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By Eleanor Blount, Siri Dommata, Olivia Friday, Zoie Smith


With obstacles in accessing healthcare plaguing rural residents in North Carolina, there is an insurgence of patients seizing control of their health, primarily deviating from privatized healthcare and resorting to alternative care. In this playlist, narrators discuss why and how they minimize trips to the doctor, including a lack of access to quality healthcare, reliance on traditional home remedies, a Southern familial outlook, and religious and communal influences.

With healthcare access, Janette Godwin, a 34-year-old nurse from Dunn, North Carolina, explains how financial barriers to healthcare access impact the care that many of her patients in her hometown receive. Nellene Richardson, a healthcare worker and pastor in Rocky Mount, NC, explains the geographical barriers to healthcare access and how this has led to a need for community support in her hometown. Other narrators explain the different treatments they use. Delving into a breadth of home remedies, Lisa McKeithan, a program director for HIV destigmatization at Positive Life, elucidates home remedies her family uses due to racial discrimination in medicine limiting quality healthcare. As a result of monetary barriers to accessing healthcare, Eleanor, a National Caucus & Center on Black Aging (NCBA) employee, also discusses the various home remedies and herbal medicine practices her family adopted. Exploring the familial side of rural alternative care, Farell Potts discusses how growing up during the Great Depression affected his family who had poor access to healthcare and food. A 43-year-old woman, Carla Norwood, discussed her family’s choice to take care of her great-grandmother at home. In addition, narrators dive into religious influences on their health like Rocky Mount native, Nell Burwell, who explains how Christianity provides her ease of mind with her physical health and Reverend Willie Ramey who reveals how his congregation supports each other’s well-being.

Student Essays

Healthcare Access in Rural North Carolina

Healthcare in the United States has proven to have many flaws. In 2021 alone, “27.5 million non-elderly individuals were uninsured,” with “64% of uninsured adults saying that they were uninsured because the cost of coverage was too high” (Tolbert & … Read more

Familial Roles in Rural Alternative Care

Alternative care is a common practice in rural regions as a lack of access to hospitals has prevented many families from obtaining healthcare. Families within rural regions, with a focus on North Carolina for this essay, practice various types of … Read more

Nature’s Medicine Cabinet: The Timeless Wisdom of Home Remedies in Rural Alternative Care

Introduction The soothing aroma of lavender, the immune-boosting effects of elderberry syrup, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, or the refreshing benefits of peppermint tea. Home remedies, steeped in the traditions of rural living, are trusted, generational healing practices. Due to … Read more

Religion and Community Support as a Form of Rural Alternative Care

In the Stories to Save Lives Project, narrators, particularly rural residents in North Carolina, tell their stories of experiencing a lack of healthcare access, both financially and geographically. In the midst of inadequate care from the medical system, rural citizens … Read more