bob provides insight into what the Coalition did right and what it could have done… Continued

Resistance to institutionalization: then and now

Bob Hartmann, Irwin Venick, and Joe Little reflect on how the SHC process became institutionalized and the widespread (but split) resistance to it. Bob concludes that if they’d known more about how universities work or approached the formalization process retrospectively,… Continued

Positive impact despite Coalition/Center conflict: Joe Little reflects

Joe Little reflects on the influence of Coalition (and Center) participation on himself (and others) as an individual, choosing to think on how it impacted so many students in positive and profound ways despite the conflict that surrounded the Center… Continued

Competing visions and growing pains: on the Center’s origins

Irwin Venick expands on the competing visions between the SHC and the Center for Health Services (CHS), explaining that once the Center was established, Coalitioners faced the challenge of adjusting to a structure they hadn’t had to in previous installments… Continued

Margaret Ecker reflects on unique nature of the Coalition’s power

Margaret Ecker reflects on the power of the Coalition, however invisible at the time, and its success in changing institutions, unconventional and inchoate though it was. She brings John Gaventa’s conclusion on the matter, as further detailed in his book… Continued

Joe Little on Tricia Nixon’s visit and the Coalition/Center conflict

Joe Little frames Tricia Nixon’s visit to the Center for Health Services (CHS) as a microcosm for the conflict that was going on at the time: some SHC and/or CHS participants and alumni attended the meeting, entertaining the dialogue that… Continued

Coalescing visionary spirit with stabilizing structure: on the Center’s origins

Irwin Venick and Joe Little define the central conflict pertaining to the development of the Center for Health Services (CHS) as the challenge of retaining a Bill-like figure to keep the spirit, vision, and focus of the Coalition alive, yet… Continued

Sir George Pickering visits East Tennessee

Bob Hartmann shares the story of his trip escorting Sir George Pickering, a well-respected hypertension specialist from England who was at the time visiting as a guest professor, and Dr. Grant Liddle and his family to East Tennessee as an… Continued

On institutional benefit of student-led Coalition energy and notoriety

Margaret Ecker and Bob Hartmann discuss how the university seemed to be feeding off of and trying to control Coalition energy and notoriety in the effort to recruit foundation dollars. He shares the story of his trip escorting Sir George… Continued

On the contrast between Coalition and Center approaches to healthcare in Appalachia

Margaret Ecker and Irwin Venick summarize the differences and ensuing conflict between the Coalition’s and the university’s motivations, priorities, and framework of their approach to healthcare in Appalachia. Irwin makes an important distinction between the Medical School’s focus on community… Continued

SHC resistance to university-driven formalization: on the Center’s origins

Bob Hartmann shares the suspicion and intimidation he and others felt in the wake of developing the Center for Health Services (CHS), since the fuel behind it seemed to be coming primarily from and out of the Medical School for… Continued

Irwin Venick on what prompted development of the Center for Health Services

Irwin Venick characterizes the formation of the Center for Health Services (CHS) as an “institutional overlay imposed upon from on high” rather than an impulse among Coalition participants. He explains that most of the university-driven energy to formalize and take… Continued

Bob Hartmann on the Coalition’s pre-Center days

Bob Hartmann contrasts the informal and independent nature of the Coalition’s early, pre-Center days with that of the kind of student work he sees most often today. He draws on the metaphor that, prior to the formalization of the Coalition’s… Continued

Outside convention and against the grain: what set the Coalition apart

Bob Hartmann frames the Coalition work as having absolutely been outside convention and against the grain, in large part due to Bill Dow’s talent at generating and following through with big, extraordinary ideas. He then elucidates one of his favorite… Continued

Bob Hartmann on his follow-up visits with the Bradleys in Petros, Tenn.

Bob Hartmann discusses the informal nature of community organizing characteristic of the Coalition’s work, both prior to and following summer health fairs. He shares the story of his and others’ regular visits back to communities during the academic year, highlighting… Continued

“Community knows best”

Margaret Ecker facilitates a discussion among Irwin Venick, Bob Hartmann, and Joe Little about the philosophies and guiding principles of the SHC. All agree a central facet of the Coalition’s approach was a collective understanding of the local community’s role… Continued

The challenges of traditional rural midwifery

Barbara Clinton explains what she learned of the challenges associated with midwifery in rural areas, traditionally known as granny midwives, and the Center’s resulting impetus to support local women with training and funding through the Maternal-Infant Health Outreach Worker Project… Continued
Left to right: Marian Colette, Minnie Bommer, Tilda Kemplen, Linda Stein, Mary Elliott; Barbara Clinton, Project Director and daughter Greta in front

The role and impact of MIHOW outreach workers

Barbara Clinton frames the Maternal-Infant Health Outreach Worker Project (MIHOW) as a sustainability-driven next step to the care and relationships initiated by Coalition health fairs. She delineates the role outreach workers filled and the immense impact local women had on… Continued

Criteria for and selection process of outreach workers with MIHOW project

Barbara Clinton explains how partnerships between local community health clinics and the Center for Health Services (CHS) facilitated the development of the Maternal-Infant Health Outreach Worker Project (MIHOW). It was up to the community-run clinics to outline criteria for and… Continued
Barbara Clinton 1988

On the funds acquisition for community-inspired MIHOW project

Barbara Clinton shares how the Center for Health Services (CHS) acquired funding for the Maternal-Infant Health Outreach Worker Project (MIHOW), an effort initiated by Dick Couto’s ongoing attempts to convince the Ford Foundation to invest in Appalachia. She also names… Continued

MPHC: rural health clinic or federally qualified community health center?

James Lovett, CEO of Mountain People’s Health Councils, Inc., recalls when and how he first discovered the differences between rural health clinics, community health centers, and the public health department, along with what it meant for MPHC to be a… Continued

James Lovett’s childhood experience at the Norma Health Fair

James Lovett, CEO of Mountain People’s Health Councils, Inc., shares the humorous tale of his experience as a 7 or 8-year-old patient at the Norma Health Fair. See the full length interview to learn more about James Lovett’s legacy with… Continued

Post-health fair formation of community councils and the origins of MPHC in Tennessee

As part of the Student Health Coalition Archive Project, Caryl Carpenter and Rick Davidson meet with James Lovett, CEO of Mountain People’s Health Councils, Inc. Their primary objective is to collect a firsthand account from Lovett and in so doing,… Continued

Joe Little on the early days of the Center for Health Services

Joe Little shares his perspective on the impetus behind the establishment of the Center for Health Services, based on his own recollection and from his deep dive into the archives. Toward the end of this clip, he also briefly touches… Continued