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|In partnership with the Munroe-Meyer Institute, 43 integrated behavioral health/primary care clinics have been established across Nebraska. Twenty-five of these clinics serve rural areas and eighteen serve urban areas.
In addition to providing ease of behavioral health service access to children, adolescents and families across Nebraska, these clinics serve as critical behavioral health intern training sites, training 47 students in 2017 & 2018. Read more.
|Watch this BHECN Spotlight with Kristen Hembree, Ph.D. Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.|
|Meet Mark Carter, a first-year medical student at UNMC. Mark was interested in human physiology at a young age and is working toward a career in psychiatry or neurology. Read the rest of Mark's story online!
|Watch this BHECN Spotlight with Tara Wilson, Assistant Professor at Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska.|
MHTTC Marks their One-Year Anniversary!
| Silver U Awarded to Laura Holly!
Laura Holly joined BHECN as an intern while studying at the University of Nebraska Omaha, where she graduated with a bachelor's in public health, and a bachelor's in neuroscience in 2016.
She became a full-time member of the BHECN team in October 2017. Laura's attention to details and willingness to go above and beyond to get the job done are part of why she is being recognized for the Silver U Award. Read More.
Six Programs Receive Funding Through the Ambassador Career Engagement Award Program
The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), pronounced “beacon,” has selected six programs for 2019-2020 to receive BHECN’s Ambassador Career Engagement Awards. Launched in June of 2017, the awards give funding to local community groups who offer introductory programming to educate Nebraska students, primarily in rural or under-served communities, about behavioral health professions.
All proposals submitted for 2019 received funding!
Special Training Opportunity
Discount Ends July 31 - Register Today!
FARM Camp 2019
The 7th Annual FARM CAMP (Frontier Area Rural Mental Health Camp and Mentorship Program) was held in Rushville from May 30 – June 5, 2019. FARM camp combines a college-level course with informal presentations by providers from various mental health disciplines in rural settings. The goal of FARM camp is to provide high school students with information about possible behavioral health careers. Read More.
Watch Parts I and II of our BHECN Spotlight with Graduate Student Jacob Sandman
The second annual Rural Provider Support Network Conference hosted by the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska will be held on Friday, May 17, 2019, in Chadron, NE. Registration is now closed, if you missed the deadline and have questions please contact us here.
UNMC BHECN's #VirtualLunch Webinar Series has its own page!
Natural disasters affect everyone in their path regardless of status, income, ability to recover or the ability to deal with the chaos left behind.
In this online webinar series, Behavioral health professionals from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), Nebraska Medicine and the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) present helpful information and resources on how to deal with the mental health effects in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
|Introducing BHECN Ambassador and Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate student at UNO, Kylie Funk
Our February BHECN Ambassador Spotlight is about Kylie Funk, a graduate student at UNO currently pursuing a mental health degree to become a clinical mental health counselor, and she wants to work with college students. Read more.
|A Video Spotlight
with Terri Mathews, Ph.D., Associate Professor University of Nebraska Medical Center
Howard Liu, MD, named chair of the UNMC Department of Psychiatry
Following a national search, Howard Liu, M.D., has been named chair of the UNMC Department of Psychiatry. The announcement was made Tuesday, January 22, by Bradley Britigan, M.D., dean of the UNMC College of Medicine. The appointment is effective immediately, pending approval of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
"We had some excellent candidates to consider," Dr. Britigan said. "But, when it came time to make a decision, it was clear that Dr. Liu was the best choice. He stood out from the beginning of the process. Read more.
From left, Nebraska Medicine CEO James Linder, M.D., Howard Liu, M.D., chair of the department of psychiatry, and Bradley Britigan, M.D., dean of the UNMC College of Medicine
Marley Doyle, MD selected as the new Director of BHECN
An expert in reproductive psychiatry at UNMC, Marley Doyle, M.D., has been selected as the new director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN).
The appointment was announced February 4, 2019 by Rodney Markin, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the BHECN Executive Committee. Read more.
A letter from Dr. Howard Liu
Dear BHECN colleagues:
Thank you for the great privilege of serving as a workforce champion on the BHECN team since 2011. In that time, we have had much to be thankful for.
