Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Philip Richard Curd,

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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Philip Curd by Ed Wardle - Jean Schmeisser The following is an unrehearsed interview with Dr. Philip Curd for the University of Kentucky Library Peace Corps Oral History Project. The interview was conducted by Ed Wardle.

[An Interview with Philip Curd]

[Begin Tape #1, Side #1]

WARDLE: . . . Curd, M.D., who was in . . .

CURD: Guinea, . . .

WARDLE: From . . .

CURD: . . . [in?] Africa.

WARDLE: . . . from when to when?

CURD: '63 to '65.

WARDLE: Okay. Can you scoot forward a little bit and talk sort of into the microphone?

CURD: Okay. But this has no bearing on what you're looking for, other than the . . . the fact that I just . . . I'd never come up with anything [that?] was [hilarious?] [chuckle] or poignant. It . . . What happened was . . . I'll go back and get you some of the . . . the lead-up. But I think what happened to me was that after I left the Peace Corps, I kind of forgot about it. I forgot about the experience, not that it didn't influence me, but I went right into medical school. I came to Lexington a week before classes started at U.K. [University of Kentucky].

WARDLE: What year was it?

CURD: That was '65. And I terminated some time in June and I . . . I traveled around for [there?] . . . I guess for two months in . . . in Africa and Europe. [I didn't?] . . . I wanted to spend as much time doing that as I could. And came home and spent a week in Louisville. And found a place to stay in Lexington, got started, and just right into medical school. And . . . [and I miss?] . . . I maintained some of the relationships with people that I had been in the Peace Corps with, but I pretty much forgot about it for fifteen years and didn't really identify with that part of my past. I didn't deny it. I mean, in fact, one of the . . . Ted [Kay?], I don't know whether you've talked to him or not.

WARDLE: I know the name, but I haven't . . .

CURD: Yeah. See, Ted's the administrator, executive director of our organization. And I actually recruited him because of the Peace Corps hotline . . . the placement service, as the . . . as our administrator. But, even then, I mean, it . . . it was kind of like we didn't seem to . . . that was just something that we . . . that was how we got together, but as we worked on a day to day basis, we didn't really dwell too much about having been in the Peace Corps. And then in the early '80s, probably '81, I think this last newsletter [Jules?] talked about the time that we . . . that Ted and [Lowell Wagner?] and [Tom Boyd?] decided to get returned Peace Corps volunteers in the area together. And they set that up, and I went to that, and I started . . . And I think that was . . . and that was really fun. And ever since then we've had meetings like this one. It's really been good to get together with other Peace Corps volunteers. So, for the last ten or twelve years I've re-identified with . . . with that fun, it was satisfying to . . . you know, to get together with other volunteers. But, I . . . I think because of that I . . . I kind of didn't store these anecdotes and didn't get in the habit of telling people back then what was fresh in memory about having been in the Peace Corps and what I did and so forth. I think one of the other reasons was that I had probably half of the slides that I had taken . . . I would take slides. I would take film and send it home, and my mom would get it developed. And I'd say, you know, "This if for you and you can do what you want with it." At one point the Peace Corps wanted slides for, they said, training purposes. "Send us your slides and we'll send 'em back to you." So, I told Mom and she sent all these slides to Peace Corps, Washington. And they lost 'em. And . . . and they offered to . . . to pay her for 'em, and she never told 'em how much they were [chuckle] worth. So, they were lost and . . . and . . . you know, some transient trainer probably had the slides and forgot where they came from. So, you know, that . . . that . . . even . . . even less as far as visual memories [which?] in terms of being able to look at the slides that I took. Where do you want me to go from here? [inaudible]

WARDLE: How'd you get in?

CURD: How I got in? When they . . . the idea of the Peace Corps came out, it sounded good to me and I . . . I think that I was ripe for wanting to travel and wanting to s-. . . to go someplace. And . . . and the . . . the Peace Corps quite honestly just was a ticket. And I . . . I think that I had some of the idealism. I at one time wanted to be a missionary. And . . . But I . . . I think the [chuckle] reason I wanted to be a missionary is that in the Sunday school in the Presbyterian church that I went to in rural Jefferson County was . . . they .they talked about Albert Schweitzer back then and they showed pictures of west Africa and the African coast and it looked beautiful. I [thought?], "Gosh, that's a really beautiful place. Look at all these pretty waves and the nice beach," and [chuckle--Wardle] maybe thought as a missionary I could go there.

