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Department of Mental Health Commissioner

  • Commissioner E. Douglas Varney
  • Photo of Doug VarneyDoug Varney assumed his post as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services on January 18, 2011.
  • Commissioner Varney has spent most of 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • “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 upon being picked. “I’m honored to be selected by Gov.-elect Haslam, and I'm looking forward to working with the great staff.”
  • Contact: or (615) 532-6503