(Left to right) Michele Merrill, Echohawk Lefthand, Liz Meister, Carey Yungbluth, Kylie Funk, Annie Schmidt, and Tanner Clark(Left to right) Michele Merrill, Echohawk Lefthand, Liz Meister, Carey Yungbluth, Kylie Funk, Annie Schmidt, and Tanner Clark
BHECN Mentorship Dinner 2019
Even with the #PolarVortex2019 plunging Omaha into below zero temperatures, the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) persevered and played host to more than 100 students, faculty and staff members at the 2019 Mentorship Dinner at Joslyn Castle on Wednesday, January 30.
“Despite the frigid weather, it was a wonderful evening of career advice between mental health providers and trainees in psychiatry, psychology, psychiatric nursing, PA, counseling and addiction counseling," said Howard Liu, M.D., former director of BHECN. "I met students who aspired to become substance use providers and Spanish speaking psychiatrists to diverse populations. Overall, connections were made that will shape access and foster new workforce across our state!”
BHECN hosted the 10th Annual Mentorship Dinner to provide a networking and mentoring opportunity for students, trainees, faculty members, providers and community leaders from multiple behavioral health disciplines and backgrounds. To see all the photos visit the photo album on Flickr.
To learn more about the event or becoming a BHECN Ambassador mentor, contact Ann Kraft at email@example.com.
BHECN Annual Awards - Nominations Due March 15
Do you know someone who is making a significant contribution to behavioral health in Nebraska? BHECN is accepting nominations for our Annual Awards. Recipients can include providers, students, consumers and family members who are working to improve behavioral health for Nebraskans.
Awards will be presented on Friday, April 12, 2019, during a luncheon at the UNO Thompson Alumni Center. Click here to learn more and to submit nominations.
Join BHECN and NEBHJobs.com at the Spring 2019 Job and Internship Fair in Scottsbluff on Thursday, April 4, 2019!
And for the truly adventurous, check out the boot camp on April 2nd.
Lasting Hope Recovery Center Resident of the Year – Jeanne Ngo, M.D..
Lasting Hope Recovery Center (LHRC) awarded the 5th Annual Resident-of-the-Year Award to Jeanne Ngo, M.D.., a first-year resident from Boise, Idaho. The other nominees included Geoffrey Allison, M.D.. and Tyler Curry, M.D..
Read more about the award and nominees.
Group photo: (seated from left) 2018 ROY Candidates: Dr. Geoffrey Allison, Dr. Jeanne Ngo and Dr. Tyler Curry. (Standing from left): Dr. Faiz Qadri, Dr. Jeanna Benton, Dr. Maria McGee, Christine Johnson, Marilyn Rhoten, Robin Conyers and Dr. Hudson Hsieh.
Meet BHECN Ambassador and Psychiatry Interest Group President, Emily Royer
Emily is a third year medical student at UNMC from Elkhorn, NE. She attended Elkhorn South High School and then went on to get a Bachelor of Science from UNO
in Sociology with minors in Chemistry and Medical Humanities. Helping her mother care for special needs children inspired her to pursue medicine.
Professional Spotlight - Alicia M. Lambert, M.S.Ed., PLMHP, PLADC
As a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska at Kearney in December 2018, Alicia works as a Provisionally Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (PLMHP) and a Provisionally Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (PLADC) at the Behavioral Health Unit at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. She also works part-time as a mental health therapist at Morrill Elementary School.
Alicia's advice to students studying to go into the field of behavioral health is clear, "...Take care of yourself. It is important to make sure that you are healthy first so that you can help other people." Read more.
New Grant Funding for Veterans Mental Health
The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) was recently awarded a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant for Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT). This grant will allow BHECN to partner with the Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors (NALHD), VetSET Nebraska and Community Alliance to impact Nebraska Veterans and their families across the state. Read more.
BHECN Receives Annapolis Coalition Innovation Award
The Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving behavioral health care by strengthening the mental health and addiction workforce. Periodically, the Coalition recognizes particularly noteworthy efforts by other organizations to address a workforce problem in the field.
