student activism

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 such with regard to the “radical’s” revolutionary self-image.   Full footage of interview with Dal …

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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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Left to right: Marian Colette, Minnie Bommer, Tilda Kemplen, Linda Stein, Mary Elliott; Barbara Clinton, Project Director and daughter Greta in front

“Freedom from drain” and the Maternal-Infant Health Outreach Worker Project (MIHOW)

Barbara Clinton shares about the program she started as an appendage of the Student Health Coalition (SHC), known as the Maternal-Infant Health Outreach Worker Project (MIHOW). The largest and most renowned of the SHC’s various outgrowths, this program sought to draw on the talent of local hard-working, intelligent women to further support women’s health and …

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Vista member, Jeff Summerville (right), works alongside community volunteer on the Memphis Greenway.

The Student Environmental Health Program

Barbara Clinton delineates the incitement of Vanderbilt’s Student Environmental Health Program following discovery by SHC participants of widespread water contamination in several rural and inner city communities across Tennessee. This student-led organization attracted those from hard science disciplines to tackle the environmental issues underpinning a number of health problems in the surrounding area. Recorded on …

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Barbara Clinton on the emergence of Vanderbilt’s Center for Health Services

Barbara Clinton discusses the influence of Vanderbilt’s Student Health Coalition (SHC) on various subsequent initiatives, speaking specifically to the extension of its core mission and student-led approach to several programs. She focuses on the Center for Health Services (CHS) and its role in creating space for and supporting the logistics of longer-term relationships between students …

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Bill Dow in Smithville TN, 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 with good friends sifting through the complicated light that Bill left in our …

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Frank Pacosa on Bill Dow and SHC summers

[Story contributed by Frank Pacosa, April 2017] It was all about Bill and the world he opened to me. That gravely voice stilled me. And often in his mouth was a toothpick, or hay stalk pulled from the dirt that grounded him. It seemed as if he was always picking on something, chewing, jawing, even …

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