BSMC Celebrates 10 Years

November 2010-November 2020
Celebrating 10 Years of Serving the Community

November 25, 2020

The Clinic Cottage and the Dental Suite

Pictured at the Clinic Cottage are Alison Gower, Executive Director and Garrett Adams, Founder (picture taken prior to pandemic and masking and social distancing practices)

In 2017, The Beersheba Springs Church of Christ donated the building located at 19640 SR 56 to the Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic. Thanks to Sam Stansberry and the congregation, this gift allowed the BSMC to create space for a dental suite, classes, meetings, and offices. The Clinic received significant support for renovations from The Carpenter’s Fund and for the Dental Suite from the South Cumberland Community Fund, Smile 180, a Memorial Gift from Mark Lundy honoring Marion Ridley, and additional, individual donations. To date, the dental suite has served 73 patients and performed 283 extractions. This work alleviates pain and suffering in our patients and improves their overall health. In 2019, the Clinic collaborated with Steve and Karen and Wickham to conduct classes on preventing and reversing diabetes and with the UT Extension to conduct courses on healthy eating. To learn more about he Wickhams’ class, click here. We hope to continue offering classes and creating opportunities for our patients and the larger community to develop healthy habits and to empower themselves as masters of their good health.

Spotlight on Supporters

Bruce Baird, DDS, is a graduate of Sewanee Military Academy and Davidson College. He practiced dentistry for 30 years in Sewanee. When he isn’t pulling teeth, he serves on countless boards and service organizations, and can be found hiking the major and minor trails of this great globe, often in the good company of his wife Sandy. (picture taken prior to pandemic and masking and social distancing practices)

“As a former dentist in Sewanee, I have long been aware of the neglected dental needs of many in and around our neighborhoods on the Cumberland Plateau. Once I joined the ranks of the semi-retired, I had time to devote to dental outreach. So, when Dr. Garrett Adams explained the oral health needs he and the staff at the Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic were seeing, it seemed like a good marriage. Along with my long-time assistant and friend, Diane Scarborough, and with much help from countless volunteers and supporters, we were able to convert a room in the Clinic Cottage into a two chair functioning dental suite. SCCF, the Carpenter’s Fund, and Smile 180 provided us with very generous grants and these, together with individual donations, allowed us to purchase high quality equipment and instruments so that we could begin to provide emergent care to those in need. We realized very quickly that the demand was greater than anticipated as an extensive waiting list developed within the first few months of our opening. While the COVID-19 crisis has temporarily halted our work, we look forward to the day when we can safely reopen the Beersheba Springs Dental Clinic and continue alleviating pain and suffering and improving health outcomes across the Plateau.” Bruce Baird, DDS

Janet Cooper, SCCF Director

“South Cumberland Community Fund is proud to have supported the Clinic’s work to bring dental care to Grundy County. The Clinic is responsive and proactive regarding patients’ needs and is a consistent source of compassionate service on the Mountain. It is inspiring to witness the love that this Mountain community holds for this unique, innovative organization.” Janet Cooper, SCCF Director

November 18, 2020

Collaborations Across the Plateau

Robin Hille Michaels is the Director of Service Internships at The University of the South, Sewanee

Robin Hille Michaels, MA, LPC/MHSP-T

“It has been a gift to our work at the University to be partnered with the clinic these past ten years. During that time, I have been a witness to the astounding ways the clinic has grown and the constant and tender care it provides for the community. I have tracked the life-changing impact its training and compassion has had on our pre-med and pre-nursing students. And I have experienced great joy working with shared vision and purpose with the clinic staff. Thank you Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic for all that you have done and for all that you will continue to do!” Robin Hille Michaels, MA, LPC/MHSP-T

Spotlight on Students

The Clinic has been delighted to have Sewanee students on site over the past 4 years. The links below are videos from three of the Bonner Service Scholars who have worked at the Clinic and contributed in countless ways to the Clinic’s daily operations and in the renovation of the Clinic Cottage. These students have both given of their time to the Clinic and have been transformed by their time at the Clinic.

Click on links below to watch student videos:

Emmie Chambers, Class of 2018
Kendall Wills, Class of 2019
Ellie McLean, Class of 2020

Jim Peterman, Ph.D.

“The Office of Civic Engagement is committed to working with community organizations based on the principle of reciprocity and mutual benefit. It benefits the University to have our faculty and students working in the community, and we hope that their projects and work benefit the organizations where they take place. The Beersheba Spring Medical Clinic has become the home away from home for many of our students. They have learned technical skills and been inspired to become like the staff and directors of BSMC, people whose professional commitments embody the virtue of care second to none. The Office of Civic Engagement wishes BSMC all the best on its 10th Anniversary. We look forward to a future of inspiring success that mirrors your inspired and audacious founding led by Dr. Garrett Adams, and program development continued through the Clinic’s wise leadership and the governing board.”  
Jim Peterman, Ph.D.
Director of Civic Engagement
Professor of Philosophy
Class of 1961 Chair of the College

November 11, 2020

Messages from Some of Our Collaborators

“The collaboration between UT-Nashville, UT-Chattanooga, Yale University, and the Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic has really taken off this past year and has proven to be a resounding success. It truly has allowed the clinic to meet the increasing healthcare needs for many in Grundy County, while providing a tremendous opportunity in rural health/graduate medical education for our residents. We look forward to our ongoing collaboration in years to come!” Christopher Trabue, MD, FACP, Associate Professor/Program Director UT-Nashville Internal Medicine Residency Program

Pictured from left to right: Renae Hobbs, Office Manager, Jennie Coppinger, former Medical Assistant, Sunny Cai, MD/UT Internal Medicine Resident and Christopher Trabue, MD, Ascension St. Thomas. Seated: Sameer Kahn, MD and resident from Yale University (picture taken prior to pandemic and masking and social distancing practices)

