Who We Are & Why We Fight

Opioid-related deaths continue to rise in Tennessee. ONE Tennessee exists to bring together all the important players – medical professionals, lawmakers, community leaders, and families – to educate and collaborate for better health systems.


In 2017, over 1,700 Tennessean lives were lost to overdose deaths – more than motor vehicle accidents.


Nearly 1,000 Tennessean newborns required hospitalization for opioid withdrawal symptoms or Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) due to intrauterine opioid exposure.


$250,000 was awarded to the Tennessee Department of Health to assist in the launch of what is now ONE Tennessee.

Our Story

A steering committee comprised of medical and healthcare professionals across the state joined together at a summit called, “Turning the Tide,” hosted by the Tennessee Department of Health in November of 2017. The result of this meeting led to Governor Bill Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly awarding the Tennessee Department of Health an allocation of $250,000 to assist in the launch of what is now ONE Tennessee.

ONE Tennessee is a dynamic healthcare collaborative paving the way for inclusive solutions to decreasing overdose deaths and eradicating the opioid epidemic in Tennessee. Together we’ll work collaboratively, as one voice, to administer our proposed effective and efficient solutions to reach our most high-risk rural communities.

Meet Our Team

Carla Saunders, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC


Carla Worley Saunders has been a board-certified Neonatal Nurse Practitioner since 1991 receiving her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2017. Dr. Saunders has spent her career advocating for mothers and babies affected by the opioid epidemic.

In late 2010, Dr. Saunders gathered a multidisciplinary team to treat babies being admitted to the NICU suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) as a result of Intrauterine Drug Exposure (IDE). The program has treated over 2000 babies for NAS through 2016.

Dr. Saunders has received multiple awards for her innovative leadership in quality improvement and patient advocacy and is a member of numerous local, state, and national professional organizations.

After nearly 30 years of work in Newborn Intensive Care, Dr. Saunders taken a departure from the bedside to work full time on primary prevention efforts. As CEO of ONE Tennessee, a grassroot 501(c)(3), she is facilitating multidisciplinary collaborative work within healthcare as well as transdisciplinary collaborative work to save lives, combat addiction and enhance the wellness of the people of the state of Tennessee.

Ronald Evans

Project Manager

Mr. Evans has served in several healthcare organizations as their top IT leader. Most recently he served as the Vice President of Clinical Systems for publicly traded LifePoint Health leading the organization in implementing EMR technology in LIfepoint hospitals and physician practices.

Ron is known as a trusted Healthcare IT leader known and respected for leading successful complex projects and building credibility with executive teams and staffs. Ron has over thirty years of experience in healthcare information technology with a proven track record in successful IT management, project management and system implementations. He has a reputation for outstanding project management skills delivering desired results while adhering to timeline and budget constraints. Mr. Evans obtained his Business Administration degree from the University of Tennessee.

Rachel Lemons

Project Manager

Rachel found passion for public service early on in life. She is committed to assisting those with the greatest need in her community. She’s working to effect change socially and through public policy. She is a graduate of East Tennessee State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Public Health. Her involvement with Tennessee’s Opioid Epidemic began with the Department of Health, there she was exposed to the State’s rapid response which lead her to joining ONE Tennessee as a Project Manager. She continues to build her career with a practical and wide ranging set of experiences in order to gain a global perspective on issues facing communities today. She balances her professional life by being an active member in the Junior League of Nashville, Tennessee Public Health Association, supporting those affected by human trafficking through End Slavery Tennessee, and assists in capacity building of Defeat International a nonprofit school in Obuasi, Ghana. She also serves as the current Young Leaders Council Board Intern at Cheekwood. 

Board of Directors

Brenda Barker, MBA, M.Ed (President)

Executive Director, Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care

Brenda is Chairman of the Board for ONE Tennessee. She serves as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care (TIPQC). She received her Improvement Advisor Certificate in 2010 from the Institute of Healthcare Improvement. Brenda received a Master’s in Education from the University of North Texas and a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare from Lipscomb University in 2016. She also serves on various maternal and infant committees and advisory boards.

Lucy Adkins, PharmD (Treasurer)

Tennessee Pharmacy Association, Director of Pharmacy Practice Initiatives, Tennessee Pharmacy Association

Dr. Lucy Adkins, PharmD is the Director of Pharmacy Practice Initiatives at the Tennessee Pharmacists Association (TPA). Dr. Adkins earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University. Dr. Adkins began her pharmacist career as TPA’s Executive Resident in Association Management and Health Policy. After her residency, she joined the staff at TPA in her current role. In her role, Dr. Adkins has built relationships with TPA members and partners, and provided support and resources to them while managing several grants and opportunities aimed at increasing patient access to pharmacist-provided care and elevating the standards of care within pharmacy practice in Tennessee. She is a current member of TPA, APhA, and NCPA. Dr. Adkins currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

April N. Kapu, DNP, RN, ACNP-BC, FAANP (Secretary)

Associate Nursing Officer, VUMC Advanced Practice and Director, Office of Advanced Practice, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Assistant in Critical Care, Dept. of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University, School of Medicine – Tennessee Nurse Association

Dr. April Kapu represents Vanderbilt advanced practice nursing nationally through consultation, publications, presentations and hosted events. She has authored chapters in advanced practice nursing textbooks and published manuscripts in journals such as JONA, Nurse Leader, Critical Care Nurse, The Journal of Trauma, Nursing Management and others. She has presented nationally with specific areas of interest that include, “Adding Nurse Practitioners to Rapid Response Teams,” “Developing ICU NP Models of Care,” and “Quality and Economic Impact of Adding NPs to Inpatient Care Teams.”

