TN Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Reasearch and Planning Coordinator (MH/IDD Planner)

TN Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services


Job Summary

Organizational Description

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is charged with planning for and promoting an array of services from prevention and early intervention to resiliency and recovery.  TDMHSAS operates four Regional Mental Health Institutes 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 $500 million, with funding from dedicated fees, revenue, federal grants, and state general fund appropriations.

The Division of Research, Planning, Policy, and Legislation (DRPPL) coordinates departmental legislative and rulemaking activities, provides planning and support for the Statewide and Regional Planning and Policy Councils, prepares the Mental Health Block Grant Application, SAMHSA Annual Report, Joint Annual Report to the Governor, Three-Year Plan, and the Annual Needs Assessment, and supports the Department’s mission by collaborating with customers to develop an array of quality data products about mental health and substance abuse service needs, utilization and impacts.

Job Responsibilities

Summary of Position

The Research and Planning Coordinator will support both the Office of Planning and the Office of Research within the Division of Research, Planning, Policy, and Legislation by gathering information relevant to the development of the Mental Health Block Grant, Three-Year Plan, Joint Annual Report, and needs assessments.  This position will help develop grant proposals and complete grant applications to secure federal funding as well as the justification for continuation of programs and services and support the creation of compelling reports, presentations, and other documents and publications that will provide information to internal and external customers and stakeholders.  This position will interact with the Department’s Planning and Policy Council system. This position may have other duties as assigned.

This is an executive service, grant-funded position, contingent upon grant funding until September 29, 2025.

                                                                                               Prinicipal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Help/support creating annual Service Category Listing
  • Help/support gathering information/drafting and other support functions re: Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG) Application & Report
  • Help/support functions re: administering annual Needs Assessment process and compiling Needs Assessment Data Report
  • Help/support gathering information in order to complete the annual Evidence Based Programs Provider Survey
  • Help/support updating and making more user friendly the publicly available resources available to councils for Needs Assessment process
    • point of contact for research/reference questions received from Department’s Planning and Policy Council system
    • formulate basic research information summaries for use by department staff
    • gathering and analyzing information from new sources or census data
  • Potentially help with scoring MHBG-funded Announcement of Funding (AOF) proposals

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Exceptional communication skills with the ability to read, listen, and understand information and ideas presented and the ability to communicate information and ideas verbally and in writing
  • Strong writing skills with the ability to write reports, proposals, and presentations that communicate complex ideas in a clear, concise, and compelling way
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  •  Familiarity with national statistical data sources (ex. Google Archives, SAMHSA archives, publicly available national data sources-census, NSDUH, BRFSS, CDC)
  • Customer-Focused with a courteous, thoughtful, and kind demeanor. Must be able to assess customer’s needs, meet quality standards for services, and evaluate customer satisfaction
  • Highly organized with strong attention to detail
  • Flexible to changing timelines, priorities, etc.
  • Time and Project management
  • Collaborative problem solving
  • Ability to discern the nuances of complex situations



Minimum Qualifications:

Graduation from an accredited college or university with a master’s degree in mental health administration, mental health planning, health planning, public administration, healthcare administration, social or behavioral health, or other closely related field and experience equivalent to two (2) years of full-time professional mental health program or staff work or substance abuse program or staff work.


Substitution of Experience for Education: Qualifying professional mental health program or staff work or substance abuse program or staff work may substitute for the required graduate-level education on a year for year basis to a maximum of two years. (Experience may not substitute for undergraduate education. Two years of full-time qualifying experience is required to fully substitute for the master’s degree.)

Additional Information


The State of TN provides a comprehensive benefits package including:

  • Insurance including medical, dental, vision, life, disability insurance
  • Tuition Fee Waiver program for state-sponsored schools for both employees and their children
  • Retirement Benefits including pension, 401(k) and 457(b)
  • 11 paid state holidays
  • Annual and sick leave
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • State Employee Discount Program
    • Sick Leave Bank

How to Apply

Please submit resumés and cover letters to Rachel Jones at

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.


  • Date Posted: September 29, 2021
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Administrative
  • Service Area: Government
  • Salary Range: $3,365 - $5,385
  • Working Hours: 37.5 hours per week