The BHWET Program

Our Purpose

The aim of the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program, within the School of Medicine,  to increase and expand the number of highly-skilled, culturally competent, behavioral health practitioners to provide behavioral health services in primary care settings to vulnerable populations living in rural and medically underserved communities across the state of Tennessee, and nationwide.

BHWET is an inter-professional and collaborative partnership between the residency training programs in the departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (PBS), and Family and Community Medicine (Family Medicine).

Statewide Need

There are a number of dynamics expected to affect the demand for primary care physicians over the next decade, including:

  • decreasing supply of primary care providers,
  • increasing demand for primary care physicians,
  • changing population demographics (increased number of elderly persons),
  • diversity/cultural competency in the health workforce,
  • transformation of the health care delivery system, and
  • greater integration of advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants.

Tennessee has fewer primary care providers than the national average. The ratio of primary care physicians per 10,000 of the population is 8.47 compared to 9.02 nationally. The death of primary care physicians is particularly bleak in rural areas (5.74 for TN compared to 7.19 nationally). Primary care physician assistants are similarly low (.26/10,000 TN vs .41/10,000 nationally and .24/10,000 TN vs. .59/10,000 nationally in rural areas. (Southeast Regional Center for Health Workforce Studies).

BHWET Co-Directors


Lloyda Williamson, M.D., D.F.A.P.A., D.F.A.A.C.A.P.

Chair & Professor
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Millard Collins, MD

Chair & Associate Professor
Family & Community Medicine


Patricia Matthews-Juarez, PhD

Tenured Professor
Family & Community Medicine