SUSAN ELBEN, LMSW
Peer/Social Work Case Manager
Susan M Elben attended Western Michigan University as an undergraduate with a double major in social work and criminal justice. She graduated with her Master of Social Work in 1991 from Western Michigan University. Her emphasis was in Policy, Planning and Administration and she is currently a LMSW in the State of
Susan has a very colorful career that extends back to the 1980’s when she was a union sprinkler fitter and
installed fire protection in commercial buildings. Susan became vested in her union and after 11+ years of
continued service, she returned to WMU to work on her master’s in social work. Since her graduation from
graduate school, she has worked at Family & Children Services, a private non-profit, for 6 years as a supervisor
of Life Skills and 6 years as a supervisor of Foster Care & Adoption. During this entire time, she also worked for Kalamazoo Community Mental Health Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS) as an Emergency Mental Health Screener. Many of these hours were on call at night, on weekends and holidays. Susan then moved to working full time at Borgess Medical Center (BMC) in their Emergency Trauma Center as the social worker/behavioral health screener. She continued to work for KCMHSAS during this time. For the next 6 years Susan was employed by BMC. She was also a member of BMC Safety Committee and Workplace Violence Committees. After 30 years of attending school, working, and residing in Kalamazoo, Susan recently moved to
the Traverse City area and secured employment at Munson Medical Center in their Behavioral Health Program
and Case Management Social Worker. She currently works in the Patient Care Management program on a
medical floor and in their emergency room.
In 1993 Susan joined the Southwest Michigan CISM team in Kalamazoo County working with community and
schools. In 1994 she became the team coordinator for all first responders in southwest Michigan. She has been
the Lead Team coordinator for the “first responders” for 20 years and has been providing leadership, training,
and recruitment. She has served as a member of the state “Michigan Crisis Response Association” (MCRA) for
over 25 years, serving as board secretary for 6.5 years, treasurer for 6 years, vice president for 6 years and
President until January 2020. Susan remains highly active on the boards of directors for MCRA. After
becoming employed by Borgess Medical Center, Susan assisted in the development of the BMC CISM team. As part of the team coordinator for the Southwest Michigan CISM team she also secured a chair on the Kalamazoo
County Disaster Committee, which is part of Michigan Homeland Security Plan. Since 1993 she has
participated in or facilitated in over 400 CISM interventions in Michigan. She also volunteered her services to
other area teams when they have needed assistance. Susan also responded to the New York Police Officers “POPPA’S” request in New York on two separate occasions after the terrorist’s attacks on September 11, 2001.
As you can tell Susan’s passion lies in crisis work. Since becoming involved with the International Critical
Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) and volunteering all hours of the day and night to help police, fire,
paramedics, dispatch, air care and emergency room personnel, she has taken her profession to another level.
She is now an Approved Instructor for ICISF for the following classes: Group Crisis Intervention, Individual Crisis
Intervention and Peer Support, Advance Group Crisis Intervention, Building Skills in CISM, Law Enforcement
Perspectives, From Trauma to Addictions, Grief Following Trauma, and Suicide: Prevention, Intervention and
Postvention. At this time, she continues to work for Munson Medical Center, works on call for Central Access
Center for Munson, was a member of the Northern Critical Incident Response Team until they ended their
501c3.and consults for the Southwest Michigan CISM Team. She continues to teach interested mental health
and first responders in the area of Critical Incident Stress Management wherever and whenever she can.