WARDLE: Just out of curiosity, I grew up in [rural?] . . . What . . . where . . . Where did you go to school? Where'd you go to church?

CURD: This was Springdale Presbyterian Church. It's . . .

WARDLE: [Across railroad?]?

CURD: Umhmm.

WARDLE: My wife grew up in Pinehurst, . . .

CURD: Umhmm.

WARDLE: . . . right across the road from . . .

CURD: Yeah. Well, I remember when Pinehurst was just a wheat field. And . . . and it just . . . You know, the . . . the church now, it has the old church and then right next to it is the new church. And [inaudible] . . . But most of the time that I was there, it was the old . . . well, all the time, it was the old church. And it just was this rural church. But being Presbyterian it didn't fit the criteria of what we . . . well, I usually think of a rural church as being Baptist and fundamentalist. But anyway, I . . . I think that I . . . I'd pretty much gotten over the idea of wanting to be a missionary, but I did like the idea of . . . By that time I decided to be a doctor. And I just liked the idea of . . . of being able to have an adventure, to do something. And when the Peace Corps idea came out, it was just like everything else that I've done in my life, it was kind of like, "Why not?" I couldn't think of any reason not to do it. And so I applied. And in my . . .

WARDLE: What . . . what year was that?

CURD: When it first came out. I was . . . I . . . I . . . I think they gave you a number when you applied and like my Peace Corps number was five thousand and something. So, it was . . . it was pretty . . . I was one of the first . . . probably one of the first six thousand people to apply. And it was probably . . . it was more like '62 maybe, because I was a so-. . . I was a junior in college. And . . . and I gotten . . . I just had gone through this phase of thinking that, you know, college really is . . . didn't seem to be much point in it and I'm not sure how I reconciled that with getting into medical school, but . . . because I don't think I ever had other ideas besides being in medical school. But I . . . I guess I wanted to take a break, so I . . . I . . . I told the Peace Corps that I was . . . was willing to go. And back then you didn't have to have a degree. They were . . . they really weren't sure what they were looking for, just . . . just Americans, I guess. If you were an American, that you meant that you could go to the third country and [chuckle--Wardle] . . . third world country and . . . and somehow help 'em because you're an American. And . . . and in the meantime . . . So, I told 'em, yeah, I'm . . . I'm [available?], any time you want to send me, I'll . . . I'll accept an assignment. In the meantime, I . . . my parents had convinced me that I should finish while I was in to being in college. And I hadn't heard from the Peace Corps, so I assumed that they weren't gonna accept me. And then late in the year I got a . . . a notice that they wanted to send me to the Philippines. And I was afraid that if I didn't accept that, that they would . . . would not be interested in me re-applying. But I . . . I deci-. . . I did write 'em and told them that decided to finish college and that [inaudible] . . .

WARDLE: Where . . . where were you at college?

CURD: I was at U. of L. [University of Louisville]. I went two . . . two years to Hanover College and then I transferred. But actually it seems like I was probably at Hanover when I applied.

WARDLE: [I dated a girl who?] went to Hanover College. [Inaudible] . . .

CURD: [Last name?].

WARDLE: [Don't worry about it?]. Anyway, she would have been [inaudible].

CURD: So, then for . . . during my senior year, I got a . . . an assignment to . . . Gabon. Yeah, it was Gabon.

WARDLE: Gabon, that's G-A-B-O-N.

CURD: Yeah.

WARDLE: Saying that for the tape.

CURD: Yeah. And I accepted and then they . . . they . . . something [had come up?]. They sent me to . . . They . . . they notified me that I was . . . would be going to Guinea instead. So, we . . . They had, for some reason . . . This . . . see, this is, of course, a French speaking country. And . . . But they had . . . they got us together and sent us to Puerto Rico for training, the idea being that the philosophy of the training were . . . was good, even though we weren't going to be speaking Spanish. And . . . and . . . and it . . . I think it was just the fact that they had two weeks that one of those camps wasn't [chuckle--Wardle] . . . wasn't scheduled, so they figured that rather have it stay empty, they'd send us down there. And we did that for two weeks, and that was a lark, it was fun.

