Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
Chair, Executive Committee
Marie Williams was appointed commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services by Governor Bill Haslam in October 2016. In her previous position as deputy director, Ms. Williams served as top advisor to the commissioner and assisted in the department’s closure of Lakeshore Mental Health Institute, an initiative that reinvested $20.5 million into community-based services and enlisted the support of three East Tennessee private psychiatric in-patient hospital partners to provide services to patients previously served by Lakeshore. She also worked with the commissioner to create of the Prescription for Success initiative, a multi-faceted strategy to address the prescription drug problem in Tennessee. Previously, Williams served as the Assistant Commissioner of Mental Health Services, where she worked to expand consumer-based recovery services and oversaw the statewide planning and implementation of the behavioral health safety net program, which provides services for persons who were dis-enrolled from TennCare. Williams also launched the Creating Homes Initiative, which has developed 15,000 supportive housing options along a continuum that allows for persons diagnosed with mental illness and co-occurring disorders to live in their communities in the least restrictive settings. Williams served as a Community Builder Fellow with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as director of homeless services for Catholic Charities of Memphis, and led the Homeless Services at the Midtown Mental Health Center in Memphis.