Origin Stories

Explored in these reflections are the origins of the Student Health Coalition, the Tennessee Primary Care Association, the Center for Health Services, and other organizational offshoots of the SHC. Also included are the personal stories of several SHC participants, recalling their introduction to the SHC and what enticed them into becoming involved. (More on this latter topic can be found under PEOPLE.)

 

Lark Hayes’ origins with ETRC

Lark Hayes shares her history with the East Tennessee Research Corporation (ETRC), highlighting responsibilities such as putting together a rights and benefits handbook, southern coal property title research, and overloaded coal truck fact-finding (for lawsuits) alongside Charles “Boomer” Winfrey and… Continued

On John McArthur’s background

John McArthur elaborates on how his familial background and upbringing set him apart from many others involved with the Black Lung Association (BLA). Raised in Appalachia, he was radicalized while in college at UTC and shifted his studies from forestry… Continued

ETRC’s first board of directors

John Williams explains the first priority upon establishing the East Tennessee Research Corporation: electing a Board of Directors that could oversee the organization’s operations. Billy Christopher, named Chairman of the Board, Dean Rivkin, and Jack Gibbons were three of the… Continued

Establishing the East Tennessee Research Corporation (ETRC)

John Williams details the development of the East Tennessee Research Corporation (ETRC) as a 501(c)(3) in 1973. Those involved considered a couple different precedented models for doing so, but the organization ultimately achieved its goal with help from Vanderbilt University’s… Continued

On the origins of the Jacksboro Clinic

John Kennedy shares the story behind the establishment of the Jacksboro Clinic (1973) at a 2019 Coalition gathering in Nashville.   Full footage of the 2019 gathering. Continued

SHC appeal and Dick Burr’s decision to join

Dick Burr examines his first impressions of the Coalition and what enticed him to join the effort in 1970.   Full footage of Dick Burr’s interview from March 25th, 2021. Continued

Tom John on the origin of his participation with the SHC and its community-oriented focus

Tom John reflects on how he first got involved with the Coalition, the multi-dimensional impact his SHC involvement had on him, and sets the student-led organization apart from others at the time as he details its community-oriented approach to rural… Continued

Rick Davidson on what led him to work in the mountains with the Coalition

Rick Davidson shares the impetus behind his involvement with the Student Health Coalition and how that decision impacted him both personally and professionally for years to come.   Full footage of the 2013 interview with Tom John and Rick Davidson. Continued

Art Van Zee on the first health fair in St. Charles and early clinic history

Art Van Zee shares about the first health fair in St. Charles, Va. (1973) and expands on the origins of the clinic that still stands today. Recorded March 17th, 2013.   Full footage of Art Van Zee’s interview. Continued

History of the St. Charles Clinic ft. Art Van Zee

Art Van Zee, an active participant in the Student Health Coalition’s work in St. Charles, Va., beginning first in 1973 with a visiting summer clinic, discusses the now more established center’s evolution and his role as a physician there. Recorded… Continued

Charles “Boomer” Winfrey’s origins with SOCM

Boomer discusses his introduction to Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM) in 1972. Inspired by his geological studies and depth of conviction about unregulated strip mining’s adverse effects on both the environment and community health, Boomer has been an active participant… Continued

Maureen O’Connell’s introduction to SOCM and the SHC

Maureen traces the development of her involvement with Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM) and the Student Health Coalition (SHC), beginning with her 1969 introduction to Marie Cirillo and research presence in Clairfield, Tenn. Recorded on May 20th, 2013.   Full… Continued

Dal Macon’s introduction to Bill Dow and the Student Health Coalition

Dal Macon shares his first impressions of Bill Dow and what attracted him to the Student Health Coalition’s (SHC’s) unique approach to community organizing. He frames the SHC and its work of rural healthcare delivery as a mission of listeners… Continued
Left to right: Marian Colette, Minnie Bommer, Tilda Kemplen, Linda Stein, Mary Elliott; Barbara Clinton, Project Director and daughter Greta in front

“Freedom from drain” and the Maternal-Infant Health Outreach Worker Project (MIHOW)

Barbara Clinton shares about the program she started as an appendage of the Student Health Coalition (SHC), known as the Maternal-Infant Health Outreach Worker Project (MIHOW). The largest and most renowned of the SHC’s various outgrowths, this program sought to… Continued
Vista member, Jeff Summerville (right), works alongside community volunteer on the Memphis Greenway.

The Student Environmental Health Program

Barbara Clinton delineates the incitement of Vanderbilt’s Student Environmental Health Program following discovery by SHC participants of widespread water contamination in several rural and inner city communities across Tennessee. This student-led organization attracted those from hard science disciplines to tackle… Continued

Barbara Clinton on the emergence of Vanderbilt’s Center for Health Services

Barbara Clinton discusses the influence of Vanderbilt’s Student Health Coalition (SHC) on various subsequent initiatives, speaking specifically to the extension of its core mission and student-led approach to several programs. She focuses on the Center for Health Services (CHS) and… Continued

Meryl Rice: A brief look into her background as the daughter of Chinese immigrants

Meryl Rice shares about her family’s history and how it’s inspired her to help others. Recorded on June 2, 2018.   Full footage of Randall and Meryl’s discussion about rural healthcare. Continued

Caryl Carpenter talks about the origins of the Tennessee Primary Care Association

Caryl Carpenter, former administrator of the Mountain People’s Health Councils (MPHC) of East Tennessee, talks about formation of the Tennessee Primary Care Association. Recorded on May 17, 2017, as a part of a panel discussion at a reunion of the… Continued

SHC goes to West Tennessee in 1973

Dana Ellis discusses how she got involved and her experience with the first Student Health Coalition (SHC) cohort to visit communities in West Tennessee in 1973. Continued

The Origin Story: In the words of Bill Dow

Several years before he died, Bill Dow agreed to participate in recorded conversations about his farming philosophies, with the idea that he would use the recordings to compose a book about sustainable agriculture. He died in 2012, before the project… Continued

The interview

[Story contributed by Rosalie Hammond, December 2015] I first heard about the Student Health Coalition (SHC) at the end of my freshman year in the spring of 1970 from Lark Hayes. I had not read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. … Continued

Charles Scott reminisces about the Student Health Coalition

An interview with Charles Scott, professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University and early supporter of and participant in the Student Health Coalition (SHC). Continued