WARDLE: Do you remember the name of the camp?

CURD: Well, see there was [Radley?] and . . .

WARDLE: Crozier.

CURD: . . . Crozier. I think we were in Radley.

WARDLE: Do you know . . .

[Interruption in taping]

WARDLE: That's what happened.

CURD: Now, th-. . . this was Mike that . . .

WARDLE: [Willson?].

CURD: . . . that died?


CURD: Was there two Mike Wilsons?

WARDLE: This is W-I-L-L-S-O-N.

CURD: Okay.

WARDLE: I don't . . .

CURD: Wasn't Sally [Spur?] either married to or living with another volunteer that died, [inaudible]?

[Interruption in taping]

CURD: Sally's one of the leaders of that group.

WARDLE: Oh, okay.

CURD: All right. So, went spent two weeks there. And I think just in answer to your question about why . . . how I got into the Peace Corps, it was just . . . it was there [chuckle]. I was . . . My group then was a community development group. And I mean, that's probably pretty key to what I've done later, just the . . . the intensive training we had in community development. And it was primary people who had not finished college. I was an exception with a degree. There was another guy who had a degree in chemistry. And the rest had various talents. Some were farm boys who were gonna be in an agricul-. . . the agricultural aspect of it. I guess actually it was mostly an agricultural project. Right after us there was a teaching group. Is that loud enough?

WARDLE: I think it's okay.

CURD: Okay.

WARDLE: What w- . . . Do you know the . . . the number of your group?

CURD: We were Guinea 1. They went over a little bef-. . . Guinea 2 got there before we did, but we were conceived s-. . . earlier, so we were Guinea 1. We were the first country to go into Guinea. Guinea at the . . . This was a . . . a very delicate, diplomatic issue because Guinea had gotten its independence in '58. Es-. . . essentially told Charles DeGaulle they didn't want any part of his commonwealth of nations or whatever . . . not commonwealth, community . . . the French community. The French just pulled out overnight and left the country pretty much without a superstructure and fairly destitute. They were desperate. They asked the United States for help in 1958. The United States didn't want to offend DeGaulle, so they said, "We're sorry, we can't help you." And then they s-. . . say, "Well who else would help us? Well, Russia will help us. Let's . . . let's ask Russia." So, they asked Russia. Russia, "Yeah, we'll help you." And they asked China and China said, "Yes, we'll help you. We'll send teachers and s-. . . engineers. We'll help you." And so all these Communist countries went into Guinea and . . . and then the Americans said, "Oh, my God, Guinea's gone Communist." Well, Guinea's such a little country and so insignificant I'm not sure why they would care, and probably didn't care. The main thing was that we hadn't offended Charles DeGaulle. And Guinea has some aluminum ore, maybe that was important. But it . . . then there was this concern that one African country was . . . was going Communist and we had to do something, so we were to go into a country with . . . seemed to have a lot of leftist leanings, and so they wanted to be sure that we had plenty of training. And I think they trained us for four months. And of course, back then you trained . . . you didn't train in-country, we trained in . . . primarily in Burlington, Vermont at the School for International Living in [Putney?], Vermont. So, we got a lot of cultural training, we got a lot of language training, very intensive. But I think the community development was . . . was pretty intense and what is community development, and how do you do it, and how do you . . . how do you become agents of change. This was all new stuff to [deal with?]. And I think that it . . . a lot of it probably stayed with me even after the Peace Corps. What I did then, I was one of . . . I think one of two volunteers in our group of about twenty-five that actually had an assignment when we got into the country. They rest of it . . . the rest . . . the . . . The project had been thrown together so quickly that it hadn't all been figured out. We . . . they just knew they wanted Peace Corps in . . . in Guinea and that they'd work out the details once we got there. So, . . . But they did know that they had this French research institute where the . . . the French had left and they wanted a . . . an American scientist. So [chuckle], I was the American scientist and . . . and they had a place for me. Oh, the other guy was my . . . my roommate, who was a mechanic. They knew they needed mechanics because they had to keep their equipment going. And he . . . he'd had a year or two of college and knew mechanics, so th-. . . he got a ticket. And we . . . we went to this place about seventy-five miles up country from the capitol, Conakry.

