Gov.-elect Bill Haslam announced during a stop in Kingsport Monday he has selected mental health non-profit executive Doug Varney to serve as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health.
Varney will replace Virginia Trotter Betts.
Varney has spent his professional career with Gray, Tenn.-based Frontier Health, a community mental health center serving families and individuals affected by behavioral health, substance abuse and intellectual deficit issues. He worked his way up from psychological examiner, counselor and therapist to president and CEO.
The department’s mission is to plan for and promote the availability of a comprehensive array of quality prevention, early intervention, treatment and rehabilitation services and supports based on the needs and choices of individuals and families served.
“Doug Varney has spent his life dedicated to helping those affected by these issues, and I’m pleased he will be part of our team,” Haslam said in a release. “He has spent his career at the community level, and having that perspective makes him uniquely qualified to this position.”