community organizing

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.  

SOCM’s and the SHC’s culture of ‘family fun’

Maureen O’Connell and Charles “Boomer” Winfrey reflect on the value of having fun, highlighting the Student Health Coalition (SHC) as an especially stimulating group of people to be around. Their commitment to collective recreation ultimately facilitated a stronger sense of togetherness and positively impacted their work in both community organizing and healthcare. Recorded on May …

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Dal Macon’s community return and ongoing work post-Student Health Coalition

Dal Macon briefly shares about some of his post-Student Health Coalition (SHC) community projects, including having served on the board of Marie Cirillo’s Community Land Trust and organized outreach efforts through the Center for Health Services (CHS) at Vanderbilt University.   Full footage of interview with Dal Macon.

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 communities where he and other Coalitioners had worked in the 1970s.   Full footage of …

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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 responding to community needs rather than self-righteous outsiders bent on problem-solving by themselves.   Full …

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Caryl Carpenter on community leader Odes McKamey

Caryl Carpenter, former administrator of the Mountain People’s Health Councils (MPHC) of East Tennessee, shares a story about community leader Odes McKamey of Stoney Fork, Tenn. MPHC was founded in 1974 as a coalition of three rural health clinics in Norma (Scott County), Petros (Morgan County) and Stoney Fork (Campbell County). Each clinic grew out …

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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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