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Friday, Aug 7, 2020

Dr. Tony Graham joins Ballad Health as regional medical director of psychiatry and behavioral health for Southwest Virginia, Kingsport and Bristol markets

Tony Graham portrait photo, head and shoulders

Dr. Tony Graham has joined Ballad Health to serve as the regional medical director of psychiatry and behavioral health for the Southwest Virginia, Kingsport and Bristol markets.

As medical director, Graham will be the physician leader for the Dickenson County, Russell County, Bristol and Kingsport psychiatry teams, which make up approximately 15 providers. His role also includes serving as the attending physician for Clearview Behavioral Health at Russell County Hospital.

“I look forward to working with the leaders in the Ballad Behavioral Health Services Division to develop and incorporate integrated, evidence-based approaches to providing services for primary psychiatric conditions, as well as co-occurring substance abuse disorders and other overlapping mental health conditions,” Graham said.

“The resources, in terms of psychiatric manpower and availability of access, have been historically challenging for this area, especially in Southwest Virginia. So, I’m excited that under the leadership of the Ballad Behavioral Health Services Division, we’re looking to expand access of services, recruit additional providers and coordinate necessary services.”

Graham said one of his initiatives will be to continue Ballad Health’s progress in developing inpatient and outpatient behavioral health programs, as well as telehealth and school-based mental health programs.

“We want to do this in collaboration with other mental health providers and organizations in the area so that there is a continuum of care for a spectrum of interventions. As providers, our No. 1 goal is to help people get the care they need in a timely fashion,” he said.

Trish Baise, chief executive officer of the Ballad Behavioral Health Services Division, said Graham is a valuable addition to her leadership team.

“We welcome Dr. Graham with open arms, as he will play a vital role in helping Ballad Health continue its expansion of behavioral and mental health services in underserved areas of our region,” Baise said.

“Addressing our region’s gaps in mental and behavioral health services remains one of Ballad Health’s top priorities. Without access to treatment, mental and behavioral health conditions can lead to other issues, like homelessness, legal problems and lower educational and economic attainment.”

A native of Wise County Virginia, Graham has extensive experience in mental health and psychiatric services both on a statewide and national level.

Between 1993 and 1997, Graham served as the medical director of the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute in Marion, Virginia, where he oversaw 10 full-time physicians. During that time, he also participated in the development of the Appal-Link Project, one of the first telehealth programs to deliver telehealth services in the United States and the first program to do so in Virginia.

In 1997, Graham became the first-ever chief of telemedicine for the Veterans Health Administration (V.A.) in Washington, D.C. In that position, his primary responsibility was to review and recommend grant proposals for telehealth demonstration programs within the V.A.

Most recently, Graham served as a medical leader of a rural assertive community treatment program (PACT) for the Mt. Rogers Community Services in Wytheville, Virginia. He’s also participated in a statewide taskforce focused on improving the public mental health system in Virginia.

“I’ve spent many years in telemedicine and telehealth, and I understand the importance of extending those interventions into areas where other healthcare alternatives have been very difficult to access,” Graham said.

Graham attended the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, where he earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry and biology. He then earned his medical degree at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia, before going on to serve a three-year residency in psychiatry at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Graham currently serves as a clinical associate professor in the East Tennessee State University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.