News and Updates from the Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic

Oh dear, it has been January 2021 since my last update!  As you know, Alison Gower, our Executive Director, has taken another position as Director. I have assumed her job, and the first thing on my to-do list was to find a permanent replacement!  We have a fantastic search committee with board members and office manager Ranae Hobbs. Indeed.com posted our job description online. We have had several applications from throughout the Northeastern United States willing to relocate to Tennessee.

An impressive technology skill set is a must.  We have a program for recording donations, writing acknowledgments, compiling data and addresses.  Our medical records are electronic.  The current trend in fundraising is not another chili supper but keeping donors engaged and excited about the work their gifts make possible.  This is done with social media, a snappy website, and newsletters that inform.

Visiting the clinic the past few weeks, I see the strain of Covid.  The waiting room is empty.  Patients must wait outside.  Very few come masked but must don one and be assessed for Covid symptoms.  The subject of Covid vaccinations is approached cautiously as this preventive measure becomes more emotional.  The misinformation is frustrating, but we can’t help a patient who walks away in anger as our patients sometimes do.  The staff wears bigger and tighter masks, but the work of diagnosing and treating the patients continues.  It was the most challenging work I had ever done in my 44 years of nursing. 

Our board meets on September 22, and we are back to Zooming. We will be preparing for our annual appeal beginning in October.  We will be electing a few new board members in November as some choose to step off.

I look forward to bringing you more news about the staff, patient situations, special donations, and clinic improvements in the coming weeks. And, hopefully, an announcement about a new Executive Director.  Some have asked why I don’t take the position.  If you have made a recent donation and received a hand-written thank you card, you will understand that my tech skillset is lacking (see above).
Sandy Rice, Board President

WE DID IT!!!!!!

Thank you to everyone who made the 2021 Dash to the Door a success. We exceeded $50,000 our goal again this year. Early on, the committee had to wrestle with mask, no mask, virtual, in person, crowds or social distancing, but July 3rd arrived on a beautiful, cool, sunny summer, post-Covid day. The in-person participants ballooned to 99 people and an undetermined number of dogs. Virtual participants walked in Sewanee, TN, Jacksonville, FL, St, Mary’s, GA, and Vancouver, BC. We had a wonderful number of sponsors at all levels. Please support these businesses when possible.   Thank you to DASH co-chairs Elizabeth Papel and Julie Blackwell who worked tirelessly to make this fundraiser not only successful but fun. The staff and volunteers of BSMC are happy to provide the much needed medical and dental services to the people in our area and thank you for supporting this work. Let’s do it again next year.Sandy Rice, Board President

New Chapter


Since January of 2018, It has been my profound pleasure to serve as the Executive Director of the Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic. I have learned countless lessons from our patients, staff, providers, and organizations across the Plateau, and I am proud of all we have accomplished.

After a great deal of deliberation and soul-searching, I have decided to accept a position as Director of the Rural Health Network at the Rural Health Association of Tennessee. I see this new role as an extension of the work of the BSMC, and I hope that I will be able to take what I have learned at the Clinic to a wider audience and make a difference at state and national levels.

The Clinic is in great hands with Sandy Rice as Board President, Drs. Susie Andrews and Nick Pumilia as Medical Directors, our strong staff, and our medical providers. The board has launched a search, and the application is on Indeed. Please share the link with anyone who might be a good fit for the Clinic.

I will always carry the Clinic in my heart, and I am grateful for the support you have given me and the Clinic. Please continue your support as the Clinic embarks on a new chapter.

With gratitude and hope,
Alison Gower

COVID-19 Vaccines

Statewide appointment number: 866-442-5301 Click here for county by county information regarding scheduling and availability.

What’s New in 2021?

New Year’s Greetings from Sandy Rice, President of the Board

Sandra Rice, BSMC Board President

The Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic Board welcomes 2021 with a plan for recovery and hope. I am Sandy Rice, the new board president, and am excited to continue the work of outgoing president and Beersheba Springs resident Kelly Baggett. I am familiar with the Clinic, volunteering as a nurse practitioner for 2 years after retiring to Sewanee in 2015 and then serving as a board member.

COVID-19 has been an unbelievable crisis for us and especially our patients. Throughout the pandemic, the clinic has remained open, provided medications, innovated services, and distributed masks and factual information. Our non-profit organization has remained financially solvent where others have been forced to close. Our perseverance is made possible in large part because donors like you know that we provide high quality care and believe in our mission “to promote, protect, and improve the health of persons (especially the medically indigent) living in, working in, or visiting Beersheba Springs and the surrounding area.” You make this work possible, and we are grateful.

Our goal for 2021 is safe recovery, as we restart and refine patient services. The dental clinic will be starting on a backlog of approximately 200 patients. As vaccines become more readily available, the Clinic will safely increase the number of patients that can be seen inside the Clinic’s walls while we continue to develop our practices by using telemedicine and other modes of interaction among providers and patients.  

We always have a goal to keep the lights on and have a challenging fundraising goal again this year. Our stand-alone fundraiser, Dash to the Door, will be virtual this summer. Our new fundraising board committee will be educating current supporters and looking for new sources of income.  We thank you for continuing to be a friend of the BSMC.

Spotlight on New Staff

Vickie Hobbs is the BSMC’s Licensed Practical Nurse and medical assistant on Mondays, Wednesdays, and additional Fridays, as needed. Vickie joined the Clinic in January of 2021. She has a wide range of experience from serving as an EMT and as a nurse in multiple departments at the Winchester Hospital and the Grundy County Jail. We are glad to have Vickie on board and look forward to expanding the Clinic’s reach and services with her as our LPN. Welcome, Vickie!!!

Nick Pumilia, M.D., has been named Associate Medical Director at the Clinic. This title recognizes Nick’s work in coordinating and managing aspects of the Clinic’s collaboration with St. Thomas and Erlanger. In addition to practicing at the Clinic on many Fridays, Nick is planning a series of presentations for our staff, residents, and volunteer doctors. Thank you, Nick!

We also welcome our two newest board members Norma Sparks, P.A. (retired),and Chris Trabue, M.D. Both have long and enduring relationships with the Clinic, and we are pleased to have them join the board.