TDMHSAS Announces New Chief Executive Officers at Two Regional Mental Health Institutes

Experienced leaders move into new assignments in Memphis and Bolivar
Tuesday, October 06, 2020 | 12:26pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two of Tennessee’s four Regional Mental Health Institutes (RMHIs) are getting new Chief Executive Officers, and the faces are familiar ones.  Josh Carter is the new CEO at Western Mental Health Institute in Bolivar, and Jeff Coons is the new CEO at Memphis Mental Health Institute.

Josh Carter has more than 18 years of service with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.  Carter spent more than 14 years of that time in various roles at Western Mental Health Institute (WMHI) before he was named CEO of Memphis Mental Health Institute (MMHI) in April 2017.

Jeff Coons has been with the department for 13 years, serving as an Assistant General Counsel for both WMHI and MMHI before being named Hospital Administrator at MMHI in September 2017. 

Zach Edmiston is moving into the role of Hospital Administrator at MMHI.  Edmiston served as Assistant Nurse Executive at MMHI for two and a half years leading the hospital’s COVID-19 response and Electronic Clinical Record implementation.

“To have the talent already in our hospitals to be able to promote from within to fill these vacancies says a lot about the skill, dedication, and passion of the men and women who serve at our Regional Mental Health Institutes,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.  “Josh Carter has a proven track record of excellence in leadership and operations, and his knowledge, experience, and abilities will continue to serve WMHI well moving forward.  Jeff Coons’s background, experience, and expertise will continue to be valuable assets in his new role as CEO of MMHI.”

In announcing the new CEOs, the department would also like to express gratitude to Mike Murley who has served as Interim CEO at WMHI.  Murley has worked at WMHI for more than 23 years and provided invaluable leadership over the last several months as the hospital navigated the risks of COVID-19.

The vacancy at WMHI opened in May of this year when long-time CEO Roger Pursley retired.  Pursley’s nearly 18 years as CEO at WMHI capped off an exceptional 4-decade career in mental health services.

Learn more about Tennessee’s four Regional Mental Health Institutes at this link: