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.)

 

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 the role of community organizers

Pete Moss describes how the Student Health Coalition community organizers first established relationships with local leaders, identified community needs, and drafted a plan of action for addressing said needs. Follow this link for access to the full-length interview. Recorded May… 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

On the SHC’s energy of dissatisfaction vs Vanderbilt Med School’s sense of institutional fulfillment

Charles Scott, professor of Philosophy and early faculty supporter of the Student Health Coalition (SHC), concludes this 2019 gathering with poignant remarks about what transpired when the Vanderbilt Medical School assumed control of the SHC. The energy of dissatisfaction that… 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

On the empowerment intrinsic to Linda Hart’s nursing career and its role in challenging the system

Linda Hart speaks to the evolution of her nursing career, in part influenced by connections to the Student Health Coalition (SHC). Upon being recruited by Bill Dow, she worked five years as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) at the White Oak… Continued

Diane Lauver’s response to sexism with pivot toward becoming a Nurse Practitioner

In exploration of how sexism influenced Coalitioners’ career paths, Diane Lauver describes her introduction to the Nurse Practitioner role that Loretta Ford championed and that Bill Dow and Leah Albers advocated for in the SHC approach to community healthcare. Following… Continued

Margaret Ecker on early SHC work: dental screening in Williamson County, Tenn.

Margaret Ecker shares the story of Bill Dow’s and Pat Maxwell’s collaborative dental screening of children at a Headstart in Williamson County, Tenn. She frames it as an early manifestation of the SHC’s Saul Alinsky-inspired approach to addressing community public… 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

The Coalition’s influence on Carolyn Burr’s work as an NP and personal healthcare philosophy

Carolyn Burr reflects on the Coalition values she carried forward into her future work as a Nurse Practitioner (NP). In doing so, she describes the intellectual stimulation that came from working with a diverse group of folks and its influence… Continued

SHC’s patient-centered healthcare and its role in the expansion of Nurse Practitioners

Carolyn Burr discusses the Student Health Coalition’s (SHC) approach to healthcare, emphasizing their value of patient/community involvement and accountability. She describes Dr. Amos Christie’s direct influence on her own nursing career, as well as on the profession moving forward–namely as… 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

On core tenets of sustainability and the role of business planning in community organizing

Nancy Raybin delves into the core tenets of sustainability (such as governance, self-preservation, and long-term impact metrics) to further stress the value of bringing business planning to community organizing. Follow this link for access to the full-length interview. Recorded October… Continued

On the success of the St. Charles Clinic: Art Van Zee’s decision to stay and other local leaders

Nancy Raybin highlights Art Van Zee’s commitment to the St. Charles Clinic (and decision to stay) as the foremost contributing factor to its success. She also speaks to the local leadership of many others involved in the clinic’s foundation. Follow… Continued

On healthcare as a catalyst for community organizing

Nancy Raybin reflects on the Coalition’s philosophic inspirations from which it modeled its approach to community organizing, naming Saul Alinsky as the primary paradigm. She also comments on her own personal interaction with healthcare as a catalyst for organizing and… Continued

Nancy Raybin on Bill Dow’s visionary leadership and other prominent figures in southwest Virginia

Nancy Raybin describes Bill Dow’s visionary leadership, highlighting his role in securing funds for the Coalition’s varied projects. But given her placement in St. Charles and being so far removed from SHC happenings in East Tennessee, Raybin speaks more to… Continued

On the Coalition’s installation of hope, strength, and inspiration to keep going

Margaret Ecker frames healthcare as a tool the SHC elected to use toward community empowerment, concluding, along with Rosie Hammond, that while the Coalition may not have made many structural changes to healthcare in the region, their community organizing efforts… Continued

Did we make a difference? Margaret Ecker and Rosie Hammond reflect.

Margaret Ecker and Rosie Hammond grapple with the question: did we (the SHC) make a difference? Margaret shares how, in reflection of Art Van Zee’s insight to ongoing addiction throughout southwest Virginia and the Appalachian region, there are new challenges… Continued

SHC influence on Rosie Hammond’s career arc: public clinics vs private practice

Rosie Hammond details how the SHC experience influenced her career arc, highlighting a nurtured commitment to Coalition philosophies (such as really listening to the patient for context and expressed needs, as well as considering all social determinants of health) and… Continued

Impact of the SHC experience on career and life: John Kennedy reflects

John Kennedy reflects on the impact of his Coalition experience, both on his career and life as a whole. For more information on John Kennedy’s involvement with the East Tennessee Research Corporation (ETRC) and work related to black lung, follow… Continued

Progression of the Black Lung Association under new union leadership, 1972-1973

John Kennedy details progression of the Black Lung Association (BLA) between 1972 and 1973, following its first successful objective in replacing Tony Boyle with Arnold Miller as president of United Mine Workers (UMW). For more information on John Kennedy’s involvement… 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

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

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
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

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

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