Cynthia Thomas Finch Founder/Executive Director New Directions Health Care Solutions

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — There are fifty of them. One top honoree selected from every state. Women who have made a significant  impact on the lives of others across the nation. Meet the top woman selected for Tennessee. She’s African American, born in a little town called Newport. She is a go getter, high energy and a power house. A proud  member of the AKA sorority. 

Meet Cynthia Thomas Finch.

A woman who made a decree and and the nation watched it manifest.

In 2021, on a cold blustery winter morning,  Cynthia Thomas Finch stood on the steps of the Jacob’s building  with leaders of black organizations standing behind her and declared “We will not be left out!”

African American Health Care Clinician Workgroup in January 2021 on the steps of the Jacob’s Building. Photo by Pug Fuller

She was speaking of the need to make sure those in the marginalized communities , especially the African American elders, would receive the needed vaccines to protect them from COVID-19. Over the last two years she has held hundreds of vaccine clinics any where she was allowed to set up  Her organization, New Directions Healthcare Solutions,maintains a weekly clinic every Monday at the Free Medical Clinic in East Knoxville, and partners with different organizations to come to their site to offer vaccines to everyone in need.

Her efforts started with the now famous, “Cynthia’s List.” A notebook of names of people she carried in her pocket, names of people asking for a shot. The word spread mouth to mouth. If you needed or wanted a shot, call Cynthia and get on her list, and she would make every effort to get you vaccinated.

Almost 80,000 shots later, as the pandemic is showing signs of waning; Finch has no plans to let slow down saying, “This virus has NOT gone away.” If anything, she has moved her efforts to the next level. 

For the last month she has been partnering with Day One Relief and other organizations to provide not only the vaccine but survival supplies distribution of wipes, sanitizing products, and other cleaning products to day cars, small businesses, and churches. Truckloads of supplies are loaded into spaces around the city and all are given away free to the organizations who come.

Her last giveaway on March 9th added pediatric vaccines for children ages 5 to 11. 

Indeed, NO ONE who asked for help has been left behind on her watch.