NASHVILLE, TN — Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner Marie Williams has been named the recipient of the National Council for Behavioral Health’s 2019 Excellence in Advocacy Individual Achievement award. The honor will be presented at the group’s annual conference in Nashville in March.
“I am humbled and grateful to receive this award, and it truly wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance, counsel, and example of so many colleagues and teammates,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. “Starting out as a social worker in Memphis, I never could have dreamed of being in this position today, in a moment where so many currents are combining to create positive change for Tennesseans living with mental health and substance abuse challenges.”
Williams was reappointed as TDMHSAS commissioner in January by Gov. Bill Lee after serving in the role for the final two years of Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration. In her time as commissioner, Williams has served as a leader in addressing several essential issues facing Tennessee including the opioid crisis, emergency psychiatric services, and criminal justice reform on top of her duties leading a department with a $380 million dollar budget and more than 1,800 employees.
The National Council for Behavioral Health’s Awards of Excellence recognize and honor individuals and organizations in behavioral health care for their ingenuity, hard work and dedication to improving the lives of Americans living with mental illnesses and addictions.
The Excellence in Advocacy award honors an individual who has demonstrated exemplary efforts and results over the last 12 months advocating for legislative or regulatory policies that increase access to mental health and substance use services.
The National Council’s 2019 convention will bring more than 5,000 behavioral health professionals to Nashville in late March to discuss solutions and outcomes that transform health care.