Overview of Interests
Dr. Tom Cheetham is a Board Certified family physician with over 35 years of experience serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He began in this field in the early 1970s, prior to medical school, with his wife as live in houseparents supporting ten adults with intellectual disabilities. His clinical experience includes providing primary medical care in three developmental centers, as the sole physician for a tertiary 24-bed dual diagnosis (intellectual disability and a psychiatric diagnosis or significant behavioral issues) unit in a state psychiatric hospital, and as a community based family physician for fifteen years, all in Ontario, Canada. After being granted a rare O visa by the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration, Dr. Cheetham became the Medical Director at Orange Grove Center, in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2009. Clinical experience also has included primary care and dual diagnosis consulting for a large community agency serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the age spectrum, and with a multidisciplinary community-based dual diagnosis team. Dr. Cheetham's publications include book chapters on physical health, and guidelines on primary care of adults and the use of psychotropic medications in management of problem behaviors in adults with intellectual disabilities. He has held academic appointments in the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario, and in the Department of Family Medicine at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. In 2007 he was selected Physician of the Year by the Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association and holds Fellowship in the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Since early 2011 he has been with the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and is the Deputy Commission, Office of Health Services. He is an Adjoint Assistant Professor of Psychology & Human Development at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville Tennessee.