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TN Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Assistant Director of Strategic Initiatives

TN Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services


Job Summary

Organization Description

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (DMHSAS) is charged with planning for and promoting an array of services from prevention and early intervention to resiliency and recovery. The Department oversees four Regional Mental Health Institutes (RMHIs) and contracts with mental health and substance abuse community providers across the state to offer services to Tennesseans. The Department manages a budget of more than $450 million, with funding from dedicated fees, revenue, federal grants, and state general fund appropriations.

Summary of Position

This position will work directly for the Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Commissioner. The Office of Strategic Initiatives is responsible for implementing and supporting new, unique initiatives across the department. Work responsibilities will vary as new projects arise.

Pre-employment criminal background check is required.

Pursuant to the State of Tennessee’s Workplace Discrimination and Harassment policy, the State is firmly committed to the principle of fair and equal employment opportunities for its citizens and strives to protect the rights and opportunities of all people to seek, obtain, and hold employment without being subjected to illegal discrimination and harassment in the workplace. It is the State’s policy to provide an environment free of discrimination and harassment of an individual because of that person’s race, color, national origin, age (40 and over), sex, pregnancy, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status or any other category protected by state and/or federal civil rights laws.

Job Responsibilities


  • Willingness to work on projects and initiatives as assigned by Director of Strategic Initiatives, Chief of Staff & Hospital Operations, and Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services.
  • Understands tasks and assignments, develops work plans and timelines to include due dates and major milestones, tracks progress against established benchmarks and timelines.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Excel, Word, etc.) and data collection.
  • Capable of working in a team environment with responsibilities that change with each project.
  • Skilled at program development, self-motivated and outcomes oriented to turn vision statements into project plans and program goals.
  • Support ongoing implementation of the Tennessee Recovery Navigators program statewide.
  • Support ongoing implementation and administrative support for recommended Emergency Department Behavioral Health Boarding Protocols.
  • During annual legislative session, support Legislative team by monitoring committee hearings, fulfilling administrative needs, and other duties as assigned (Primarily during the months of January – May).

Program Descriptions

  • The Tennessee Recovery Navigator Program partners with eight (8) contracted substance abuse providers across the state that employee individuals with lived experience who are eligible to become a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist. Recovery Navigators work with emergency departments and connect with patients who enter emergency departments due to an overdose, experiencing active withdrawal, or have been identified as having a substance use disorder. The Recovery Navigator meets with the patient and helps the patient get connected to treatment based on the patient’s wants and needs.
  • Emergency Department Behavioral Health Boarding Protocol program works to educate emergency departments across the state on the state recommended boarding protocols for behavioral health patients.


Core Competencies

  • Ability to prioritize and effectively manage multiple projects.
  • Demonstrates strong presentation skills.
  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills (written and oral).
  • Demonstrates flexibility and agility in dynamic environment.
  • Demonstrates strong problem-solving skills and is solutions oriented.
  • Demonstrates discipline and creativity to build programs from the ground up.
  • Able to build and maintain strong relationships across functions, both internal and external to the organization, across all levels of management.

Education / Experience

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Experience: 1-2 years of full-time professional work preferred

Additional Information


Benefits include: State Hybrid Pension Plan, 401K and 457 (Deferred Compensation), 11 paid Holidays, Annual, Bereavement, Military, Family Medical, Parental, Sick Leave, Sick Leave Bank, Flexible Benefits. Insurance is available including Health, Dental, Life, and Vision.

How to Apply

Email your resume to Alyssa.F.Cave@tn.gov to apply for this position.


  • Date Posted: April 30, 2021
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Programs and Service Delivery
  • Service Area: Government
  • Salary Range: $4,769 - $8,585