Spotlight on Partnerships

The partnerships we have developed with Ascension St. Thomas, Erlanger Health System, The University of Tennessee’s Internal Medicine Program, and Yale University’s Office of Global Health have been critical in expanding services at the Clinic. Since 2017, we have had Yale residents rotate at the Clinic for 6-week stints where they provide additional care for our patients and a great deal of enthusiasm for the Clinic’s work. In October of 2019, the Clinic added an additional day of service on Fridays. Fridays are staffed by doctors and residents from Erlanger and St. Thomas. These partnerships have increased access to care for our patients and have also brought additional resources to the Clinic in terms of much-needed access to specialists and services at partner institutions. One of the greatest benefits of the partnerships was summed up by one of the volunteer doctors and the resident who was with him: “We learn as much, if not more, from the patients as we offer in health care. This place is like no other, and it is a privilege to be a part of the work.”

 “My first day volunteering in the Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic, was when I was in my last year of medical training. I went with Garret to his house to get space heaters because the heat had gone out, and I was asked to change a difficult-to-reach light bulb. I also saw patients alongside Norma Sparks, PA, and watched as Renae greeted every patient by name. Two years later, my wife and I moved from Connecticut to Tennessee so we could both volunteer. Now, we bring medical residents from Chattanooga several times a month, and continue to host residents from Yale-New Haven Hospital. The Clinic is an inspiration, a reality-defying feat of optimism, perseverance, and love. I have grown as a human and a physician, and am so grateful that I can share the experience of practicing there with other medical professionals and trainees. Nick Pumilia, MD, Erlanger Health System

Pictured left to right: Becky Layne (Medical Assistant), Alison Gower (Exec. Director), Becki Cheney (NP), Carolyn G. Henn (FNP-C), Renae Hobbs (Office Manager), Jasleen Salwan. (MD/Yale Resident), and Nick Pumilia (MD, Erlanger Health System and former Yale Resident at the BSMC) (picture taken prior to pandemic and masking and social distancing practices)

“I am grateful to the BSMC for four years of partnership with the Yale Department of Internal Medicine, and look forward to many more to come. Although the distance from New Haven, CT, to Beersheba Springs, TN, seems far, our medical residents have been deeply impacted by the open arms of the BSMC community, and the tremendous opportunities that they have had to make a difference in the health and lives of so many individual patients. The lessons that they have learned from these experiences continue to influence their medical practice and, importantly, their perspectives on the health challenges of rural communities and relationships with the wonderful BSMC staff have carried forward as well.”

Tracy L. Rabin, MD, SM, FAAP, FACP
Internal Medicine & Pediatrics
Associate Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine
Director, Office of Global Health, Yale Department of Internal Medicine
Associate Program Director for Global and Community Health, Yale Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program
Associate Program Director for Global and Community Health, Yale Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program

November 4, 2020

Messages from Some of Our Founders and Early Supporters

Sharon Whitman

“I have been involved with the clinic from the very beginning when several of us met on Phil Mayhew’s porch and talked about the need for affordable medical care on the mountain. When we began, this whole thing was one little blade of grass, and it has grown into a field of dreams.” Sharon Whitman, Vice President and founding Board Member

A Note from Founder, Garrett Adams

Garrett Adams

One of my most memorable moments at the Beersheba Clinic was when I entered an exam room to see a woman with a tooth abscess. She was bent over holding the right side of her swollen face. I put my hand on her shoulder to express sympathy with her pain. She looked up at me and said, “I seen videos of you. (At the time there was a video on the clinic website). “I’m so glad somebody cares.” And she began to cry. I was so moved, I cried too. “I’m so glad somebody cares.”

Click Here to see Dr. Garrett Adams Testify before members of the U.S. Senate

Norma Sparks & Linda Elrod

“Over the years, we have served thousands of people who have shown their appreciation through their smiles and other expressions of gratitude. We have seen people who have been turned away from lots of different places and turned to us as their last hope. Every time I go out, which is rare these days, I see people who tell me how grateful they are. We struggled to make ends meet in the early days, but we have managed to build our resources and revenue and serve those in greatest need. This work is the proudest part of my career.” Norma Sparks, The Clinic’s first Physician’s Assistant (pictured with Linda Elrod, PA and Sustaining Supporter)

“The experiment has shown that people will build and sustain a program that benefits others. When we first began the Clinic, we thought it would serve Beersheba and the surrounding area, but we quickly had people showing up from much further away*. We decided that we would open the doors to all who needed help, and we have never strayed from that practice. True Good Samaritans don’t check addresses; they help because there is need. Period.” Phil Mayhew, Founding Board Member

*The Clinic has welcomed patients from more than 17 counties across the state of TN and from several states.

October 31, 2020

A Brief Note on Behalf of the BSMC

I recently asked a patient what the Clinic means to her. Her response speaks for many of our patients: “To be perfectly honest, if the Clinic weren’t here to help me manage my diabetes, I would be dead. It’s that simple.” 

Without your support, and the support of innumerable donors and volunteers over the past decade, we would not be able to do this work.

Over the next few weeks, please look for emails highlighting some of the amazing people who have been a part of the Clinic’s history. It is impossible to include every person who has supported the Clinic on this journey, but the emails to follow are meant to represent the support the Clinic has received from a wide range of people from its founding to the present day.

~Alison Gower, Executive Director

In the Spirit of Gratitude

Kelly Baggett

Click Here for a Message from Board President Kelly Baggett

This was the sign outside the Clinic in 2010, when we had more aspirations than days of service.

This is our sign today. Special thanks go to Yale University, Erlanger Health System, and Ascension St. Thomas for making a third day of service at the Clinic possible.