The Board of Directors of the Annapolis Coalition unanimously voted to bestow its Innovation Award on the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) in recognition of the outstanding work they have done to address the behavioral health workforce needs in Nebraska. See the full letter.
Opioids: Healthcare's Paradox: Education and Resources for the Workforce
One conference happening in two locations!
This conference will feature national and local experts and is intended for health care professionals to include physicians, physician assistants, nurses, advanced practice nurses, pharmacists, dentists, psychologists, social workers, licensed mental health professionals, and licensed drug alcohol counselors, and peer support providers.
Continuing education credits will meet competency requirements of LB 731 (2018) for nurse midwife and practitioners, dentists, physicians, physician assistants, podiatrists, and veterinarians. Read More.
BHECN embarked on a six-month-long project to develop a new video which explains the purpose and mission behind why we do, what we do. With ENVOY INC.'s help, we interviewed several educators, providers, and students within BHECN's 15 partner programs while they were here in Omaha for the 1st Annual Behavioral Health Education Seminar. Interviewed participants for the video discussed BHECN's impact on improving the workforce for behavioral health in Nebraska.
Connect with BHECN on Facebook to see the upcoming BHECN Spotlights!
Rural Futures Institute's Episode 14 - Psychiatrist Howard Liu intersects mental health, workforce access
Dr. Connie with Rural Futures Institute hosted Howard Liu, M.D.., Interim Chair of Psychiatry and Director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, on her podcast. Listen to the podcast.
Wendy Wells Receives Community Star Award
Rural Futures Institute's Episode 14 - Psychiatrist Howard Liu intersects mental health, workforce access
Dr. Connie with Rural Futures Institute hosted Howard Liu, M.D.., Interim Chair of Psychiatry and Director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, on her podcast. Listen to the podcast.
Core Topics for Behavioral Health Providers
The University of Nebraska Kearney awarded AmeriCorps Grant for $126,121
The UNK Counseling and School Psychology Department and the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska-Kearney (BHECN) were recently awarded a sub-award for the AmeriCorps Grant for $126,121. Read more.
|Congratulations to Havalynn Russell!
Havalynn Russell has been nominated by all students on rotation with Lasting Hope Recovery Center (LHRC) as the BHECN Mentor of the Quarter! Read more.
Photo (from left): CU Pharmacy student Nick Olund, Dr. Hsieh, Havalynn Russell, UNMC PA student Brianna Davis and UNMC M3 Emma Huebner.
|Welcome to new BHECN team member!
Bill Baerentzen, MHTTC Project Coordinator,
Bill joined BHECN to assist with the new Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) but he is not new to BHECN. Read more.
|Psychiatric Nursing Workforce Summit
Tackles Current & Future Workforce Issues
The 2018 Psychiatric Nursing Workforce Summit was held September 12. The Summit started off with a whirl...literally. One of the presenters, Gail Stuart took a quicker trip than originally planned to Omaha spurred on by Hurricane Florence and then left the same day to hurry home and be nearby before Florence hit her coastal home. Read More.
|BHECN Presents at the National Association for Rural Mental Health's Annual Summer Conference
Members of the BHECN staff including Ann Kraft, Dr. Holly Roberts (both pictured) and Dr. Tina Chasek, presented at this year's NARMH (National Association for Rural Mental Health) annual summer conference.
NARMH held its 44th annual conference in New Orleans, August 23-26 with a theme of Rural Resilience. The theme reflected a growing national concern about the future of rural and farm communities and the need to improve availability of behavioral health services, something near and dear to BHECN staff's hearts.
For more on the conference read Ron Manderscheid, PhD, Executive Director of NACBHDD and NARMH's article here.
Meet Allison Vlach, Second-Year Medical Student and our Ambassador Spotlight for September 2018
Allison grew up in a family of medical professionals, it seemed natural for her to go into the medical field, but what really sparked her interest was seeing the impact that incredible physicians have made in her life and those of her family members. Read more.
|Nebraska Rural Health Conference in Kearney, Nebraska
BHECN attended the Nebraska Rural Health Conference in Kearney, Nebraska on Wednesday, September 19, 2018.