Dr. Kapu has been awarded VUMC “Transformational Nurse Leader of the Year” and Tennessee Hospital Association’s “Nurse of Clinical Distinction”.

Dr. Kapu is the Program Director for Vanderbilt’s ACNP/PA Critical Care Boot Camp and was recently appointed by the Tennessee Governor for a special commission focused on pain and addiction treatment education. Dr. Kapu holds both a master’s and doctoral degree in nursing from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

Chris Clarke, RN

Senior Vice President, Clinical Services, Tennessee Center for Patient Safety – Tennessee Hospital Association

Bio Coming Soon.

Tim F. Jones, MD

State of Tennessee, Department of Health, State Epidemiologist, Division of Communicable Environmental Disease and Emergency Preparedness

Dr. Jones completed medical school at Stanford University and joined the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service in 1997. He now serves as the State Epidemiologist for the Tennessee Department of Health, overseeing numerous programs including communicable diseases, environmental health, and public health emergency preparedness. He serves on CDC’s Board of Scientific Counselors and is Chair of the MMWR Editorial Board.

Robert P. Pack, PhD, MPH

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Professor of Community and Behavioral Health – East Tennessee State University, College of Public Health

Dr. Robert Pack is Professor of Community and Behavioral Health, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University, and Director of the ETSU Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment.

In addition to the board of One Tennessee, Pack serves on the board of A Step Ahead Foundation, Tri-Cities, and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Overmountain Recovery. He is a frequent peer reviewer for numerous journals and granting agencies, and chairs the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health (ASPPH) Task Force on Public Health Approaches to Control the Epidemic of Opioid Use Disorder.

Nita Shumaker, MD

Tennessee Medical Association

Bio Coming Soon.

Stephanie G. Vanterpool, MD, MBA

Assistant Professor Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology – University of Tennessee, Graduate School of Medicine

Dr. Stephanie Vanterpool is the Director of Comprehensive Pain Services for The University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC), Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at UT Graduate School of Medicine and the Medical Director for The University Center for Pain Management in Knoxville. A graduate of Duke University School of Medicine, Dr. Vanterpool completed her Anesthesiology residency at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill and her pain fellowship at Wake Forest University, later returning to Duke to complete her MBA with a certificate in Health Sector Management.

In addition to her clinical duties, Dr. Vanterpool is heavily involved in state advocacy initiatives, and is the current President-Elect and scientific program co-chair for the Tennessee Pain Society. Dr. Vanterpool has established a reputation as a leader in Targeted Pain Treatment, most recently being selected as one of 19 members across Tennessee to serve on the Governor’s Commission on Pain and Addiction Medicine Education. This Commission was charged with developing competencies to be adopted by all healthcare higher learning institutions in the state to facilitate appropriate understanding, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of pain and addiction. She has also collaborated with the TN Department of Health, TN Medical Association, and the TN Pain Society on a number of initiatives aimed at addressing the opioid crisis such as the determination of appropriate criteria and measurements for spine and spine surgery episodes of care and the language in the TN Together Opioid Bill (HB1831). She also serves as the representative for UTMC in communication of the organization’s past and current efforts to combat the effects of the opioid crisis in East TN.

Dr. Vanterpool also uses her platform and position to educate other healthcare providers to promote the importance of accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment of pain as a means to improve patient outcome and function. Dr. Vanterpool is also in the process of developing a continuing medical education curriculum focused on the accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment of pain for primary care and mid-level providers within a 200-mile radius of Knoxville.

Ben Heavrin, MD

Ben Heavrin is a board certified emergency medicine physician who has been practicing in middle Tennessee for over a decade. He completed his undergraduate studies in economics at Princeton University, and he then attended Vanderbilt University for both medical and business school. Ben has vast experience in healthcare clinical leadership. He has served within academic medical centers, large health systems, health plans, and the public sector. Ben’s wife, Jill, is also an emergency medicine physician. They have two children, Jane and Luke. Ben is a Colorado native. He is an active golfer, runner, and outdoorsman.

W. Clay Jackson, MD, DipTh-WCC

Dr. William Clay Jackson is a practicing physician at the Methodist Medical Group in Atoka, Tennessee in addition to serving as the Director of Palliative Care Services at West Cancer Center in Germantown, Tennessee. Dr. Jackson holds faculty appointments as the Clinical Assistant Professor for the University of Tennessee, College of Medicine in Memphis and Associate Medical Director for the University of Tennessee Medicine Fellowship.

Dr. Jackson holds board certifications from the American Board of Family Medicine, American Board of Pain Management, and American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.  Dr. Jackson has received multiple awards and honors in his distinguished career including but limited to, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners; AANP Advocate State Award for Excellence, Memphis Healthcare Heroes Nominee, Patients’ Choice Award and Distinguished Service Award from the University of Tennessee, College of Medicine.

Over the years, Dr. Jackson has sat on several committees and has published a multitude of publications and articles. Dr. Jackson received his undergraduate degree from Union University, graduate degree at Oxford University and his doctorate from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine.

The power of ONE collective voice can change the trajectory of the future.