Baseball, at its roots, is a family game. It brings people together. It gives people a sense of community; it makes them feel united, like they’re a part of a greater cause.
Brad Turner, the Commissioner of Tennessee’s Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, is no stranger to the immense power of America’s game.
“Growing up, playing baseball gave me a sense of belonging and community,” Turner said. “People with disabilities are no different, and inclusive employment brings belonging and community to all Tennesseans.
Back in January of 2019, Turner—formerly the Director of Client Services at HealthStream Inc. and a member of the Rutherford County Commission for eight years—was appointed by Governor Bill Lee as the Commissioner of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, making him the third person to serve in that role since DIDD became a standalone agency in 2011.
With that role comes great responsibility, both in and out of the office. As commissioner, Turner oversees approximately 1,700 employees responsible for administration and oversight of community-based services for approximately 7,300 people with intellectual disabilities; he advises an additional 4,400 people through the Family Support Program; his department operates 37 4-person intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities, the Harold Jordan Center and seating and positioning clinics in each grand division along with a mobile clinic; and he oversees services and supports for children through the Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) and Katie Beckett Program.
But in addition to all those responsibilities, Turner’s job is about advocacy. Whether or not he’s in the office, he has demonstrated a clear commitment to ensuring Tennesseans with intellectual or developmental disabilities receive the equality they deserve.
And according to Turner, baseball—particularly, baseball in Nashville—can help achieve that mission.
“Tennesseans with disabilities bring valuable contributions to the workforce,” Turner said. “Nashville Stars recognizes how people with disabilities can contribute to their employers and communities. I’m excited to see what’s ahead for baseball and inclusion for the people we support in our great state.
Music City Baseball is proud to highlight Turner and his extraordinary devotion to the city of Nashville. We’re excited to see what Turner will accomplish in the future; just as he’s excited to see what baseball can bring to the Music City.
“I grew up playing baseball and have always had a passion for the game,” he said. “It is exciting to see my passions come together as Major League Baseball makes the necessary steps to support diversity and inclusion of all Tennesseans.