Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence


Mark R. Munetz, M.D.

The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation Endowed Chair in Psychiatry

Mark R. Munetz, M.D. is professor and the Margaret Clark Morgan Endowed Chair of Psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and senior clinical consultant of the County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board. Dr. Munetz received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Munetz was an intern in psychiatry and internal medicine at the Lafayette Clinic and Hutzel Hospital in Detroit and completed his psychiatry residency at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh. He has held faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh, University of Massachusetts, and Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Munetz has been the Director of Community Psychiatry at NEOMED since 1992. Dr. Munetz helped plan and implement the first Crisis Intervention Team training program in Ohio and was involved in the planning for the first Mental Health Courts in the state. A past president of the Ohio Psychiatric Association, Dr. Munetz has been recognized with an Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Michael S. Woody

Law Enforcement Liaison

Michael Woody retired from the Akron Police Department in 2002 after 25 years of service. His last four years he was the director of training for the Department. He graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in Education Degree and was a secondary education school teacher before becoming a police officer. Mr. Woody sits on the Ohio Attorney General’s Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness and co-chairs the Law Enforcement subcommittee of that Task Force. Mr. Woody is credited with bringing the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program to Ohio in 2000 and helping to spread it throughout the state. In 2005 the First National CIT Conference was held in Columbus, Ohio with nearly 700 persons attending. Lt. Woody coordinated this historical event. Since 2002, Mr. Woody has been an independent consultant with the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) as the Law Enforcement Liaison of the Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence (CJCCoE). He is the President of CIT International (2009-present), and has consulted with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, The Council of State Governments, National NAMI, the GAINS Center, and various police, mental health and advocacy organizations throughout the country. Mr. Woody has received the National “Compassion in Law Enforcement Award,” the Summit County, Ohio Mental Health Association “Heart of Gold Award,” the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services “Forensic Leadership Award,” and The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation “Enterprise Award.”

Christian Ritter, Ph.D.

Research Director

Christian Ritter, Ph.D., is a professor at Northeast Ohio Medical University in the Department of Psychiatry and a member of the Graduate Faculty of the University of Akron-Kent State University Joint Ph.D. Program. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Kentucky and his post-doctoral training was in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the School of Hygiene and Public Health at The Johns Hopkins University, Department of Mental Hygiene. His areas of specialty are mental health, health and health care, and social psychology. His current research involves work stress and family processes and psychological well-being; identity and well-being; community perceptions of mental illness; stigma; and the effects of jail diversion programs for people with mental disorders. Recent publications have appeared in The Journal of Health and Social Behavior; Social Psychology Quarterly; Sociological Perspectives; Journal of Vocational Behavior; Health Psychology; and The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Since 1996, he has served as the American editor of Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Health and Illness, which is published by Sage Publications. He has also served on the editorial board of The Journal of Health and Social Behavior for three terms and currently serves on the Ohio Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Mental Illness and the Courts.

Ruth H. Simera, M.Ed., LSW


Ruth Simera joined the Department of Psychiatry in September 2011 and serves as the director for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence (CJCCoE). She is currently working with the CJCCoE team and partners to strengthen and sustain Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs in Ohio by providing technical assistance and advanced program development and training opportunities. Ruth also coordinates the Ohio Cross-Systems Mapping Initiative and works with a team of trained facilitators to provide Sequential Intercept Mapping workshops to Ohio counties. This initiative includes the provision of training, consultation, and technical assistance to promote improved cross systems responses to justice-involved persons living with mental illness. Ms. Simera received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron and Master’s degree from Kent State University, and is a part-time faculty instructor at the Center for Applied Conflict Management at Kent State University main campus.

Natalie Bonfine, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Natalie Bonfine, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University. Dr. Bonfine received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Kent State University. Her research interests include mental health across the life course, jail diversion for people with mental illness, and medical sociology.

Haley Farver, M.P.A.

Dissemination Coordinator

Haley Farver has served as the Dissemination Coordinator for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence (CJCCoE) since June of 2016. At the CJCCoE she specializes in strengthening and sustaining Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs in Ohio, and the Ohio Cross-Systems Mapping Initiative by aiding in the application of Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIM) workshops throughout Ohio. Haley handles the distribution of resources and information to community participants, as well as maintains information and trends relating to the intersection of criminal justice and mental health. Her strong dedication to community health and advocacy makes her an excellent resource to stakeholders throughout CIT programs and the SIM process. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, minored in Human Development & Family Studies and holds a Master of Public Administration from Kent State University. She currently sits on the Collaboration Board, where she strategizes and reviews national and statewide progress of CIT and SIM, and is a member of the Ohio Attorney General’s Task Force on Mental Illness and Criminal Justice.

Mekal Banyasz, M.P.A.

Research Coordinator

Mekal Banyasz joined the Department of Psychiatry in June 2019 and serves as the Research Coordinator for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence (CJCCoE). She is currently working with the CJCCoE team and partners to strengthen and sustain Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs in Ohio by collaborating with CIT Coordinators and local law enforcement agencies to develop statewide platforms for CIT data collection. Mekal also directly supports budgets and grants management for the CJCCoE. She is passionate about continuous quality improvement and contributes to evaluation of ongoing projects and post-mapping exercises. Ms. Banyasz received her bachelor’s degree in Society, Ethics & Human Behavior from the University of Washington and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. She is also active locally and is a commissioner for the Franklin Township Zoning Board.

Dustin J. McKee, MSW

Director of Policy, NAMI Ohio

Dustin McKee is the director of policy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Ohio.  In this position, he is responsible for all aspects of the legislative and policy advocacy activities of the organization.  Prior to working for NAMI of Ohio, Dustin served as a Policy and Advocacy Associate with Voices for Ohio’s Children.  During his time at Voices, Dustin spearheaded the organizations efforts to improve Ohio’s Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment program in coordination with multiple state agencies, trade and advocacy groups.  Prior to working with Voices, Dustin served as the Legislative Services Coordinator for the Ohio Association of County Boards of People Serving People with Developmental Disabilities for several years.  Dustin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Earlham College and a Masters of Social Work from Ohio University.  Prior to obtaining his MSW, Dustin provided direct supports to individuals with serious mental illness in a community support program in rural Indiana.  As a result, these professional experiences, and the experiences of his family, he is a passionate advocate for individuals living with a mental illness.


Phone: 330.325.6670

Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence

Department of Psychiatry