BHECN was one of twenty-one exhibitors at the event who joined together to provide health care leaders in rural communities of Nebraska networking and educational opportunities. Approximately 250 people attended the conference.
|Dr. Joe Evans honored as NABHO's Professional of the Year for 2018!
Dr. Joe Evans, clinical director of BHECN and professor of Psychology & Pediatrics at the Munroe-Meyer Institute was honored with the 2018 Professional of the Year award by the Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations(NABHO).
Dr. Evans was one of three recipients of the Professional of the Year award for 2018 at the NABHO Reception which followed the first day of the NABHO Behavioral Health Matters conference held on Thursday, September 20, 2018 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“I was honored to receive this award from an organization I admire for all the wonderful work they do for the community. Even though I stand up here alone, I represent part of a team that works every day to improve the behavioral health workforce in Nebraska. I’m happy we are having an impact and humbled knowing all the work we have yet to do. Thank you.” - Dr. Joe Evans
|Behavioral Health Providers Meet in Washington, D.C.
It was a collaboration of key minds in behavioral health workforce integration on September 19th as representatives from several organizations met in Washington, D.C.
|Psychiatric Nursing Summit Update - Join Us!
Register today for the Psychiatric Nursing Workforce Summit
Every nurse is impacted by mental health in some way, whether it is via patient challenges or personal struggles. It is imperative for every nurse, not just those who are specialists, are educated and well prepared to most effectively help those who are struggling with mental health issues. Read more.
Mental Health Series in Lincoln Journal Star
The Lincoln Journal Star has featured a series of articles on Mental Health. The article on July 3 by Riley Johnson is linked here: Is telehealth the answer to Nebraska's mental health care shortage? (Other articles can be found linked to this article at the Lincoln Journal Star website.)
The artwork in the logo for the Journal Star's mental health series is an acrylic painting, "Dreamback the Elder," by Nigel Magor.
Webinar Series Featuring Dr. Tina Chasek
Tina Chasek, Ph.D., LIMHP, LADC and director of BHECN Kearney participated in a three-part webinar series for the Midwest Addiction Technology Transfer Center on Recruitment and Retention.
Dr. Chasek presented for 20 minutes on Wednesday, July 25 and shared examples of how BHECN is building the rural workforce in Nebraska. The ATTC is an international, multidisciplinary resource for professionals in the addictions treatment and recovery services field. For more information about the ATTC Click Here.
Lequisha Sims is a licensed mental health professional in Omaha currently working towards her doctoral degree in counseling psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. BHECN met Lequisha when we gathered the 15 behavioral health training programs for a daylong seminar last April. Read more.
Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes)
Project ECHO is a virtual consultation model where physical and behavioral health providers can call in and receive recommendations on a patient case. Each Project ECHO series focuses on a specific health topic, and experts on that topic are present to provide recommendations. This Project ECHO call series focuses on Pain and Substance Use Disorder and allows providers the opportunity to make recommendations on cases and learn from their peers’ presentations. Read More
|Farm Camp - Six Years of Fun and Education
Farm Camp (Frontier Area Rural Mental-Health Camp And Mentorship Program) is an annual week-long summer program designed to give rural students the opportunity to connect with mentors working in behavioral health careers in rural communities. Currently, in its 6th year, the camp’s continued success lies in the passion the Farm Camp Leadership Team has for the work. Read More
|ACE Award Winners Selected
The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), pronounced “beacon,” has selected five programs for 2018-2019 to receive BHECN’s Ambassador Career Engagement Awards. Launched in June of 2017, the awards give funding to the local community groups who offer introductory programming to educate Nebraska students, primarily in rural or underserved communities, about behavioral health professions. Read More
BHECN recently wrapped up a series of webinars as part of the "Core Topics for Behavioral Health Providers." The following recorded webinars are available to view at any time: View the recorded webinars here.
Farewell and Thank You - Krista Moberg-Roberts moves to Texas!
Krista was a great addition to BHECN, her attention to detail and positive attitude benefited the entire BHECN team. With her husband retiring from the military it gave Krista and her husband an opportunity to move back home closer to their families in Fort Worth, Texas. On a personal note, it was a delight to work with Krista, and we will miss her. We wish her the best of luck in her job search in Texas; we know she’ll do great things wherever she lands.
