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Commissioner's Office

Commissioner Raquel Hatter

Dr. Hatter has dedicated more than 20 years of her life to serving adults, children, and families. The Department is responsible for administering more than 20 types of services throughout Tennessee, including Families First, Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid/TennCare, Child Support, Child Care, Adult Protective Services, and Rehabilitation Services. DHS has more than 120 office locations, a budget of $3 billion and approximately 5,400 employees.

Dr. Hatter’s work has focused on working with resilient individuals.  Throughout her journey she has served in many roles including frontline practitioner, therapist, outreach worker, program director, VP/Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer.  She has done this work across systems including Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare, Mental Health, and Human Services.  She has done extensive work in supporting positive and effective public-private partnerships on behalf of adults, children, and families at a state and national level. She adheres to a strength-based service philosophy and a servant leadership philosophy.

As an administrator and executive, her areas of focus include: transformational organizational change, fiscal stewardship, strategic management, staff development, accountability, positive outcomes, cultural sensitivity, and public policy. She played an integral role in the Systems of Care efforts across the nation. The focus of this work has been on creating real partnerships with families and youth served by public and private providers with emphasis on true empowerment, respect, cultural and linguistic competence, and results.   In 2004, 2005, and 2011, she spent time doing work focused on indigenous economically disadvantaged communities in the Northern Territory of Australia and throughout. She has also served as an adjunct instructor including distance learning and traditional classroom teaching at community colleges and universities in Tennessee and Michigan.  She has published articles in international journals on Transformational Organizational Change. She serves on countless boards, committees, and task forces focused on human services.  

She currently serves on the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) Commission, United Ways of Tennessee Board of Directors, Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM) Board of Directors, and is Chair of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) Executive Policy Committee. 

Educationally, Dr. Hatter holds a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Community Psychology from the University of Michigan, a Masters in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University and a Doctorate of Education in Child, Youth, and Family Studies with a specialization in Management of Programs from Nova Southeastern University.


Dr. Hatter has received various awards and honors including: Middle Tennessee Advocate of the Year Award from the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare (TCSW); Advocate of the Year Award from the Women’s Business Council; and Pan Hellenic Outstanding Business Leader Award. The Dr. Raquel Hatter Scholarship Fund was established in honor of her service to children and youth in Michigan.  In addition, she received a letter of recognition from the Governor of Michigan and a Mayoral Proclamation for her service to children and families.

Personally, Dr. Hatter is a wife and mother.  She overcame thyroid cancer as a teen and is a survivor of sexual abuse.  She is also a woman of faith and has been in various service roles in the ministry.  She is a product of Head Start.  She has a long history of volunteering in human and social services agencies such as Big Brothers- Big Sisters and YWCA.