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Media Release: Dr. Nettles Reappointed as SPPC Chair

Friday, December 27, 2019 | 09:48am

Friday, December 27, 2019

CONTACT: Krystyne Brown
OFFICE: 615-393-1459

Rural service provision and direct support professional resources among accomplishments throughout first term


NASHVILLE, TN - Dr. Arie Nettles has accepted Gov. Bill Lee’s reappointment as chair of the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ (DIDD) Statewide Planning and Policy Council (SPPC) effective January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2021.

The Statewide Planning and Policy Council is made up of healthcare professionals, advocates and family members who are committed to improving the quality of life for people in Tennessee living with a disability. The SPPC is responsible for advising the commissioner as to plans and policies to be followed in the service systems and the operation of the department programs and facilities. The council also recommends legislation for DIDD programs and facilities. Dr. Nettles has served as an SPPC member and advocate for children since 2014 and was first appointed chair by Governor Haslam in 2018. During her first term as chair, her historical expertise, knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that face the intellectual and developmental disability service-delivery system, and commitment to the representation of cultural diversity has been an asset to the council, department, and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

"Dr. Nettles’ expertise has been invaluable to the department and her dedication to helping those who are living with a disability is unrivaled,” DIDD Commissioner Brad Turner said. “I am grateful that she will continue to lead the council and excited about the great things we will accomplish together for the betterment of Tennesseans.”

Under Dr. Nettles’ leadership, the council, through its four regional subcouncils, developed a residential resource manual for persons in services and a toolkit to help recruit and retain direct support professionals.

Dr. Nettles says she is prepared to build on the momentum from her previous term where she and the council focused on providing guidance and feedback on service provision in rural areas and DIDD’s nationally-recognized Enabling Technology initiative.

“I am deeply honored,” Dr. Nettles said. “My reappointment continues the opportunity to work with the visionary DIDD Commissioner Turner and staff; and incredibly expert, talented, and passionate volunteers who come together from all over the state. All are committed to making a difference in Tennessee, and the nation, with innovation, policy, and service to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Dr. Arie L. Nettles is an Associate Professor of clinical pediatrics and psychologist for school-age children to young adults with developmental disabilities, autism, and cleft craniofacial for the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Division of Department of Pediatrics. As founding director, Dr. Nettles leads the Office of Inclusion and Health Equity (OIHE), that began as a unique effort between the Department of Pediatrics and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital to elevate treatment, teaching, and research with education and training in cultural awareness and respect at work. OIHE is now medical enterprise wide. Dr. Nettles is a licensed psychologist in Tennessee and Michigan; a nationally certified school psychologist; a nationally registered health service provider; and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center member. She studies inequities in educational testing and assessment and has now expanded to the impact of education and training in healthcare.

Learn more about DIDD’s Planning and Policy Councils here:


About the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is the state agency responsible for administration and oversight of community-based services for approximately 8,000 people with intellectual disabilities as well as 4,000 people through the Family Support Program. Every day, the department strives to support people to live rewarding and fulfilling lives. It does so by ensuring people are free to exercise rights, engage with their broader communities and experience optimal health. DIDD is the first state service delivery system in the nation to receive Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership. It has also been recognized as a national leader in its efforts to increase competitive, community-based employment outcomes for people with disabilities.