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Our Team

About Our Team

Meridian staff is made up of professionals and paraprofessionals who were selected for their skill and compassion. Our clinical teams represent a broad spectrum of expertise in the treatment of mental illnesses, substance use disorders, and ensuring that treatment for these disorders is integrated with care for other health concerns and social issues. Our leadership team includes highly experienced professionals in healthcare administration and management and are responsible for Meridian’s North Central Florida service area with over 800 employees. Our team is passionate, professional and inspiring.  Learn more about our employee’s passion here: Meridian Passion

Leadership Team


Donald Savoie

President / Chief Executive Officer

Don is a healthcare executive with over 30 years as a leader in behavioral healthcare, management, implementation, and growth development. He balances a quality patient care focus with strategic priorities and operational demands. He has a keen focus on mobilizing and empowering staff to develop and achieve goals in alignment with organizational mission, vision, and values using transformational leadership. Don's journey in behavioral healthcare began with his BA in Computer Sciences and Mathematics from Rhode Island College in 1989. He was immediately hired as the Chief Information Officer of The Providence Center, where he worked for 11 years. He later served as Lavender & Wyatt Systems, Inc.’s Chief Technology Officer for almost 13 years. He took on a similar role within Meridian in 2011. With significant business and operational expertise, he was promoted to the role of the Chief Operations Officer (COO) in 2016 and then appointed as President/ Chief Executive Officer of Meridian in 2019.

(352) 374-5600, 8366

Lauren Cohn

Executive Vice President / Chief Operating Officer

Lauren graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) in 2004 with a BA in Criminology. Lauren has worked in the mental healthcare industry for over 15 years, starting as a frontline mental health service provider before moving into program management positions and, eventually, risk management. She first served as Meridian's Chief Performance Officer (CPO). Lauren's roles entailed: regulatory compliance, identifying opportunities and risk mitigation strategies, developing quality improvement plans, working closely with program managers to achieve key performance measures, and evaluating clinical care to ensure the best possible client outcomes. In her current role as the Chief Operating Officer at Meridian, she oversees medical services, primary care, and support services and ensures the effective operation of these programs. Lauren is also a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

(352) 374-5600, 8353

Richard Anderson

Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical Officer

Richard received his Bachelor’s in Psychology in 1980. In 1981 Richard was awarded a President’s Minority Scholarship and Federal Traineeship award to attend the University of Florida, where he earned his Master of Health Sciences degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. Richard attained a certification as an Addictions Professional and as an Evaluator Supervisor for the State of Florida. He is active in community and statewide organizations; he is currently Vice President for the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association. Richard joined Meridian in 1981 and has held his current position since 2006. As Chief Clinical Officer, Richard oversees a full continuum of mental health and addiction programs for adults and children.

(352) 374-5600, 8232

Alan Paulin

Senior Vice President / Clinical & Community Services

Alan earned a BS in Psychology from the University of Florida (UF) in 1985, MS in Clinical Social Work, also from UF, in 2005, and has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) since 2012. Alan joined Meridian in 1997 as a children’s case manager before moving up to Case Management Program Manager, and was recently appointed Senior Vice President of Clinical and Community Services. Alan has been involved in community efforts to support drug abuse prevention, domestic violence shelters, and HIV/AIDS awareness. He is a Drug Endangered Children Task Force (DEC) member, certified as a DEC trainer, and a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Youth and Adult Instructor.

(352) 374-5600, 8130

Ashley Tozier

Senior Vice President, Medical Services

Ashley joined Meridian in 2021, bringing nearly 10 years of leadership experience in the behavioral health field. She earned a BS in Psychology from Florida State University and after working as a child welfare case manager for a year, attended graduate school so she may work with children and families from a therapeutic perspective. After earning her MA in Mental Health Counseling, she worked toward licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), providing in-home counseling to children and families. It was soon after obtaining her LMHC, Ashley’s true calling became an opportunity when the agency she had been working for since obtaining her MA promoted her to Associate Director of their clinical services. Ashley has worked in leadership roles in Florida and Arizona, holding licensure in both states. She has experience overseeing behavioral health outpatient services, MAT clinics, residential facilities and has recently taken on the role of overseeing acute care services with Meridian.

(352) 374-5600, 8216

Tina Harkness

Vice President of Access & Admissions

Tina earned her BS in Social Work from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in 2003. MS in Social Work, also from UCF, in 2004. Tina has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) since 2019, and a Qualified Supervisor for the state of Florida since 2021.

