Power and Politics in Health Care

The Student Health Coalition (SHC) challenged traditional systems, policies, and practices for the delivery of health care in impoverished rural communities. This included pushing against the legal and cultural boundaries of the roles that nurses had been traditionally permitted to play. Forty years later, some of the same struggles to expand health care for low-income people reappeared in the campaign to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

 

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

Sharon Roberson on institutional racism and her invitation to Chancellor Heard’s home

Sharon Roberson shares what she’s most proud of from her time in West Tennessee, explaining how it cultivated greater depth to her critical understanding of institutional racism and the ensuing drive to educate others on the matter.   Full footage… Continued

On the anti-establishment origins of the Coalition and Center for Health Services

Sharon Roberson and Margaret Ecker discuss how Vanderbilt University no longer has a Student Health Coalition or Center for Health Services, in part due to an unspecified anger more characteristic of the 1960s and 1970s student generation, on top of… 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

Sharon Roberson on her family stay and community relationships in West TN

Sharon Roberson provides insight into the dynamic of student stays with local families and developing community relationships, including the mutually shared desire not to disrupt existing social norms that would persist after they left.   Full footage of Sharon Roberson’s… Continued

Appealing to community leaders, the health fair model, and rights and benefits counseling in West TN

Sharon Roberson describes the student-led approach to community organizing in West Tennessee, such as appealing to established community leaders (namely, ministers from local churches). She also details the health fair model and rights and benefits counseling, both of which were… Continued

Sharon Roberson on Black deference to White people in West Tennessee

Sharon Roberson describes an air conditioning situation in the Haywood County Public Health Services building which, to her surprise, highlighted how Black people, according to custom and engrained mentality, demonstrated deference to the White demographic.   Full footage of Sharon… 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

Grant proposal process for the Douglas Community Health Center

Jean Carney details the convoluted grant proposal and approval process for establishing the Douglas Community Health Center, and the lengths to which she and others had to go to make it happen. Despite the several setbacks, she persisted and the… Continued

Origins of the Douglas Community Health Center’s Board of Directors

Jean Carney recounts the story of how the Board of Directors for the Douglas Community Health Center in Stanton, Tenn. first came to be, as well as the role Irwin Venick‘s feasibility study played in determining the community’s need for… Continued

Inadequacies of healthcare system in Stanton, Tenn.

Jean Carney discusses the several, primarily race-related inadequacies of the healthcare system in Stanton, Tenn. prior to the 1977 establishment of the Douglas Community Health Center.   Full footage of Jean Carney’s tour and narrative of the Douglas Community Health… 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

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

Minnie Bommer’s encounter with hospital segregation

Having overcome the adversity of racially biased employment discrimination imposed upon her at the outset of her nursing career, Minnie Bommer shares also about the realities of healthcare inequities and segregation experienced post-hire at a hospital in Covington, Tenn. Recorded… Continued

Minnie Bommer on racially charged employment discrimination and her journey to nursing career

Minnie Bommer shares her tumultuous experience at the outset of her nursing career, detailing the extent of racially biased obstacles intended to bar her from hire at hospitals in Tipton County, Tenn. Recorded on June 1, 2018.   Full footage… Continued

Where can the SHC go from here?

Charles “Boomer” Winfrey and Maureen O’Connell ruminate on work left to be done in the eastern Tennessee region of Appalachia. Their focus pertains mostly to the ongoing need for augmented healthcare resources, drug education and reform, and meeting the needs… Continued

Decline of coal camp healthcare and subsequent basis of need for reform

Charles “Boomer” Winfrey and Maureen O’Connell discuss the local healthcare setting upon Save Our Cumberland Mountain’s (SOCM) and the Student Health Coalition’s (SHC) early stages of community organizing in East Tennessee. Maureen details several local factors which established a major… 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

Dr. Daniel Gabriel’s legacy in St. Charles, VA

Ron Carson discusses Dr. Daniel Gabriel, M.D. and his local legacy in African American healthcare as the only doctor who in the 1940s and 50s would see Black patients.   Full footage of Ron Carson’s tour of the African American… 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

Pushback against Douglas Community Health Center

Jean Carney shares how rhetoric against the Black-run Douglas Community Health Center manifested as several false accusations and presented various legal challenges to both the clinic and associated nurse practitioners.   Full footage of Jean Carney at the old Douglas… Continued

Behind the scenes at Douglas Community Health Center

Jean Carney reminisces the early days of Douglas Community Health Center in Stanton, Tenn. Following a brief overview of the clinic’s architectural layout and functional operations, she delves into the impact of race relations on healthcare at the time.  … Continued

Barbara Clinton on the concept of psychological defensive denial and Medicaid expansion

During discussion with Randall and Meryl Rice about Medicaid expansion, Barbara Clinton comments on the role of psychological defensive denial in both the rejection of reality and voting against one’s best interest. Recorded on June 2, 2018.   Full footage… Continued

Randall and Meryl Rice on the miseducation about Medicaid expansion

Randall and Meryl Rice discuss misconceptions about and resulting aversions to Medicaid expansion, as well as the repercussions of refusing to adopt it—namely, rural hospital closures. Recorded on June 2, 2018.   Full footage of their discussion about rural healthcare. Continued

Randall and Meryl Rice call for political change in the interest of Medicaid expansion

Randall and Meryl Rice discuss the influence of Tennessee’s political climate on Medicaid expansion and affordable healthcare in rural communities and introduce the resolution which developed in response, an initiative known as Insure Tennessee. They highlight the importance of applying… Continued

Meryl Rice shares an Affordable Care Act enrollment success story

Meryl Rice shares an enrollment success story focused on the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) across party lines. Her assistance in this case speaks to the importance of the expansion of affordable healthcare, particularly in low-income rural communities… Continued

Randall and Meryl Rice on the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment process and their role as navigators

Randall and Meryl Rice explain the internet connectivity and computer literacy hurdles of online enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in rural West Tennessee and expand on their role as navigators in problem-solving the complexity of this process. Barbara… Continued

Randall Rice on the activist response to challenges imposed on the Affordable Care Act in West TN

Randall Rice discusses state-sanctioned roadblocks to the expansion of affordable healthcare among rural populations in West Tennessee. He also shares about his and others’ success in overcoming these challenges with the support of the nonprofit public policy advocacy organization, Tennessee… Continued

Randall Rice on the origins of his and Meryl’s work rolling out the Affordable Care Act in West TN

Randall Rice shares about his and Meryl’s involvement in assisting with open enrollment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in rural West Tennessee communities. Their work began in 2013, developed from a need left by the absence of major enrollment… Continued

Connecting the dots: from SHC to ACA

In 2013, just as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was about to get rolled out, Bill Corr took time out of his busy schedule as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services to reflect on the resonance between the Coalition… 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

Bill Dow on Healthcare Policy, 1973

A clip from Appalachian Genesis, courtesy of Appalshop Film Archives (Whitesburg, Ky.). Continued

“Imagine, if you can, these two young Turks trying to give advice to the Governor of Mississippi”

[Contributed John WIlliams] Bill had a friend named Fortenberry. He was a staffer for the Mississippi State Senate in the 1970s.  In 1976, lignite coal (a low grade of coal) was discovered in Mississippi, so the state started considering the… Continued