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Lee County Cooperative Clinic (LCCC) was established in 1969 in response to drastic medical needs in the Arkansas Delta. Lee County was one of the poorest counties in the United States. Agriculture dominated the economy with little industry to speak of.

Several different agencies had a hand in the establishment of LCCC. Among the first was the Citizens Board of Inquiry into Hunger and Malnutrition which, in 1968, identified Lee and Stone Counties as the two.poorest counties in Arkansas.


With this Information, the East Central Arkansas Economic Opportunity Agency sponsored Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) Health Advocates in Lee County with the first team arriving In January of 1969. This sponsorship was a direct result of a demonstration project grant from Emergency Food and Medical Services.

Winthrop Rockefeller, then Governor of Arkansas, approved the Health Advocate team which was initially composed of a nurse and a generalist. (A generalist as defined by Olly Neal was a person not necessarily possessing technical skills but knowledgeable of the things required in establishing, organizing, developing and running an organization).

These two VISTA volunteers worked in the five eastern Arkansas counties of Lee, St. Francis, Crittenden, Cross and Woodruff. Although the high incidence of malnutrition and hunger first attracted the agencies to Lee County, it soon became apparent that defeating the problems of hunger alone would be impossible without some type of medical support system.

The Arkansas State Office of Economic Opportunity and the Arkansas State Health Planning Commission were called on by the VISTA workers to formulate a plan to address the existing emergency health conditions in Lee County.

The racial question also played a part in the ensuing difficulties between local health officials and those trying to bring better health care to Lee County. At that time all of Lee County’s health professionals were white while the county population was majority black. Black and poor whites would be the major beneficiaries of such a new health care system. That the advocates of this new plan were very progressive and socially conscious individuals did not help matters either since local officials were mainly conservative and interested in maintaining the racial and economic status quo.

Finding no cooperation from local health officials and with the need for health care remaining as great as ever, VISTA realized that a useful alternative must be quickly found. In July of 1969, another team of VISTA volunteers came to Lee County as a result of this dilemma. There were five members of this team which included Dr. Dan Blumenthal, LCCC’s first physician, a child psychologist and three generalists with expertise in environmental health, cooperative structure and arts and crafts respectively. With assistance and support from local blacks and some whites, this VISTA team helped to establish Lee County Cooperative Clinic.

There were nine local citizens on LCCC’s original board of directors and two medical professionals, both from outside Lee County. Local board members were Eddie Foster, who became the first chairman of the board, Willie Gordon, Willie Mae Collier, Thressa Ramey, Maurice Harmon, Rev. O.B. Brown, Betty Jones, Sarah Sauls and Emma Glaspy. Medical professionals were Dr. Leslie A. Falk and Dr. Donald Pinkel.

Olly Neal was hired as the first clinic administrator in 1970 and LCCC soon became a model for health care delivery in the nation. Chief Executive Officers following Neal were Ronald McLean, Clarence Coleman, John Eason, Cleola Bursey, Intermin CEO Denise Purnell , Clifton Collier, April Peer, and Intermin Ora Stevens. Eason’s term saw the opening of satellite clinics in Madison in 1977, Lakeview in 1982 and Hughes in 1998.

A highlight in more recent years was the 2011 Annual Membership Meeting which was attended by some of the individuals involved in the founding of LCCC. The featured speaker for the occasion was Dr. Daniel Blumenthal, Professor and Chair of Morehouse Medical College’s Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine and the first doctor to serve at LCCC. Olly Neal and others replayed some of LCCC’s early history from the “good ole days.” Jan Wrede assisted Annual Meeting Coordinator Andrea Howard in contacting the former workers who were only too happy to return to Marianna.

In closing this portion of our history, we thank you for sharing these wonderful times and look forward to another forty-six years of service.

Contact Us

530 W. Atkins Boulevard
Marianna, Arkansas 72360
Office Number (870) 295-5225

Locations & Office Hours

Marianna: M, Tu, Th 8AM-5:30PM | W 8AM-7PM | F 8AM-5PM
Lake View: Tu 9AM-4:30PM (DENTAL) | Th 9AM-4:30PM (DR)
Madison: Tu & F 9AM-4:30PM
Hughes: M, W, F 9AM-4:30PM

An FTCA Deemed Facility