Welcome Jennifer Bull to the BHECN Team!
Jennifer joined BHECN in June 2018 as Communications Coordinator. She is responsible for developing our communications strategy including maintaining our website, producing social media messages, writing copy for our e-newsletter, and helping BHECN present a clear message about behavioral health to the public. Read More.
|Ambassador Spotlight - Meet Catherine Jones-Hazledine, Ph.D.
Dr. Catherine Jones-Hazledine (or as everyone calls her, Dr. Cate) is a psychologist and the owner of Western Nebraska Behavioral Health in Rushville, Nebraska. She was originally going to be an archaeologist/anthropologist. Read more about her story and transition to studying psychology. Read More
|Conference Connects Behavioral Health Professionals
in Rural Areas of the State
BHECN hosted the 1st Annual Rural Provider Support Network Conference on May 18th in Scottsbluff, Neb. Behavioral health professionals throughout the Nebraska Panhandle gathered together for opportunities to network and develop support systems for practicing behavioral health in their areas. Read more
|High School Alliance Stigma Projects
Alliance members Lindsey Roberg, Emily Kokesh and Haile Bartlett, created an illustrated children’s book called “Melvin the Monkey” about a young monkey suffering from bullying due to his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The book was just one of the ways the UNMC High School Alliance students in the Intro to Behavioral Health course presented their stigma projects. Read more
|Apply for the Ambassador Career Engagement
Awards by June 1
Learn more about the application process and
download the Request for Proposal.
|This month's BHECN spotlight is Barbara Vogel, Regional Administrator at Region 1 Behavioral Health Authority. Click here to learn more.|
|National Council for Behavioral Health hosted the Behavioral Health Prescriber Summit
Dr. Howard Liu and Angela Beck (Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center) co-chaired a workforce summit/workshop titled "The 21st Century Psychiatric Nurse: Essential Roles from Integrated Care to Medication-Assisted Treatment" on April 24 at the National Council Conference (NatCon18) in Washington D.C. The focus of the summit NatCon18 was on psychiatric prescribers.
The Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations (NABHO) was presented with a check from BHECN on Friday, April 20.
Members of the NABHO organization were instrumental in helping BHECN fine-tune the website
NebraskaBehavioralHealthJobs.com for behavioral health workforce development. NABHO member organizations participated as a control group and kept track of the jobs they posted on the site and the number of interviews and new hires they gained during the study. All of the information will be used to improve the website's functionality.
Pictured Left to right: CJ Johnson, regional administrator, Region V Systems, Brent Khan, Ph.D., BHECN co-director, Chase Francl, NABHO president-elect, Annette Dubas, NABHO executive director
BHECN Announced the 2018 Annual AwardsBHECN recognizes individuals who make a significant impact in the behavioral health field in the categories of distinguished service, ambassadorship and courage. Read more.
BHECN hosted the 1st Annual Behavioral Health Education Seminar
There are 15 graduate mental health training programs in Nebraska, and this occasion marked the first time all programs gathered at one event for training and networking. Read more.
Ambassador Spotlight - Meet Arica Lerdahl
An exceptional experience in a high school psychology course piqued Arica’s interest in the field. After further exploration at BHECN’s summer college conference, Arica continued to pursue her interests in research, psychology and working with children and adolescents. Read more.
Hanna Haynie (Weaver) Joins BHECN
Hanna Rae Haynie (Weaver) (Hanna Banana to her friends) joined BHECN in April 2018 as an administrative program associate. Hanna started her career at UNMC as an emergency medical dispatcher and soon progressed to an office associate position serving in various capacities for the Department of General Surgery. Read more.
|Searching Jobs in Nebraska Just Got Easier|
Organization Spotlight - Northeast Nebraska Behavioral Health Network
The Northeast Nebraska Behavioral Health Network (NeNeBHN) is developing strategies to close this gap and expand access to mental health services with the help of a three-year grant from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Resident of the Year - Spencer Gallner, M.D..
Lasting Hope Recovery Center (LHRC)awarded the 4th Annual Resident-of-the-Year Award to Spencer Gallner, M.D. ., a third-year resident from Omaha. The other nominees included Alyssa Hickert, M.D.. and David Marshall, M.D.. Read more.
