Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Appalachian Studies

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Rebecca Adkins Fletcher

Committee Members

Ronald R. Roach, Florence M. Weierbach


Appalachia is characterized as being a place of health inequalities, including substandard health care access. Health disparities in access to health care persist in the region, and many Tennessee residents are unable to afford premiums, if they can afford insurance at all. Uninsured individuals rely on community based free clinics, which serve as health care safety nets and allowing people to obtain limited health care. This ethnographic investigation, involving semi-structured interviews and participant-observation of the Blackberry Spruce Free Clinic, provides insight into the continued need of health care safety net resources. This research provides a patient’s perspective on the barriers to care for the uninsured, the difficulties in managing chronic illnesses and other medical needs when relying on charity care, and the problems of clinic management in its role as a temporary solution for the uninsured population.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the author.