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Billy Worsham Appointed Chair of DIDD Statewide Planning and Policy Council

NASHVILLE—Gov. Bill Lee has appointed longtime intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) professional and advocate Billy Worsham to chair of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ (DIDD) Statewide Planning and Policy Council (SPPC) for the next two years.

The Statewide Planning and Policy Council is made up of healthcare professionals, advocates and family members who are committed to improving the quality of life for people in Tennessee living with a disability. The SPPC is responsible for advising the commissioner on the plans, policies and operations of the department’s programs and facilities.

Worsham has chaired the East Planning and Policy Council, a sub-council of the SPPC, since the creation of the councils in 2011. During his tenure, he successfully led the council in the organization of a world café to identify challenges for direct support staff, creation of a toolkit to help attract and retain staff, identification of resources for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in rural areas, and supported employment efforts for people with IDD.

“Worsham’s leadership in East Tennessee has produced valuable insight, feedback and resources on behalf of the community we serve,” said DIDD Commissioner Brad Turner. “I’m excited to see how his leadership will shape the SPPC as we continue to see tremendous growth in programs operated by our department.”

"I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve our great state as chair of the Statewide Planning and Policy Council,” said Worsham. “My desire is to raise the tide of leadership for all stakeholders in the IDD system. Those whom we are charged to support need every opportunity available to them to purposefully define and direct their lives into meaningful goals and outcomes. This will broaden the path of success for Tennesseans of all abilities."

Worsham’s career in the IDD field began at age 16 as a direct support professional through the WIOA Youth Program while residing at the Smoky Mountain Children's Home in Sevierville. During his eight-year residence at the Children's Home, Billy graduated high school and earned his B.S. in Organizational Leadership and Non-profit Management.

After graduation, Billy continued to develop his career in IDD in various areas: Special Education, Independent Support Coordination, agency director and agency operations. Billy is currently a Community Resource Specialist with The Arc Tennessee.

When he is not working, you may find Billy out and about with his family or pursuing his hobby of “chasing trains”. Billy and his wife, Wendy, enjoy their home in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Worsham takes over for Dr. Arie Nettles, who served as SPPC chair from January 2018 until December 2021.