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Meet Our Director: Gail Cordial

Gail Cordial was named executive director of Florida Partners in Crisis in March, 2009. Cordial brought to the job more than 20 years’ experience in the area of health-related policy and legislative affairs.

Expanding Partners' membership and raising funds to support the organization's education and advocacy role are two of Cordial's major goals for Partners. She led Partners in Crisis' effort to create the Justice Institute which sponsored its first Judicial Education Program (JEP) for judges in June, 2011. The JEP is in collaboration with Disability Rights Florida, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Florida, Florida Institutional Legal Services, the Office of the State Courts Administrator, the Florida Psychiatric Society and the Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida.  Funding for the project’s development was provided in part by the Florida Bar Foundation.

Cordial is also working to strengthen Partners’ statewide visibility while showcasing successful criminal justice, mental health and substance abuse collaborative programs through the Annual Conference and Justice Institute typically held in July. "We want to do all we can to promote the great partnerships that currently exist and to help build additional support for more of these initiatives like mental health courts and drug courts, jail diversion programs, Crisis Intervention Team training for law enforcement," she said. "I see a great future for us as the go-to organization for information and support on criminal justice, mental health and substance use issues."

Cordial said maintaining current funding for behavioral health and substance abuse services is one of Partners' ongoing legislative priorities, as well as supporting community-based programs for diverting people with mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders from the criminal justice system.

"I encourage anyone with an interest in these areas to contact us directly, view the website or attend a Partners meeting to learn more. We owe much of our success to the diversity of the organization and always encourage new people to join us."

Cordial previously was the Florida and Georgia state government affairs manager for Eli Lilly & Company. In that role, she focused on legislative and regulatory issues in the public health care arena, including access to mental health medications for patients enrolled in Medicaid.

Before joining Lilly in December 2001, she was vice president of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, Inc., which represents the state’s Federally Qualified Health Centers. She also served as a legislative assistant to former State Rep. Dixie Sansom and former State Rep. Howard Futch and as an analyst in the Ohio House of Representatives.