Dr. Liu Named Interim Chair, Dept. of Psychiatry
Howard Liu, M.D.. , has been named the interim chair of the UNMC Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Liu, who has been at UNMC for eight years, is a nationally recognized educator, behavioral health workforce expert and practicing child psychiatrist. During his time at UNMC, he has served as the assistant vice chancellor for faculty development, and he will continue as the director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska. Read more.
Professional Spotlight - Susan Feyen-Reay
As a 20-year veteran in social work, Susan Feyen-Reay has contributed to the profession through her work in clinical practice, administrative programs and educational programs. Read more
Nebraska System of Care Website Offers Training Resources
Providers, students, and families can find numerous free training resources covering a wide variety of topics from introductions to the System of Care model to specific treatment considerations within a System of Care at the SOC training website here.
BHECN's Legislative Report Available
View BHECN's overview of our efforts to engage, recruit, prepare, train and retain the behavioral health workforce in Nebraska. Read more, including workforce stats showing a nearly 15% increase in the behavioral health workforce since 2010. Read more...
Read recent articles from the Omaha World-Herald:
Shrinking the Psychiatrist Shortage
BHECN’s Dr. Howard Liu weighs in on solutions in a recent article in Managed Care Magazine. Read more…
Faculty Spotlight: Julia Houfek, PhD, APRN-CNS
Dr. Julia Houfek , professor at UNMC’s College of Nursing, is retiring after 45 years as a psychiatric mental health nurse and a nurse educator. Dr. Houfek has been a champion for psychiatric nursing and the important role nurses play in behavioral health care. Read more...
Editorial Highlights Statewide Need for Mental Health
BHECN is proud to be among those stakeholders addressing behavioral health workforce shortages in Nebraska. Read this editorial in the Omaha World-Herald, highlighting the need for mental health and substance use services. Read the editorial.
A Visit with Rural Partners
BHECN embarked on a two-day trip in October to visit rural partners in the state, with stops in North Platte, Scottsbluff, Chadron and Rushville. Learn more.
2nd Annual Psychiatric Nursing Workforce Summit - Presentations Available
BHECN and UNMC College of Nursing hosted the 2nd Annual Psychiatric Nursing Workforce Summit on Nov. 1 at the Scott Conference Center with nearly 100 stakeholders in attendance. Read more and view presentations and videos here.
Collaborative Care Leads to Better Behavioral Health Access
The goal of collaborative care is for better outcomes, lower cost, and better experience of care for patients. BHECN and partners hosted a conference, "Applying the Collaborative Care Approach: Evidence-based Mental Health Delivery in Primary Care Settings".
Poster Highlights Addiction Counselor Training in the NE Panhandle
BHECN’s Dr. Tina Chasek and Nick Brotzel presented a poster, “A Novel Approach to Addiction Counseling Training in Underserved Native, Rural and Frontier Areas." BHECN is collaborating with Chadron State College to enhance their curriculum to train students in alcohol and drug counseling at the masters, undergraduate and high school diploma levels. View the poster.
Two Grants to Expand Rural Behavioral Health Services
BHECN announces two new grants impacting rural behavioral health, both funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):
Rural areas face bigger mental health shortages
BHECN's Co-director, Dr. Brent Khan, recently visited with the Columbus Telegram about rural mental health shortages. Learn more.
E-curriculum earns Dr. Liu national recognition
BHECN's Director, Dr. Howard Liu, is the recipient of the Creativity in Psychiatric Education Award from the American College of Psychiatrists. Read more about the e-learning curriculum Dr. Liu helped develop, which includes a peer-reviewed library of psychiatry cases. Learn more.
Ambassador Spotlight - Meet Emily J. Donoghue, MSE
Emily discovered her passion for working with people living with mental illness and substance use disorders during her time working at a long-term treatment facility.