WARDLE: How do you spell the capitol?


WARDLE: Conakry. [All right?].

CURD: And this was a fruit research station and the . . . the French had had a very nice living quarters, which were empty, which we got. And I had a big lab that had been abandoned, and I s-. . . I used my chemistry background to set it up to do [leaf?] analysis, which is what . . . I corresponded with the French scientist who had been there and they . . . they thought that was the appropriate thing to do. And I did it, and I did it in a vacuum. there was . . . there was no . . . no local . . . They didn't assi-. . . didn't take the project seriously enough and they didn't assign me anybody that I could teach it to, really, just flunkies and . . . And so I was, . . . I mean, it was a challenge to do it, but once I did it there was nothing to come of it. And we realized this and after I'd been there about thirteen months I got pulled out and I went back to Conakry and taught at the seventh and eighth grade level for the rest of my term. And it was . . . it was a good experience. I . . . I don't think that I . . . other than my teaching, [chuckle] which I wasn't trained as a teacher. And I think there was, of course, the interchange with the people that I worked with, which was good. But it was a hell of a good experience for me and I always felt like that I took away more than I gave. And . . . and I suppose a lot of volunteers feel that way.

WARDLE: Tell me about your interactions with the locals.

CURD: The . . . the Guineans were still into the . . . they were still influenced by the . . . the colonial model, and they . . . they still had a lot of respect for Europeans, as we would be considered. And . . . and so the . . . we were treated very well. And yet, because of the fact that we were young Americans without any of the show that some . . . maybe some of the French had about their . . . their status versus the status of the . . . the people they were working with, I think the . . . the Guineans picked up on that. And I know once . . . We . . . we had houseboys, because that was the way it was done. And we . . . we became friends with our houseboys, which maybe that wasn't the way the French dealt with their . . . their . . . their help. I remember our . . . one of our houseboys saying to us, he said, "You know," he said, "you . . . " He was talking to me and my roommate. He said, "You know, you . . . you all are different." And . . . and we took that as a compliment, because I think he was saying that we . . . we had a different way of relating to them. We . . . you know, we really did like the people that we were . . . were working . . . we got along well with them. I didn't get along very well with the director of the institute, who was a person that I had . . . should have gotten along with, needed to get along with. He was a very authoritarian person and . . . and he couldn't see much value in what I was doing. He really liked my roommate who was the mechanic, because a mechanic could keep his car running and . . . and he could see that. But what I was into didn't . . . didn't seem to impress him, that I could set up a lab to do leaf analysis. [Chuckle] Which I thought was pretty good considering it was a lab that had been abandoned for two years and [chuckle] I just had to do kind of do it from scratch.

WARDLE: Tell me about the food and your liv-. . . and [well, these?], you mentioned your living quarters.

CURD: Yeah, we had like a . . . a villa that . . . that was built along the French model. But it was spacious. We had separate bedrooms. We had running water most of the time. And we had electricity most of the time. And we had pretty good. The food was typical west African food. We didn't have much imported food. Occasionally we might have somebody come stay with us who was affiliated with the . . . the embassy or doing research with A.I.D. [______________________] and . . . and that . . . we could get some extra goodies. And then the other exception to that was that while I was in . . . in Conakry, the H.O.P.E. [________________] ship was there. And the H.O.P.E. was the hospital ship un-. . . until it was moth-balled probably twenty years ago, probably not too long after this. I would do some volunteer work on that. And you could go there and they'd have all this American food in there. And it . . . we could sneak through the line sometimes and . . . and get milkshakes and [chuckles] steak. They had hot showers [chuckle]. But otherwise we . . . we had . . . we had rice and . . . and peanut base sauce, tomato sauce. We would go to the market or our boy would go to the market and we'd get local vegetables. And I liked it. I . . . I got back to medical school and didn't have a lot of money to go through medical school on, and I was with a guy . . . my roommate was a guy who had lived for a while in east Africa. And I said, "Listen, I've got this great idea. We just buy fifty pounds of rice at a time and we make this African sauce. And every night we just warm it up. And, you know, one week we can make chicken African sauce and the next me-. . . next week we could make beef African sauce," and we figured it'd cost about thirty-five sauce a day to eat [chuckle].

