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.)

 

On the development of Vanderbilt’s Nurse Practitioner program and other critical role expansions

Pete Moss describes one of the key developments that came about as a result, at least in part, of the Student Health Coalition’s philosophical contributions to the medical arena. He references the origination and evolution of Vanderbilt’s Nurse Practitioner (NP)… Continued

Pete Moss on mentorship and expanding the boundaries of healthcare workers

Pete Moss, who at the time of his involvement with early SHC health fairs (1970) was Vanderbilt’s Chief Resident of Pediatrics, discusses what drew him to the Coalition: the opportunity to mentor students and influence their pursuits in the medical… Continued

Bill Corr reflects on the Coalition’s and Center’s roles in providing avenues to act on values

Bill Corr recounts his introduction to the Student Health Coalition (SHC) and Center for Health Services (CHS) shortly after graduating from Vanderbilt Law School. He was working with the Tennessee Department of Public Health at the time Irwin Venick encouraged… Continued

Coeducation at Vanderbilt

Charles Scott, professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and early supporter of the Student Health Coalition (SHC), frames the development of coeducation and feminist-driven policy reform under Chancellor Alexander Heard and the Dean of Women, Margaret Cunningham–ongoing at the time… Continued

Charles Scott meets Bill Dow

Charles Scott, professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and early supporter of the Student Health Coalition (SHC), shares the story of how he and Bill Dow first met. Follow this link for access to the full-length discussion. Recorded May 2019. Continued

What drew Carolyn Burr to the Coalition

Carolyn Burr shares how she first got involved with the Student Health Coalition (SHC) and what about the organization spoke to her, framing it as an opportunity to live out her values for sociopolitical activism in a way that was… Continued

“We had to work with one hand and fight with the other”

Kate Bradley narrates the process by which Mountain Peoples Health Council (MPHC) acquired land to build the Petros Clinic. She describes the stiff political atmosphere in Nashville, where she went to plead her case before a judge, and explains why… Continued

Formation of Mountain Peoples Health Council (MPHC)

Kate and J.W. Bradley ponder who first suggested Petros, Stoney Fork, and Norma band together to form the Mountain Peoples Health Council (MPHC), why, and how it was made possible–in large part thanks to Rick Davidson’s role as the first… Continued

On the Bradley’s motivation to organize a community clinic in Petros, Tenn.

Kate Bradley frames the initiative to organize a local health council and community clinic as a direct response to the Petros health fair’s preliminary identification of needs. She details early fundraising efforts, including Pat Kalmans’ key role in securing grant… Continued

Key players in the health fair and early days of the clinic in Petros, Tenn.

Caryl Carpenter, Rick Davidson, and Irwin Venick meet with Kate and J.W. Bradley to discuss the Petros health fair and community clinic. They list several of the early players involved with both, including Wanda and Gary Lang, Bob Hartmann, John… Continued

Reflections on the legacy of coal camp healthcare and success of the St. Charles Clinic

Several closely tied to the St. Charles Clinic gather to discuss what contributed to its success and reminisce about past generations of healthcare in the area, namely during the time large coal companies were active. They emphasize the determination of… Continued

On healthcare education and mentoring

Art Van Zee discusses the value of healthcare education and mentoring. He expresses gratitude for the nurturing and supportive environment both his parents cultivated for him as a child; for Sister Beth Davies’ mentorship in the field of addiction-related healthcare… Continued

Nancy Raybin’s onboarding and role as Director of the St. Charles Clinic, 1974

Nancy Raybin discusses her onboarding and role as the Director of the St. Charles Clinic from 1974 to 1976, a period during which she hired Polly McClanahan as the clinic’s Nurse Practitioner (NP), recruited Art Van Zee as the clinic’s… Continued

An overview of Nancy Raybin’s SHC experience

Nancy Raybin recaps her time with the Student Health Coalition, from initial introduction during the spring semester and subsequent participation as a community organizer in St. Charles, Va. during the summer of 1973 to serving as co-Director–alongside Randy Hodges and… Continued

On training at Nashville General with Pete Moss and Bill Dow

Rosie Hammond elaborates on her training prior to working in the mountains with the Coalition during the summer of 1971. She had met Bill Dow and received clinical mentoring from Pete Moss at Nashville General the year prior, explaining that… Continued

Margaret Ecker’s introduction to the Coalition and its role in her shift of career pursuits

Margaret Ecker describes her introduction to the Student Health Coalition during the summer of 1970. She had just graduated from Vanderbilt University with plans to pursue a law degree. Having not yet set the intention to pursue a career in… Continued

Rosie Hammond’s introduction to the Student Health Coalition, fall of 1970

Rosie Hammond shares how she first got involved with the Coalition in the fall of 1970 and describes her role as a pediatric examiner, including both the training she received alongside second year med students beforehand and her follow-up work… Continued

John Williams and Neil McBride on their work with ETRC

This snippet of a much longer and more comprehensive interview with John Williams and Neil McBride serves merely as a brief overview and cursory introduction of these two key figures and their role with the East Tennessee Research Corporation (ETRC)… Continued

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

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

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

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

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

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

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