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 medicine and public health and the SHC’s vehicle of community organizing that valued more grassroots, community-led change. Furthermore, Joe Little points out that in the effort to acquire funding, Vanderbilt as an institution made claims about their “work in communities” which, really, was entirely operated by students with the Coalition. Despite the tension, Margaret acknowledges that Bill Dow’s anger, while good at keeping students and others honest to the SHC mission, may have blinded him and the Coalition to available support from the university. See the full length panel discussion to learn more about the complex origins of the institutionalized Center for Health Services (CHS) and its relationship to the student-led Coalition.
Recorded December 10th, 2021.