WARDLE: Amazing [chuckle].

CURD: So, I liked it. I mean, I still . . . You know, I really like the Africa food.

WARDLE: Tell me about the village that the research institute was located [in?].

CURD: It was . . . it was more of a community. It was . . . it . . . it . . . Because it was tied in with the fruit research institute, it didn't have a . . . I got the sense that it didn't have a lot of . . . it wasn't as cohesive as maybe some other villages might have been.

WARDLE: I see.

CURD: We did travel occasionally to other villages. But I . . . I think because we didn't really live in the village, also we didn't really get a sense of what the . . . the village life was like as much as . . . as we might have otherwise. We . . . we actually tried to learn some of the local languages and other than just learning a few words of greeting, we didn't get very far with that.

WARDLE: Umhmm. The . . . the national language was French.

CURD: Was French.

WARDLE: When you went back to the capitol, t-. . . tell me about what happened then. Where did you live?

CURD: I lived with teachers. I had a roommate who was another . . . one of the other teaching volunteers. And . . . and this exposed us a lot . . . to some extent to other ex-patriots. The . . . some . . . right below us was a French family, because a lot of the teachers were . . . who were French ex-patriots or other nationalities, other Americans, other Peace Corps volunteers. So then too there wasn't a . . . a sense of being involved in the G-. . . Guinean community.

WARDLE: What . . . Tell me about the city of Conakry.

CURD: Conakry, I presume, was built along . . . as part of a colonial . . . It was certainly developed as the capitol of the . . . of the French west African country. And . . . and so it had some of that appearance of . . . of French city engineering. And in . . . in a sense it was somewhat . . . It was a beautiful city, although there was a lot of poverty. But it . . . it was a peninsula that . . . into the . . . into the . . . into the Atlantic, and it . . . I don't remember a whole lot about it. [Inaudible] go to the Peace Corps headquarters occasionally and . . . and it was certainly a city typical, probably, of . . . of west African cities where there was a lot of people, a lot of bicycles. I had . . . I had a . . . [one of those?] [Velo Solexes?], which is a motorized bicycle, to get around on. [inaudible] . . .

WARDLE: Tell me about the . . . did anything dangerous ever happen to you? Were you ever ill?

CURD: No, we were pretty health. I had a tapeworm. That's . . . that was unique, I suppose [chuckle].

WARDLE: [Inaudible] because he had a tapeworm. [Inaudible].

CURD: Well, no, I . . . I . . . we . . . I didn't have any big health problems. It was a safe country and I think that's one of the stories, like yesterday I was . . . or day before, I was talking with a . . . a fellow who is one of my neighbors and he told me a . . . a racist joke involving black people. And . . . and in . . . and Jackson County's a fairly racist place. And he made the comment, he said, "You know, it's not as racist around here as it used to be." And I told him about how that I found the word, which was in friendly conversation over coffee, but I told him that I found the word . . . not in response to his . . . his joke, 'cause he actually didn't use the word "nigger" in . . . in the joke. He said that other people around here say niggers but he didn't. And I said that . . . that in the family that I grew up in, that my mother, who was fairly liberal, and . . . and pointed out to me that . . . that we were all equals and that . . . that "nigger" was not a proper term. And my father . . . and . . . would . . . would use the word "nigger", I think more just to bait us than . . . than because he really thought it was a proper word to use. But then I told him about having lived in . . . in Africa and how . . . you know, that . . . once you live in a . . . in a . . . in a African or black community, you . . . you . . . you lose the sense of differentness. Black people are people, especially if you're in a black society. And . . . and then I also pointed out how safe I felt and . . . and that I c-. . . we'd go out partying and go to bars and . . . and I might walk back home at two o'clock in the morning in the streets of Conakry not taking any . . . any concern about where I was going or what might happen to me. And, of course, that was close to thirty years ago, but . . . It may not be that way now, but still, I think there was a lot of . . . In that particular black society there seemed to be a fair amount of peace and . . . and harmony. So I pointed that out to him that . . . you know, that to me, at least, there wa-. . . there was no reason to be . . . in any way think that . . . that negroes were inferior [or what have you?]. But . . . but the . . . that did, in . . . in . . . in terms of any danger . . . I . . . I really don't recall ever feeling any danger [while I was there?].

