Commissioner Betts and Three Colleagues Honored by American Journal of Nursing for Leadership In Mental Health
NASHVILLE—The January 2006 issue of the American Journal of Nursing, the official journal of the American Nurses Association, recognizes the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (TDMHDD) Commissioner Virginia Trotter Betts along with three members of her professional nurse staff, as leaders in the mental health field.
Commissioner Betts, Frieda Hopkins Outlaw, Candace Gilligan and Lynn McDonald are featured in their roles in fighting the stigma of mental illness and promoting treatment options on behalf of people often considered the most voiceless of our nation’s citizens. A major component for overall good health, mental health is often overlooked and misunderstood by the general public. Nurses have been long regarded as having an extremely important role in patient and consumer health care.
“The opportunity to bring knowledge to the public is critical,” said Commissioner Betts in the article. “So much of what I’ve accomplished in life, I learned in Nursing 101—being a nurse gives one the absolute best perspective.”
In the TDMHDD, Candace Gilligan oversees psychiatric and substance abuse services funded through Medicaid’s Managed Care program; Lynn McDonald is the first nurse chief officer of the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute; and Freida Hopkins Outlaw, a child and adolescent specialist, serves as the assistant commissioner for the Office of Special Populations and Minority Services. As a collective, the four bring different strengths to their positions, and they all trust each other’s wisdom in setting policy, managing the business of mental health care, and providing input for continued success in assuring that quality services are established and maintained statewide. Tennessee is well served and well represented by these four professional nurse leaders.