Friday, 27 July 2018
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!

Posted on 07/27/2018 4:15 PM by Kristin Neal
Thursday, 26 July 2018
Why should you care about mental health?

Why should you care about mental health? According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S experiences mental illness in a given year. In 2015, someone committed suicide every 12 seconds. Can you imagine? Count your family, your friends. Now mentally draw an X through every fifth person. Shocking, isn’t it?

Suicide and accidental overdose are two of the leading causes of death in Tennessee. Both could be prevented with intervention by a psychiatric/mental health professional if there were enough in the state, but there are not. Per the norm in healthcare, rural areas suffer disproportionately. A serious scarcity of mental health professionals leads to higher rates of untreated depression and addiction which can lead to suicide or accidental overdose.

We hope to break the cycle by offering a new financial incentive to nursing students studying psychiatric/mental health in a masters or doctoral program. In return for $40,000 payable while in school, you will commit to practice in a medically underserved community for two years following graduation. We hope you will stay longer, you are needed so much, but two years is our minimum commitment.

To read about the suicide crisis in America, notably, it’s prevalence in rural America, check out this article: This exemplifies why we care and why we created the new incentive. To find out more - contact Denise at or 615.401.7462. Stay tuned to tomorrow for news about our psychiatric medical resident financial incentive.

Posted on 07/26/2018 3:40 PM by Kristin Neal
Tuesday, 24 July 2018
JOB SPOTLIGHT: needed for Mountain People’s Health Councils, Inc. Email Nathalie Preptit at for more information about the opening!
Posted on 07/24/2018 12:13 PM by Nathalie Preptit
Wednesday, 18 July 2018
My Why- Denise Primm

"My Why"

I grew up in a small rural community. The experiences I had there have shaped my life. 

My early career path veered from one track and took me into the healthcare industry. My experience in a large academic medical center showed me one facet of that world. But it wasn’t a good fit for me.

Life took another turn, and I was given the opportunity to work with two organizations that focused on providing primary care to the medically underserved in Tennessee. At last I found my career passion.

My work at the Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development (TCWD) has allowed me to support the recruitment of physicians and other primary care providers for Tennessee’s medically underserved areas. By the end of 2018 TCWD will have facilitated the placement of over 150 clinicians in communities where they are most needed.  

The goal of connecting medical professionals with underserved communities remains, but TCWD has recently added other goals. We are also working to alleviate nursing shortages, helping build a skilled allied health workforce, and encouraging middle and high school students to pursue healthcare careers.  

TCWD’s work increases access to primary healthcare for the medically underserved communities in Tennessee. I can’t think of a more rewarding career.

Posted on 07/18/2018 1:43 PM by Denise Primm
Friday, 6 July 2018
Exciting things coming from our Nursing division!
At TCWD we talk a lot about one of our core values- #innovation. Innovation shapes all the conversations in our staff meetings and today was no different. Look for great things to come from our Nursing division!
Posted on 07/06/2018 2:00 PM by Elizabeth Walker
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