WARDLE: Anything strange or unusual happen to any of the other people in your Peace Corps group?

CURD: Some got ill. Some got maybe hepatitis and some had some of the tropical illnesses. And . . . and actually were quite ill for a while. We had one black woman in the group who . . . who had a hard time with that. I think she came from a rural black community in the United States and she just really . . . she had to actually terminate. She couldn't handle the identity crisis about being a black American and being in a . . . in a black culture.

WARDLE: Well, how did it impact her while she was there? What happened to her? How did the people . . .

CURD: I don't . . . I don't remember the details. I just remember the . . . the conclusion that I . . . at least I heard was that it . . . it was . . . just presented her with an identity crisis about her . . . you know, her blackness versus these other people's black . . . blackness. Maybe that . . . maybe that really wasn't the major factor, maybe she would have had trouble if she had been white. This . . . the . . . I think back then . . . You were in the Peace Corps in '67?

WARDLE: '67 and '8.

CURD: Yeah. I think back then they had more rigid selection process [inaudible]. And . . . and even so, I mean, we had three . . . out of the two groups, we had at least three people who terminated because psychologically they couldn't . . . I mean, they had . . . they became psychologically . . . mentally . . . which, seems like that a big part of training, was they were trying to figure out who . . . you know, who would not have that happen.

WARDLE: [Like the?] long interviews with the psychiatrists and that sort of thing?

CURD: Umhmm.

WARDLE: I don't know if you had that or not [inaudible] . . .

CURD: I think we did. I don't remember too much about it.

WARDLE: Is there anything you want to . . . you want to mention about your . . .

CURD: Well, I . . . I think . . . Two things, probably. One is that . . . that there is . . . we remarked while we were in Africa that there was a certain sense of flowing in the . . . the lives of the . . . the people living in Guinea. I think this is probably true for west Africa, and maybe it was just any third world culture versus the American culture of the early 1960s, which I would just . . . The American culture, I think, of the 1960s, the early 1960s, was pretty rigid, and uptight, and tending to many details, and the west African culture was laid-back, and relaxed, and . . . and emphasized personal relationships and living. And when I got into medical school, I actually focused on that, and I realized that there was something I had gotten from those two years of . . . of living in west Africa, and other people had shared it. There was a saying, "West Africa wins again," which I think implied that there was some . . . something that it did to our mentality to have us see the world differently than we had seen it before. And the way it impacted on me was that I said . . . and I can remember this conscious thought process I went through, just that I . . . I knew that there was some . . . something related to all of that that I wanted to hang onto. And the way I verbalized it was that I wanted to go through medical school without stopping living to get through medical school. I wa-. . . That I felt that you could go through medical school and still live, and still have a life. That you don't put your life on hold for four years so you can get through medical school. Now, whether or not other people really did this or not, I don't know, but I had the sense that . . . that some of my classmates did. I mean, that there was this . . . there was this perhaps even the expectation that medical school was so important that you had to . . . whatever time you had, had to be devoted to medical school and the classes. That if you . . . One time I . . . there was a . . . a poet giving a presentation on campus at U.K. And I decided that I wanted to go hear this poet. And I can remember getting up, you know, at seven o'clock and saying, "[I'm gonna go?] hear a poet." And my . . . one of my classmates, the ones that were around me, said, "Oh," you know, they [chuckle] said, "that's an interesting idea. [Chuckle--Wardle] [What'd you?] do, dropping out of med. school? You sure you have time to do that?" So, I . . . Whether or not this really helped me or not, I don't . . . I don't know. At the time, U.K. didn't have a . . . a gr-. . . had a pass/fail grading which kind of helped me carry that out. So, I remember that. The other thing, I think, is just the community development thing. I . . . you know, when I got through the Peace Corps, I went into a medical school that actually had a department of community medicine, and that was community development all over from the medical perspective. And, you know, in retrospect that's what I did, I . . . I went into a community and . . . and set up a health care organization and recruited somebody from the Peace Corps who has . . . has been very important as far as what we've been able to do as far as setting up a . . . a non-profit health care organization that's responsive to the community, that involves the community, and . . . and through the [door?] in what it does. And . . . and we've been successful.

