PIPN Project Team

Michael J. Rice, Ph.D., APRN-PMHNP, FAAN
Project Director, Professor
  Michael Rice is a Professor of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing at the College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Project Director of the PIPN grant. He is a licensed Psychiatric APRN. He advocates for the use of distance education technology to meet health care needs of rural America and has won the prestigious 2002 EDUCAUSE award for Excellence in Technology Application for the Benefit of Humanity and 2003 award for Best Paper in Industry and Corporate Training: from EISTA: International Institute of Informatics.

Julia F. Houfek, Ph.D., APRN-CNS, BC
Project Co-Director, Associate Professor
  Julia Houfek is an Associate Professor of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing at the College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Co-Project Director of the PIPN grant. She is a licensed Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist. She has been involved in graduate psychiatric mental health nursing education since 1990 and is dedicated to assuring quality graduate education psychiatric mental health nursing. She is interested in applying new technologies and strategies to increase student participation in graduate learning opportunities throughout the state.


Therese Mathews, Ph.D., APRN-NP
Faculty, Assistant Professor
  Therese Mathews, PhD, APRN-NP is an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics and Psychology at the Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation and the College of Nursing in the Department of Community Based Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Mathews holds positions at the Munroe Meyer Institute in the Department of Developmental Pediatrics as a pediatric nurse practitioner and in the Department of Psychology as a pediatric clinical psychologist. She provides diagnostic, advanced practice nursing management and psychotherapeutic clinical services for children with developmental disabilities and related mental health problems. Her current clinical and research interests include behavioral parent training, medication management of children with disabilities, social skills training for children with high-functioning autism and disruptive behavior disorders, community based participatory research, and community interventions that increase protective factors in children with history of maltreatment.

Kathleen Bickerstaff, RN, MSN, PMHNP
Faculty, Instructor
  Kathleen Bickerstaff, has been a Psychiatric/Mental Health nurse for the past 29 years. She has worked in-patient, out-patient, home care, VA, and military settings in a variety of positions. She currently holds a faculty position with the Community Based Health Department at the CON, teaching both undergrad and graduate psychiatric nursing. She also has a one day weekly practice with the UNMC Department of Psychiatry, Consultation/Liaison Division.

Beth Syphers
Project Coordinator
  Beth Syphers is the PIPN Project Coordinator. You may contact her for more information regarding the project.

(402) 559-3858


Patrick Rejda
Instructional Technologist
  Patrick Rejda’s role within the project is the support and facilitation of technology services. He serves as an instructional technologist for the College of Nursing.