Prior to joining Meridian, Tina spent 21 years with the Department of Children and Families in the state of Florida and continues to maintain status as a Certified Child Protective Investigator (CWPI 3614).

Tina joined Meridian in 2017 as a master’s level school clinician and then took a short break to focus on getting her license. Tina returned to Meridian in January 2020 bringing over 20 years of experience in management, field training, critical child safety practice as well as counseling and mentoring.

Tina returned as the Program Director for Outpatient Services in Live Oak, as well as Lake City. In July 2021 Tina became the Vice President of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and managed the SAMHSA grant to support Meridian’s process for becoming certified. Tina has been a part of the Mobile Response Team and worked tirelessly throughout Hurricane Idalia Disaster relief efforts with her team to provide quality care for those impacted. Tina became Vice President of Access and Admissions in November 2023. Tina is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor Adults (MHFA).

(352) 374-5600, 6144

Amanda Craig

Vice President of Facilities

Amanda embarked on her journey with Meridian in 2010 as a Facility Manager, and over the years, she has showcased remarkable leadership abilities and acquired an extensive understanding of our facilities. She has immense knowledge of all Meridian buildings across the 13 counties we serve, Amanda has become an indispensable asset to our organization. Throughout her tenure, she has been recognized with numerous awards, including the prestigious "I am Meridian" award in 2012 and 2016, the Leadership award in 2016, and most recently, the esteemed Supervisor of the Year award in 2021. Leading a diverse array of teams encompassing custodial, maintenance, painting, food service, as well as overseeing our mailroom and transportation departments, Amanda exemplifies dedication and excellence in her role.


Shantel Jones

Vice President, Medical Practice Management

Shantel began her career in Mental Health as a Certified Behavioral Technician. She provided direct care for nine years to individuals diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness. Shantel obtained a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Saint Leo University. She has received numerous awards at Meridian, including the 2014 and 2016 "I Am Meridian" Award, 2015 Supervisor of the Year, and a 2017 Meridian Rock Star recognition. Shantel is the Research Coordinator for a Prolapse Case Study, which focuses on preventing relapse in patients suffering from episodes or early-phase schizophrenia. She also serves on the Meridian Employee Engagement Committee and has recently become a member of the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM).

(352) 374-5600, 8288

Sara Mihlfeld

Vice President, Medication Assisted Treatment Services

Sara began her nursing career as a Licensed Practical Nurse in 1978 in Indiana. She moved to Gainesville and started her career with Meridian in 1993, working on the Detox unit. She has advanced through several positions at Meridian, beginning with overseeing the Detox unit in 2002, to her current role of Vice President with Medication-Assisted Treatment programs. Sara has been instrumental in developing and implementing four medication-assisted treatment clinics and two outpatient detox clinics that serve Meridian's patients in need of these services. Sara is also an active member of AATOD (American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence), FATOD (Florida Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence) and NAMA recovery (National Alliance of Methadone Advocates).

(352) 374-5600, 8975

Latifa Ranganadan

Vice President, Outpatient Services North

Latifa joined Meridian in 2018 as the Clinical Director of our Live Oak, Jasper, Mayo clinic. She has since worked her way up and is now the VP of Outpatient Services for our Northern clinics. She holds both a MS and MBA degrees and is also an LMHC. She has served in the mental health field since 2007 and in management for over 20 years. She brings unlimited knowledge and is a true asset to our agency.

(352) 374-5600, 8420

Linda Skalsky, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Vice President, Acute Care Services/ Director of Nursing

Linda joined Meridian in 2011 as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. She took on the role of Director of Nursing in 2015, winning the “I Am Meridian” Award for Excellence in the same year. Before starting at Meridian, Skalsky was a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Archways Behavioral Health in Fort Lauderdale and has 20 years of experience. Linda received both the Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Nursing from Florida International University. She’s currently a doctoral candidate in Nursing at the University of North Florida.

(352) 374-5600, 8306

Melisa Urrutia

Vice President, Chief Information Officer

Melisa joined Meridian in 2005 and started as an HIM Specialist. Over the last 12 years, she has served Meridian as a Billing and Finance Clerk, Contracts Manager, Billing and Collections Manager, EMR Director, Vice President of Health Information Services. She is currently serving as Vice President and Chief Information Officer. As CIO, her teams include technology, technical infrastructure, business intelligence, data analytics, electronic medical records, and health information management. The work involves planning, implementation, and support of innovations as well as ongoing health information operations across the organization. While often leveraging technology for improvement, the focus is always on improving the delivery of care.

