Philosophies/Evolving Concepts

Underlying the Student Health Coalition (SHC) was a set of values, perspectives, and priorities about how health care should be delivered in a rural setting, how communities should be involved in their own care and development, and how a just society might be created. This patchwork philosophy of social change was neither fully formed nor entirely embraced by every SHC participant. It also changed over time, as each summer brought a new crop of students and professionals. But most participants, health workers, and community workers alike understood that the SHC’s approach to community-based health care represented a radical departure from the status quo. Most endorsed the core concepts behind the SHC’s attempts to reinvent primary health care, organize for community power, and expand the boundaries of professional practice. (More on this underlying philosophy can be found under THEMES.)

 

Differences between West and East TN core injustices and approach to community organizing

Sharon Roberson describes community organizing work over time and the growing tension that transpired among Vanderbilt students from one summer to the next, particularly in light of apartheid in South Africa and the ongoing domestic fight for civil rights. Many… Continued

Neil McBride on the spirit of ETRC

Lark Hayes highlights Neil McBride’s thoughtfulness and tenacity in his litigative work with the East Tennessee Research Corporation (ETRC), and shares an email verbalizing his perception of ETRC’s empowering spirit.   Full footage of the 2017 ETRC panel featuring John… Continued

“Get your hand off my shoulder.”

Dick Burr tells the story of a heated confrontation that ensued between him and a middle-class community member during a gathering of organizers strategizing how to empower the poorest in the community. His reflections on this confrontational style of organizing… Continued

Dick Burr on Coalition successes and mistakes

Dick Burr reflects on how the SHC succeeded in its approach to community organizing and posits, in retrospect, how the student-led coalition fell short. He focuses primarily on the value of a more intersectional approach to the needs of poor… Continued

Reflections on the level of care at SHC health fairs

Tom John and Rick Davidson retrospectively comment on the level and quality of care provided at the Student Health Coalition summer health fairs, and how theses experiences shaped their own understanding of and perspective on healthcare.   Full footage of… Continued

What the SHC did (and didn’t do) well

Tom John and Rick Davidson share their retrospective thoughts on how the Student Health Coalition succeeded, as well as how, in certain respects, the SHC could have operated differently. These critical reflections offer insight to community organizing efforts today, particularly… Continued

Tom John and Rick Davidson on their ongoing connections with community members

Tom John and Rick Davidson share the depth of their many relationships born from their respective Student Health Coalition experiences, and the long-term impact said connections have had.   Full footage of the 2013 interview with Tom John and Rick… Continued

The role of community control in structure of Stone Mountain Health Clinics

Art Van Zee discusses the impact of community agency on the success of the St. Charles Clinic and the key role local ownership plays in rural healthcare centers. Recorded March 17th, 2013.   Full footage of Art Van Zee’s interview. Continued

Art Van Zee on the opioid epidemic in southwestern Virginia

Art Van Zee was among the first physicians in the U.S. to warn people about the dangers of OxyContin and take a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company head on for its marketing blunders. He describes his witness of the problem rapidly… Continued

The power of multi-generational primary care

Art Van Zee describes how meaningful the opportunity to provide care for several generations of the same family has been on his medical career, and why community-run clinics in rural areas, such as the one in St. Charles, model a… Continued

On Art Van Zee’s decision to stay in St. Charles

Art Van Zee shares the motivation behind his decision to stay at the clinic in St. Charles, Va., long after the Student Health Coalition’s activity there. His story is but one example of the long-term impact the SHC had on… Continued

Bill Dow as a community organizer in Appalachia

Maureen O’Connell and Charles “Boomer” Winfrey reflect on Bill Dow‘s character and personal philosophy about community organizing. They describe him as an other-oriented person driven by creative, actionable service and mutually respectful relationships best illustrated by his perception of and… Continued

Reflections on the SHC’s approach to community healthcare

Charles “Boomer” Winfrey and Maureen O’Connell consider what set the Student Health Coalition (SHC) apart from other community development efforts in the Appalachian region of East Tennessee. Boomer focuses on the Coalition’s and Save Our Cumberland Mountains’ (SOCM’s) value of… Continued

Community reception of Student Health Coalition participants

Dal Macon shares how local communities perceived, received, and supported Student Health Coalition (SHC) participants, as well as how their approach to relationship-building manifested.   Full footage of interview with Dal Macon. Continued

Was the Student Health Coalition radical? Dal Macon responds.

