Joining Hands Health Center of Jefferson City

Emily Terrell, Patient Care Coordinator of Joining Hands Health Center (third from left), is surrounded by Martha Dandridge Washington Chapter, NSDAR, members Jane Hersch, Julie Wilbur, Ellie Betts, Glenda Roach, Jane Chambers, Elizabeth Finchum, and Jane Busdeker and by some of the wish list items showered on the Center by the MDW Chapter.

Each Christmas, the Martha Dandridge Washington Chapter (MDW), National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), showers a local non-profit organization with gifts rather than exchanging gifts among the members. This year the Joining Hands Health Center was the recipient of the shower of gifts consisting of printer paper, paper towels, trash bags, facial tissues, medical syringes, and $625.00 for the purchase of a bariatric phlebotomy chair. Emily Terrell, Patient Care Coordinator, highlighted the services of the Center at the December meeting of the MDW Chapter in Dandridge.

Terrell described Joining Hands as “a volunteer-based non-profit organization that provides free and very low cost medical, dental, mental health, diabetic and nutritional counseling, and vision referral services for very low income, uninsured adult residents of Jefferson and Grainger counties.” In addition to that, the organization offers dental services to people from Cocke County.

In January, Joining Hands will be celebrating 15 years of service to the community. Formerly called the Jefferson Rural Clinic, it was founded by Kathy Marshall, a nurse, who recognized the need to provide medical and dental care for low income families. In March 2018, the Center moved to its present location at 1413 Russell Avenue in Jefferson City.

Terrell said she sees lives changed every day. She explained, “I see people walk in scared to death because of bad past experiences with doctors or dentists, and I see them walk out happier and healthier.”

At JHHC, patients are treated with dignity and receive healing, counseling, and confidence. Terrell noted that many times she has heard patients confide, “I’m so glad I found this place. I don’t know what I would do without this place. This place has saved by life.”

Since it was founded in 2005, the JHHC has served 5,914 patients with 46% being medical, 28% dental, 15% diagnostic testing, and only 11% no-shows. Seventy-six percent are from Jefferson County, 11% from Grainger County, and 13% from Cocke County.

The Center is especially proud of its focus on women’s health in the areas of diabetes and mental health.

One success story that Terrell called a favorite was about a young woman whose teeth were in such poor condition that she refused to smile and was ashamed to seek a job. Her confidence was bolstered when she received needed dental care. Since then she has given up sugary sodas and no longer lets her children drink them. She improved not only her own health but also that of her children.

The Center partners with the Delta Dental Smile 180 Foundation and was recently awarded their A+ rating. The medical testing committee is seeking funding for patients to get basic diagnostic testing such as X-rays, ultrasounds, and CT scans, and the Center’s Board of Directors is currently working on a formal strategic plan.

At this time, the Center has 59 volunteers including doctors, nurses, a dental sterilization team, front desk workers, and housekeepers. It is looking for a full-time dentist. Anyone interested in serving can visit the office or phone (865) 471-5525. Volunteers usually work one morning or afternoon per week and receive their training at the clinic. More information is available on their website at

Following the JHHC presentation, Ellie Betts, Tennessee Chair of DAR Schools and MDW Chapter Parliamentarian, shared information about the key DAR goal of supporting education. This is done through awarding scholarships, adopting Community Classrooms, and supporting six DAR Schools.

DAR chapter members promote education and help the DAR schools in many ways such as purchasing the DAR School of Sunfish pins, contributing to the Helen Pouch Memorial Fund, participating in the Box Tops and Coca Cola Gives programs, and donating gift cards and school supplies.

The two DAR Founded Schools are Kate Duncan Smith School in Alabama and Tamassee DAR School in South Carolina. Four additional schools include Berry College in Georgia, Crossnore School and Children’s Home in North Carolina, Hillside School, Inc., in Massachusetts, and Hindman Settlement School in Kentucky.

For information about the DAR, contact Registrar Karen McFarland at (865) 258-8670 or Regent Jane Chambers at (865) 591-3857.