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Michele Saunders, LCSW

Director of Conferences

Michele Saunders is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 35 years of community mental health service. She recently retired from the Department of Veteran Affairs, providing mental health services to veterans and their families.

Ms. Saunders was one of the founding members of CIT International, Inc. in 2008 and was the 1st Vice President for CIT International, Inc for ten years. In this role, she helped provide strategic direction for the organization in advancing its mission, provided technical assistance to CIT communities around the nation, and coordinated the annual conference.  

Ms. Saunders continues her work with CIT International as a part-time employee. She coordinates the annual CIT International Conference and provides technical assistance on CIT program development, Train the Trainer training, and program sustainability.  

Ms. Saunders also coordinates and co-chairs the Florida CIT Coalition. She has provided technical assistance for CIT development for law enforcement and corrections in her home community and throughout Florida. 

Additionally, she has consulted on and participated in several initiatives that promote cross-system learning and collaboration with criminal justice, mental health, and substance abuse professionals to bring about system changes that emphasize jail diversion and improves services for people with serious mental illnesses.  

Ms. Saunders has been involved with program development, advancement, and sustainment of CIT as a community program for over 20 years.

Ms. Saunders also is currently a consultant with Policy Research Associates conducting Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) Mapping, CIT Program development, and working with the SAMHSA GAINS Service Member, Veterans and their Families TA Center, providing strategic planning facilitation around suicide prevention.

Other key positions held include Director of Community Services, Seminole County Government, Executive Director of Florida Partners in Crisis, a nonprofit advocacy organization comprised of criminal justice, behavioral healthcare, and consumer advocate leaders, and Executive Vice President of Lakeside Behavioral Healthcare, a community behavioral health center.

Ms. Saunders holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from James Madison University in Virginia, a Master of Social Work degree from Florida State University, and has been licensed as a Clinical Social Worker since 1986.

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