Dal Macon distinguishes the Student Health Coalition’s (SHC’s) activism from other “radical” movements of the time. He expounds on the context of what it meant to be “radical”, how it was generally perceived, and why SHC participants didn’t identify as… Continued

The focal role of listening in community organizing

Dal Macon highlights the Student Health Coalition’s (SHC’s) emphasis on listening as the primary agent of sustainable, lasting community change. Solidifying its importance, Dal shares how this philosophy impacted his long-term relationship-building with community members and overall connection to the… 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

Hearts of Gold

Brought to us by Margaret Ecker and others involved in its 2013 production, this special collection of insights from several Student Health Coalition (SHC) figureheads in the 1970s features Bill Dow, Bill Corr, Carolyn Burr, Dal Macon, and Marie Cirillo–among… Continued

Challenges facing nurse practitioners

Outside the old clinic building of what used to be Douglas Community Health Center, Margaret Ecker and Jean Carney discuss the multitude of challenges facing nurse practitioners and what legislative movement’s been made to overcome adversity of such restrictive practice.… Continued

Bob Hartmann on the importance of defining health beyond the physical

Bob Hartmann explains how his and many others’ formative experience in rural healthcare and community medicine with the Center for Health Services (CHS), Student Health Coalition (SHC), and Mountain People’s Health Councils (MPHC)—both as students and young professionals—left a lasting… Continued

Sally Kimberly’s take on patient education in rural healthcare

Sally Kimberly discusses clinical challenges during her time as a nurse practitioner with Mountain People’s Health Councils (MPHC) in Norma, Tenn., focusing specifically on the indispensable role of patient education in effective rural healthcare.    Full footage of Sally Kimberly’s interview with Rick Davidson. Continued

Ruth Ann Casper and Scheryl Stout on the Maternal-Infant Health Outreach Worker Project (MIHOW)

Ruth Ann Casper, a participant in the Maternal-Infant Health Outreach Worker Project (MIHOW), shares about the powerful impact of home visitors and their value as sources of emotional support and information during her first pregnancy. Scheryl Stout, a home visitor… Continued

Frances Henderson on the Center for Health Services’ approach to community development

Frances Henderson from the Service Training for Environmental Progress (STEP) discusses the relationship between environmental pollution and public health, sharing specifically about a nearby contaminated creek in Hendersonville, Tenn. which caused significant medical concerns among community members. She also shares… Continued

Tom John on the Student Health Coalition and community self-determination

Tom John, M.D. comments on his work with the Student Health Coalition (SHC) in 1971. He shares that one of the most powerful takeaways from this learning experience was an introduction to and participation in the development of community health… Continued

“What it took” – Nine nurses reconvene fifty years later and discover the power of common denominators

Nine nurses gathered in Nashville in May 2019 to reminisce about their beginnings as nurses. Nursing practice underwent radical changes in those days. These nine nurses stood apart from their peers and in conflict with convention. Here, they discuss what… Continued

Nurse Practitioners, in the beginning…

Community leaders recognized early on the added value nurses with expanded roles brought to the table. In this video clip, community leaders Marie Cirillo and Betty Anderson recollect their efforts to lobby for legal changes that would continue to support… Continued

The Smithville Story

  Learn more about Rod Lorenz on his profile page. Continued

Dal Macon on SHC fundamentals

  Learn more about Dal Macon on his profile page.  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

Tom John in brevis

Dr. Tom John speaks about his experiences with the Student Health Coalition (SHC) and the Center for Health Services (CHS). Recorded by Margaret Ecker, 2013. Continued

A conversation with Martha Stucker

Martha Stucker shares about her time working in the mountains from 1968-1972, and explains her role as a nurse practitioner focused on meeting community needs. 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