Nashville, Tenn. — Deborah Taylor Tate, director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and former mental health policy advisor for Governor Don Sundquist, has joined the board of directors of Centerstone, Middle Tennessee’s leading provider of mental health services.
Centerstone is a non-profit organization comprised of 59 behavioral health facilities located in mid-state counties. Centerstone provides a comprehensive range of mental health services for children and adults including research and evaluation and treatment for mental illness and substance abuse. Centerstone assists approximately 40,000 Tennesseans each year.
“Debi’s contributions to mental health in Tennessee and her insight into state government make her a valuable addition to our board,” said David Paine, chairman of the board of Centerstone. “Her vision and experience will compliment our organization as it embarks on new and exciting opportunities.”
Tate is currently serving a six-year term as director of Tennessee’s Regulatory Authority. She was appointed to the position in February 2002 by the governor and confirmed by the Tennessee General Assembly. She served as a member of Governor Sundquist’s senior staff and was his designee to the Juvenile Justice Commission and the TennCare Partners Advisory Committee from 1996 to 2000.
As Governor Sundquist’s mental health policy advisor for statewide mental health issues, Tate was instrumental in the creation and implementation of a nine-point plan to resolve issues relative to services provided by TennCare. In this role, she also served as the governor’s appointee to the Title 33 Mental Health Revision Commission, which recently was enacted into law by the Tennessee General Assembly. A key component of this entirely new mental health code is the addition of a separate chapter for children. Prior to joining the Sundquist administration, Tate was director of the State and Local Policy Center at the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies at Vanderbilt University.
As a licensed attorney in the State of Tennessee, Tate is a mediator approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Her areas of private practice have included juvenile and family law as well as probate and estate law, where she frequently served as guardian ad litem for children and the elderly.
From 1979 to 1985, Tate was on the senior staff and as assistant legal counsel to Governor Lamar Alexander, overseeing initiatives including the “Jobs for High School Graduates Program” and the “Tennesseans for Better Schools,” a citizens’ lobby which was instrumental in the passage of The Better Schools Plan.
Tate has served on the adjunct faculty at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing and Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey Graduate School of Business. She also lectured at the First Amendment Center’s recently opened Diversity Institute.
Widely known as a leader in children’s and family issues, Tate is the co-founder and former president of Renewal House, a recovery residence for women addicted to crack cocaine and their children. Her board service has included leadership positions on the boards of the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Family and Children’s Services, Junior League of Nashville, Martha O’Bryan Center Foundation, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and League of Women Voters. She has also served as an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church.