Rob Cotterman Named Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute CEO

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 | 9:28am

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is pleased to announce the appointment of Rob Cotterman as its Chief Executive Officer for the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute, located in Nashville. The designation for Cotterman has been 30 years in the making. 

Cotterman joined the Department in 1981 in an entry level position as a Psychiatric Technician at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute in Chattanooga.  He spent the next three decades there improving the lives of individuals struggling with mental illness.

“Over the course of Rob’s tenure with the department he has provided care as a counselor, rehabilitation therapist and supervisor, program director, and most recently as an Assistant Superintendent for Program Services,” said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. “The opportunity to provide leadership to our hospital system is something Rob has aspired to for quite some time. Rob’s years of experience and understanding of hospital operations is a benefit and will serve our patients, providers, and staff with the utmost care and professionalism.”

“I am honored, privileged, and humbled to be asked to lead Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute,” said Cotterman. “The hospital has a phenomenal, talented, and skilled staff, and I am thankful to be a part of it. Daily, I am amazed at what we are able to accomplish. We plan to continue to accomplish amazing things as we face the challenges, changes, and new opportunities ahead. It is exciting, and I am thankful to be a part of it.”

Among Cotterman’s goals in his new role is to strengthen the bond with the many Middle Tennessee community mental health providers, who make up the vital continuum of care for patients upon their discharge from the mental health institute.

“By marrying together high-quality inpatient services with the services of the community partners, we can aspire to positive outcomes for each of the persons entrusted to our care,” said Cotterman. “More specifically, I think my heartfelt belief that the work we do is crucial, important, and indispensable. Absent our services Tennesseans would suffer greatly.”

Cotterman says he has seen genuine progress in overcoming stigma associated with mental illness and more accepting mental illness as a disease that can be treated, just as any other disease.

“I truly believe that our hospitals are the cutting edge in providing inpatient intervention for individuals in psychiatric crisis,” said Cotterman. “Our medical services, our professional services, and our paraprofessional services are the best I have seen, and we can be proud of the quality of care we give to persons in need, who often may not have other resources available to them.”

“Rob’s depth of operational knowledge, governance, and desire to cultivate strong community relations will serve our patients well long after they leave the institute, with many relying on continued care from community providers throughout the Middle Tennessee region,” said Commissioner Varney.

Cotterman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from William Jennings Bryan College and attained a Master of Science degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Rob served as an ancillary professor in the Graduate School of Psychology for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and as a day treatment counselor for Chattanooga Psychiatric Clinic, now Fortwood Center.

Rob served on the Board of Directors for several community organizations that include: the AIM Center, Hamilton County Homeless Healthcare Center, and Hamilton County Mental Health Court Advisory Board.

Cotterman replaces outgoing CEO Bob Micinski who recently announced his retirement from the Department.

 In 2015 Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute earned The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval® Top Performer status for the third consecutive year. The acknowledgement symbolizes a high degree of quality, reflecting the institute’s commitment to providing safe and effective care.

Our Mission: Provide, plan for, and promote a comprehensive array of quality prevention, early intervention, treatment, habilitation, rehabilitation and recovery support services for Tennesseans with mental illness and substance abuse issues.  Our Vision: To be one of the nation's most innovative and proactive state behavioral health authorities for Tennesseans dealing with mental health and substance abuse problems.

For more information, visit:

Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services