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Michelle Nelson joins CARF in new managing director role

Nelson fulfills key position supporting CARF’s growing business in behavioral health and substance use disorders

Michelle Nelson

August 19, 2022, Tucson, Arizona — Michelle Nelson has joined CARF International to fulfill the role of managing director of substance use disorders. This new position will support CARF’s expanding accreditation business under the direction of Senior Managing Director of Behavioral Health Michael Johnson. “The behavioral healthcare landscape is vast and complex. CARF is excited to bring Michelle on board to extend and refine our reach in this market,” said Johnson.

Nelson brings to CARF more than 30 years of experience in the fields of behavioral health and addiction treatment, most recently serving as chief clinical officer/clinical director at CenterPointe, Inc., which operates a number of CARF-accredited programs throughout Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Nelson’s work at CenterPointe spanned 28 years, with her beginning as a technician in the organization’s Youth Residential Program in 1994 before transitioning to other management positions, including director of the Drug Crisis Center.

Nelson is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Clinician (LADC), a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner (LIMHP), and a Professional Counselor. Some of her areas of specialty include integrated behavioral healthcare, co-occurring disorders, trauma-informed care, adolescent crisis intervention, and suicide prevention. Nelson has collaborated with officials at state and local levels to develop trauma-informed care initiatives, crisis services for youth, and contractual language for medication-assisted treatment. She also participated in the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition and Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Nelson holds a master-of-arts degree in counseling from Doane University in Nebraska and did her undergraduate work in psychology and social work at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She is also a professional member of the American Psychological Association, which is a member of CARF’s International Advisory Council.

Prior to joining CARF staff, Nelson was a CARF accreditation surveyor for 16 years. Of her appointment to the managing director position, Nelson said, “I’m excited and honored in becoming a member of the CARF International team promoting quality services to enhance the lives of persons served and continued advancement in the development of a healthcare system that includes substance use disorders.” In the managing director role, Nelson is tasked with expanding CARF’s reach in behavioral health, focusing specifically on substance use disorders.

CARF’s behavioral health accreditation area has expanded over the past five years to include standards for office-based opioid treatment settings as well as suicide screening and prevention. Combined, CARF-accredited behavioral health and opioid treatment programs provide services at more than 38,000 locations globally.

CARF has been accrediting health and human service organizations since 1966. Payers and regulators interested in more information may contact CARF at (888) 281-6531 or online at Reporters and members of the media, contact us at

8/19/2022 8:00:00 AM

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