Date: 06/07/2022
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Health Disparities in Grundy and Williamson County

Grundy County averaged 32.6 accidental overdose deaths per 100,000 residents between 2012 and 2016, while Williamson County averaged 10.3 in the same time period. Let that sink in.

If you are a psychiatry or addiction medicine medical resident, read on. We need your help to address this disparity.

Why were Williamson County’s numbers so much lower? Could it be more available health services? Better education? More insured adults? Higher median household income?

Grundy and Williamson are Tennessee’s top and bottom counties in the interactive County Health Profiles recently published by the Sycamore Institute. The included data clearly shows the disparities between the counties and suggests where positive change could occur. In Grundy, 16.4% of adults hold an Associate’s degree or higher while that number skyrockets to 63%of adults in Williamson. Williamson County’s median household income is over $100,000 while Grundy has the lowest household income in the state at $28,500. In Grundy, 86% of the population (under 65) is insured while 94% of the same population in Williamson County has health insurance.

To return to the issues of accidental overdose and addiction, perhaps one reason for Williamson County’s better mental health outcomes is the availability of providers. In 2017, Grundy County had 37 mental health providers (per 100,000 residents) while Williamson County averaged 143 providers. That difference is huge.

TCWD’s mission to improve the health of Tennesseans through workforce development has led us to create financial incentives for clinicians willing to help underserved populations. We have recently debuted a $140,000 incentive for psychiatry residents, payable while in residency, for a commitment to practice in a medically underserved community for four years. Addiction medicine medical residents are eligible for our longstanding residency incentive of $105,000, also payable in residency, for a commitment to practice in a medically underserved community for three years following residency.

To discover more about the County Health Profiles in Tennessee, check out the interactive map and county profiles fact sheets at Dive into the data – its eye opening. To find out more about TCWD's psychiatry and addiction medicine incentives - contact Denise at or 615.401.7462.

We would like to give special thanks to the Psychiatry Residency program at UTHSC for hosting us yesterday while we introduced the incentive. We hope to see some of you apply to our program!

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