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The Healthwagon staff is continually growing to meet the needs of the community. The Healthwagon is nurse owned and operated.


Dr. Teresa Tyson

President and CEO

As in the autobiographical song written by Loretta Lynn, 'Coal Miner’s Daughter,' so was Dr. Teresa Owens Tyson. She was also born a coal miner’s daughter and was surrounded by the abject poverty that overshadows the Appalachian Mountains. Poverty perpetuated by the dying singular economy of coal that writes a narrative of desperation for those who live there. However, a much greater natural resource has also emanated among the mountain people, that of resilience and self-reliance. Dr. Tyson demonstrates these characteristics in her leadership, by changing and saving lives daily, turning back the tide of ever-worsening health care disparities with grassroots organizing and galvanizing resources like have never been seen before in Central Appalachia. Dr. Tyson attributes her success of The Health Wagon to her resilience and resourcefulness that she developed growing up with adversity. She was raised poor and her dream growing up was to become a missionary doctor, helping others in some faraway land. As she grew into adulthood, she realized that her own mountain people were the ones needing her help. She went away to college but came home to start her life’s mission of reaching the poor. She started work as a registered nurse at the Health Wagon and learned to care for those in need. Dr. Tyson was fortunate to get financial aid and merit-based scholarships. She returned to school becoming a family nurse practitioner and ultimately received her doctorate. Her degrees include a Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Alabama, a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from East Tennessee State University, all with honors. Every time she graduated, she came home to care for her people. Dr. Tyson’s lifelong commitment to improve the lives of other has been recognized by a host of organizations. Dr. Tyson was also awarded the Virginia Governor’s Award for Volunteerism in regards to her coordination of the nation’s largest free health care outreach, and in 2015 was appointed by Governor McAuliffe to the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth Board of Directors. A curated list of these awards and recognitions include:

  • Governor's Volunteerism and Services Award, 2019
  • PBS Be More Award, 2019
  • Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center (MATRC) Summit Breaking Barriers Through Telehealth, 2018
  • Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative award on behalf of the Health Wagon, 2017
  • Connections for Cardiovascular Health Grant Awardee, 2017
  • Leadership Excellence Award, Virginia Nursing Foundation, 2017
  • Primary Care Community Leadership/Research Award, 2017
  • United Nation’s Inspiring Global Nurse Award, 2017
  • AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation Connections for Cardiovascular Health Grant Award, 2017
  • ETSU College of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award, 2015
  • ETSU National Alumni Association Alumni Award of Honor, 2015
  • Daily Point of Light Award, 2014
  • Cabot Community Celebrity Award, 2014
  • AANP Domestic Humanitarian Award, 2012
  • AANP Nurse Practitioner State Award for Excellence, 2009
  • Kid’s Central, Inc. Community Service Award, 2008
  • Virginia Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Nonprofit Group Award, 2007
  • Governor’s Nonprofit Volunteer Award, 2007
  • Virginia Governor’s Community Service and Volunteerism Administrator Award, 2004
  • Virginia Rural Health Association’s Best Practice Award, 2004
  • Award for Outstanding Devotion to Community, American Breast Cancer Foundation, 2001

On a more personal note, Dr. Tyson is married to Tim. They are blessed with a family of five wonderful children: two boys and three girls. She understands the plight of individuals facing uncertain health care crises -- her oldest daughter had a brain tumor at the age of seven and survived against all odds. She is compassionate and understanding of those that are impacted by disease and disability. She is a strong advocate and champion for health care equity for all.



Dr. Paula Hill-Collins

Clinical Director

Dr. Paula Hill is a native of Southwestern Virginia. She has over 20 years’ experience as a primary care provider to rural health and vulnerable populations in Central Appalachia. For the past 10 years, she has served as the Clinical Director for the Health Wagon which is a free mobile clinic that began out of the back of Sr. Bernie’s Volkswagen Beetle giving free care. She holds dual certification as family practice NP and PNP. Since Dr. Hill began as clinical director, The Health Wagon has grown to 2 stationary clinics, 2 mobile clinic vans and continued to add specialty services and innovative models of health care such as telehealth clinics including hands-on procedures by nurse practitioners. She is co-organizer of the M7 Move mountains medical mission (Formally Wise RAM), which is the largest outreach clinic in the U. S. She obtained her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in 2010 at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She obtained her Masters of Science in Nursing in 1998 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1989 at ETSU in Johnson City, Tennessee. She is a strong advocate for nurse practitioners acquiring independent practice authority and has spoken at several local, state and national conferences. She has been interviewed by national and international media including being featured on 60 Minutes. She has testified before the Virginia Senate on NP full practice authority. She is fellow of American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, a member of Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners; Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society. She is married to a local attorney who partners with her in Collins-Hill LLC. She is an advocate for vulnerable patients and performs medical/legal consults. She is the mother of two and is actively involved in church, social and community activities.

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