A student’s years-long involvement with a local rural medical clinic fosters deep connections to people and place, and prepares her for a future career.
On a sunny Saturday in March, the Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic is buzzing with the sound of circular saws, clanging shovels, and chatter. Emmie Chambers, C’18, and Kelly Baggett, chair of the clinic’s board of directors, greet incoming volunteers. The group of community members from Beersheba, brothers from Sewanee’s Sigma Nu fraternity, and others are busy tearing up linoleum, landscaping the front of the clinic’s new building, and renovating its bathroom to meet standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the main room, two sheets of plywood and sawhorses form a makeshift table that holds the day’s planning materials—coffee cups and carpenter’s pencils. When renovations are complete, a broad, solid dining table will take its place as the center of operations for health classes and other new initiatives shaped by the clinic’s holistic approach.
As a Bonner Leader, Chambers has been an integral part of the effort to transform the new building, a house donated by the neighboring Church of Christ, into a new wing of the rural medical office where she has interned for almost all of her college career. The Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic is the only privately funded free clinic of its kind in Tennessee and plays an important role in the overall health of the Beersheba Springs community.