community empowerment and mobilization

On the SHC’s provision of hope as fuel for systemic change to rural healthcare

Kate and J.W. Bradley share sweet reflections of the friendships made during the Student Health Coalition’s (SHC’s) community organizing efforts in rural Tennessee, and explain that the organization’s leader, Bill Dow, gave them hope to change what they’d always been told they couldn’t.  

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 interaction with the locals as his heroes. Recorded on May 20, 2013.   Full footage …

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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 community empowerment (by way of such activities like education and legislation). Maureen emphasizes the mutual …

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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 systems, as well as a cultivated understanding about the value of education and community self-determination …

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Becca Ingle on the SHC and community healthcare

Becca Ingle, R.N., F.N.P. shares about her experience with the Student Health Coalition (SHC) in the summer of 1974 and discusses its profound influence on later becoming a nurse practitioner. She also explains how the organization facilitated a shift in her understanding of healthcare. Lasting doctor-patient relationships, community mobilization and agency, and equitable allocation of …

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Lewis Lefkowitz on the Student Health Coalition’s key accomplishments

Lewis Lefkowitz recalls what facilitated the Student Health Coalition’s (SHC’s) success. He discusses the organization’s framework of community mobilization and agency, and furthermore highlights the leadership legacy of Kate and J.W. Bradley. Recorded on December 1, 2015.   Full footage of his recollection about the development of the Student Health Coalition in the 1960s and …

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Bill Dow in Smithville ,Tenn., 1970

Bill Dow

Bill Dow co-founded the Student Health Coalition while in medical school at Vanderbilt University, in 1969. His larger-than-life role in the SHC origin story and beyond warrants special telling, which we attempt in the essay that follows. Contributed by Margaret Ecker, compiled in collaboration with friends  Bill Dow energized a generation of student activists and …

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Betty Anderson

Betty Anderson was born in Scott County, Tenn. on March 26, 1936. In the 1970s, she became involved with Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM), a social justice organization that addressed strip-mining and other community issues in Tennessee and Kentucky. She became a leader in the organization and eventually served as its president. Related Content:

Karen Blaydes

Contributed by John Emmeus Davis with the generous assistance of Jack Beckford, June 2017. Karen Blaydes (1948-2009) joined the Student Health Coalition (SHC) in 1970, two weeks after graduating from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. This was the first year that students who were not preparing for a medical career were …

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