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The Student Health Coalition Archive Project describes a collaboration between underserved communities and college students in the 1960s through the 1980s.  The goal of the collaboration: improve access to health care, by means of community organizing, primarily in the rural south.

The archive represents an innovative community-driven approach to preserving history, weaving together individual stories and memories that in the aggregate build a narrative about the work, the era, community organizing, and health care delivery.



This website serves as a portal to the Archive, and an invitation to participate.

Project Themes


Recently Added Stories

Lewis Lefkowitz recalls the legacy of Marie Cirillo and impact of local nurses

Lewis Lefkowitz highlights Marie Cirillo’s contributions to the work of the Student Health Coalition and discusses the role of nursing in promoting public health. Recorded December 1, 2015. Full footage of his recollection about the development of the Student Health … Continued

Lewis Lefkowitz on the Student Health Coalition’s key accomplishments

Lewis Lefkowitz recalls what facilitated the Student Health Coalition’s success. He discusses the organization’s framework of community mobilization and agency, and furthermore highlights the leadership legacy of Kate and JW Bradley. Recorded December 1, 2015. Full footage of his recollection … 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 June 2, 2018. Full footage of Randall … 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 June 2, 2018. Full footage of their discussion about rural healthcare.  

Meryl Rice on Byron De La Beckwith’s assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers

Meryl Rice recalls her family’s business encounters with Byron De La Beckwith (prior to his murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers) and speaks to their horror at learning what he’d committed. Recorded June 2, 2018. Full footage of Randall … Continued

Meryl Rice: A brief look into her background as the daughter of Chinese immigrants

Meryl Rice shares about her family’s history and how it’s inspired her to help others. Recorded June 2, 2018. Full footage of Randall and Meryl’s discussion about rural healthcare.      

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 across party lines. Her assistance in this case speaks to the importance of the expansion of affordable healthcare, particularly in low-income rural communities where … Continued

Recently Added Personal Profiles

  • 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. He was a visionary. He inspired a generation of student activists and made lasting relationships with leaders in rural communities around the rural South. … Continued

  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

    The Tennessee Valley Authority provided support to the Student Health Coalition early on, beginning in 1970.  A TVA van traveled to the Coalition health fairs and included x-ray, lab facilities, and staff to run it.  Retired TVA vans eventually served … Continued

  • Odes and Shelby McKamey

    Odes and Shelby McKamey were among the most cherished local hosts for members of the SHC when the health fair arrived in their remote mountain community of Stoney Fork, Tennessee. Later, after the Stony Fork Clinic was established, the McKameys … Continued

  • John Kennedy

    The summer before his final year at the Vanderbilt Law School and during the summer and fall after his graduation, John Kennedy worked for the Student Health Coalition, 1971 and 1972. He provided assistance to former miners who were seeking … Continued