Frontier Health CEO Appointed as Commissioner of TN Dept. of Mental Health

Press Release from Gov.-Elect Bill Haslam; Jan. 10, 2011:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Haslam during a stop in Kingsport today announced mental health non-profit executive Doug Varney as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health.

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, habilitation, 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. “He has spent his career at the community level and having that perspective makes him uniquely qualified to this position.”

Varney is active in the Northeast Tennessee region. He was a board member and past president of the Tennessee Association of Community Mental Health Organizations.

He is a member of the faculty at the Healthy Appalachia Institute; adjunct faculty member at East Tennessee State University; past chairman and board member of Carespark, a regional health information exchange; and a member of the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

He has a master’s degree in Psychology from East Tennessee State and was formerly licensed as a psychological examiner, marriage and family counselor and professional counselor.

“I’m a mission-oriented person, and I’m excited to use my experience and years spent in this field to help all Tennesseans facing these challenges,” Varney said. “I’m honored to be selected by Gov.-elect Haslam, and I’m looking forward to working with the great staff at the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities department.”

Varney, 60, is married to Ceresa, and they have three grown daughters and a granddaughter.

A photo of Varney can be obtained here.

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