(352) 374-5600, 8988

Christy McBee

Vice President Community Wraparound Services North

Beginning her career in 2010 in Panama City, Florida, Christy has worked on many wraparound teams serving clients with mental health and substance use struggles in our communities. “Being able to wrap services around our clients with the most need, in their own homes I feel is essential to their recovery. We can teach you anything in the office, but working with you in your home where the struggles and triggers are help tackle the problem head on!”

Christy joined Meridian in 2019, bringing with her more than 10 years of experience in counseling, leadership, and a team work ethic. Specializing in psychotic disorders and substance use, Christy holds a Masters degree in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University, and a Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Troy University. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), a Masters Level Certified Addictions Professional (MCAP), Individual Resiliency Trainer for First Episode Psychosis, and a Mental Health First Aid instructor.

(352) 374-5600, 8019

Morgan Gish

Vice President of Community Wraparound Services (South)

Morgan Gish was appointed to the role of Vice President of Community Wraparound Services (South) October of 2023. She brings 17-plus years of professional experience and leadership skills within the behavioral space to Meridian.

Morgan's experience is far reaching. She began her career in child welfare, then opened a successful nonprofit consulting firm. Morgan completed much of her internship working with the veteran’s admission in their inpatient and outreach units. She also worked to eradicate human trafficking. Additionally, she developed a family-based homeless shelter's best practices and community prevention programs.

Morgan has always believed in the concept of diversionary services to keep vulnerable populations in the community, whenever possible. She has been a part of diversionary teams with a variety of agencies. Morgan has also been involved with several community systems of care, including committees that address local community problems and state appointments to address large-scale needs and solutions. She has advocated for new policies and restructured organizations. Morgan has conceptualized and developed programs where children’s needs come first, including an innovative collaborative project to renovate and launch an educational center for the children living in a homeless shelter. To add to her skills, Morgan has an extensive background in grant writing.

Morgan is happily married to her husband of eleven years and has two children. She loves to spend time traveling with her family.

(352) 374-5600, 6416

Tonia Werner

Vice President, Medical Services/Chief Medical Officer

(352) 374-5600, 8036

Michelle Lisk

VP of Performance Management

Michelle has been with Meridian since 2010, shortly after graduating with her BS in Psychology from the University of Florida. She later obtained her MS in Psychology from Regent University while at Meridian. Michelle has worked in several direct care roles and settings, including case management, outpatient medical services counseling, acute care, state hospital, and utilization management, before moving into leadership of the Quality Improvement & Risk Management teams in 2015. Michelle has received multiple awards during her time with Meridian, most notably Supervisor of the Year in 2022. In her present role, Michelle oversees the Health Information Management department as well as licensure, administrative and regulatory compliance, and quality and risk management functions.

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Kandra Albury

VP of Marketing

Kandra Albury is an Alachua County marketing expert, solutionist, and strategist with more than 15 years of professional marketing, communication, public relations and advertising experience. She joined the Meridian team November 2022 as the vice president of marketing.

Prior to joining meridian, she served as the founder and CEO of Kids’n Capes, Inc., an organization that helps prevent and raise awareness of sexual abuse, bullying and illegal drug use in children early on. Additionally, Kandra is the Co-founder of More Than Expected Publishing, a full-service publishing agency and enjoys the art of brand storytelling.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of North Florida and a master’s degree in mass communication from the University of Florida.

Kandra enjoys warm sunsets at nearby beaches.

, (352) 374-5600, 8630

Terri Crawford

VP of Outpatient South

Terri Crawford is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has a Bachelor Degree in Human Services and a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Terri has over 20 years’ experience working with individual, couples and families. She specializes in working with people with complex trauma as well providing crisis intervention. She was given the Meridian Innovation Award in 2016 and earned an Army Commendation for her work with the military. She has presented two times at Lutheran Services Behavioral Health Innovation Summit with suicide prevention programs. Terri worked at Meridian for approximately 7 years and recently returned back to her prior position. She has also worked as a Director of Mental Health for a school district as well as many years’ experience working in child welfare and mental health clinic management.

(352) 374 - 5600, 8159

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