WARDLE: Tell me, e-. . . even though we're focusing here on Peace Corps, but tell me just a little bit, just in summary about the [White House?] Medical Clinic and how it came to be, and . . . and [inaudible], where it is, where it's located, [the type?] of community it's in.

CURD: Well, it started . . . we started it in Jackson County. I . . . When I got out of medical school and did a year or two in Hawaii just for the hell of it. We lived in Berea and I looked around and I . . . I picked Jackson County as a place. In the meantime, I'd been formulating this idea that I would set up a non-profit clinic and get other doctors to come with me, and we'd go into this rural community and . . . and try and do what we could to provide comprehensive health care. And so, Jackson County is just up into the mountains from Berea, and McKee's the county seat. And so we . . . I set this up as a non-profit corporation, got a few people to be on the board of directors initially and then we went into business. Got another doctor to work with me and then just essentially were another doctor's practice and . . . or two doctors' practice. And we did that really for four or five years until Ted Kay come on, and we realized we needed a full-time administrator, and that we needed to get some more funding. And we ended up getting a federal grant to subsidize our . . . our care, because of the l-. . . lack of medical care and the level of indigency in the area.

WARDLE: What year did you start this?

CURD: '72. Really '73.

WARDLE: And what are the parallels you might see between what you're doing there and what you might be doing [inaudible]?

CURD: Well, I think it's . . . it's community development, it's identifying problems, it's . . . it's looking at the community and involving the community, and saying, what are the problems, what are the health problems in this community?

WARDLE: In what way does your board, which [inaudible] . . .

CURD: Umhmm.

WARDLE: . . . in . . . in what way did they help you focus on things that say other family medical practitioners would not . . . do not? What do you do that's different from a city [inaudible]?

WARDLE: Well, what we do different is we . . . we go to the community, for one thing. And, for example, as a . . . we did this process several years ago where we got some of our board members and some of the people in the community, like the county judge, and we made a list of all the problems. And the two that seemed to . . . to be ones that we could deal with was, number one, there was no hospice service in the community, and number two, there was no school nurse. And so, we were instrumental in hospice being set up in the county, and also in the school board establishing the position of a school nurse along . . . in cooperation with the health department. So, over the years we . . . we've worked with or-. . . organizations like the health department, and to some extent the s-. . . school board and fiscal court. Ted Kay's now . . . or just recently finished a term as president of the development association. So . . .

WARDLE: How large is Jackson County?

CURD: It's about eleven thousand, twelve thousand population.

WARDLE: Let me ask you the question that . . . if you're not comfortable in answering it, that's okay, but since I work in the medical field, I might know something about it. Would you say that income-wise you sacrifice [inaudible] where you are with . . . even including the federal grants, etc.?

CURD: I think so. I think that what . . . what I've been paid over the years is certainly adequate, it suits me. What we . . . What really seems to come to the fore is though that to recruit other people we have to pay them more. I get paid more now, primarily because our scales had to go up in order to . . . to be competitive in recruiting. But even so, I think that it's less than . . . than say I could have made if I'd gone to a urban . . . or suburban area like Lexington. But on the other hand, I think Kentucky as a state is . . . is low as far as what doctors expect to get, especially primary care doctors. But I'm not sure why that should be. But it has-. . . I don't think it's been a big factor. I . . . I don't think of myself as a missionary, I don't think of myself as somebody who's . . . who's made a sacrifice to . . . to . . . to do what I do. We have some missionaries in the county who . . . who have made that statement and gotten all sorts of shit about it from the . . . the press and the local people writing [inaudible].

WARDLE: That they are missionaries?

CURD: That they're making a sacrifice.

WARDLE: Oh, that they're making a sacrifice.

CURD: That . . . that . . . that somehow living in Jackson County is a hardship case. And they could have stayed in Dayton or . . . or Cincinnati and [chuckle--Wardle] had a good life.

WARDLE: [inaudible]

CURD: No, it didn't. It's unfortunate, because they're . . . they're good people.

WARDLE: Very good. Anything else you want to say about your Peace Corps experience?

CURD: Can't think of anything.

WARDLE: Okay. Good.

CURD: Hope that's helpful [inaudible]. [Interference] Tell me again what you do with [inaudible].

[End of Interview]