With support and encouragement from her coworkers, she obtained a Bachelor of Psychology and a Master of Science in Education in Counselor Education/Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Wayne State College. She just completed an internship where she gained new experience working with children and families and aspires to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Read more
Introducing Careers in Behavioral Health
BHECN created a new brochure, “Pathways to a Career in Behavioral Health” featuring eight licensed behavioral health careers and the academic pathways to get there. Download the brochure, view career testimonial videos and find more resources here. Read more...
Ambassador Spotlight - Meet Alexandria Bechtle
After being forced to give up her true love, soccer, Alexandria was faced with a difficult time in her life. Inspired by friends and health professionals, she found a new path and a new interest in becoming a counselor. Learn more...
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Summit Addresses Growing Opioid Concerns
More than 180 professionals attended a Nebraska Summit on “Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Substance Use Disorders” held in Omaha this month. The summit addressed the role of medication-assisted treatment as a tool for recovery. Read more...
BHECN Plays Large Role in System of Care
As one of many partners in the Nebraska System of Care (NeSOC), BHECN is collaborating with national experts in the behavioral health workforce to provide training resources for providers in meeting the needs of children and families utilizing the system.
Ambassador Spotlight - Meet Esmeralda Bravo-Ramos
Growing up in Cozad, Neb., as a first generation Mexican American, Esmeralda Bravo-Ramos was determined to make life easier for those in need. Inspired by a movie and her high school counselor, Bravo-Ramos pursued an undergraduate degree in social work and is weeks away from receiving a master's in social work. “My career aspiration is to be in a role where I can create the biggest change; I am a macro thinker,” she said.
Rural students gain hands-on experience at Farm Camp 2017
The fifth annual FARM CAMP (Frontier Area Rural Mental-Health Camp and Mentorship Program) took place last month in Rushville, Neb. This year, 11 students attended from rural communities ranging from Howells to Scottsbluff.
Stigma project inspires origami Messenger Bird – Watch the Video
Graduates of the 2017 UNMC High School Alliance class created the Messenger Bird this spring for a stigma assignment to increase awareness of depression and provide mental health resources. Learn the inspiration behind the origami Messenger Bird and download detailed instructions to make your own.
RFI grant to fund mental health curriculum
Mental health stigma is the subject of a recent Rural Futures Institute (RFI) competitive award titled, “Ending Mental Health Stigma & Promoting Mental Health among Rural Nebraska College and University Students.”
Ambassador Spotlight - Meet Kristen Hembree, PhD, Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Kristen Hembree has been interested in psychology since she was in high school. She has always had a passion for working with children, and this passion led her to eventually study school psychology in her graduate training.
School Mental Health Summit 2017
The 2017 School Mental Health Summit gathered stakeholders from across Nebraska who have an interest in sharing best practices and learning new strategies to advance mental health processes and services in schools.
Ambassador Career Engagement Award Recipients
BHECN has launched the Ambassador Career Engagement Awards, providing funding to promote behavioral health care professions to Nebraska youth.
BHECN Director Awarded Scholarship to Pursue MBA
BHECN’s Director, Dr. Howard Liu has been awarded a scholarship to pursue an executive M.B.A. in health administration at the University of Colorado-Denver's business school.
Ambassador Spotlight - Meet Emily Soener, PLMHP, PLCSW
Emily Soener got her start in social work by volunteering for the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority as an undergrad. After being hired full time following graduation, she realized social work might be an area she'd like to pursue further.
Integrating Mental Health and Primary Care
Nebraska faces a shortage of mental health practitioners, particularly in rural areas of the state. One of the ways to reduce the barriers of access to mental health in these areas is establishing an on-site mental health professional in primary care clinics
High School Alliance Student Heads to National Competition
High School Alliance student Lea Sobrilsky will be heading to Orlando to participate in the HOSA national competition this June, competing in the Behavioral Health category.
High School Alliance Course Introduces Behavioral Health Concepts and Careers
Students are learning valuable lessons about common mental health diagnoses and treatment, types of careers in behavioral health and the impact of mental health stigma.
Ambassador Spotlight - Meet Erin Kindred
Erin Kindred is not your traditional medical student. After years working in state government jobs, she had a change of heart and realized her passion was in helping people.
High School Ambassador Conference to Encourage Students Exploring Behavioral Health Careers
BHECN hosted the 5th annual High School Ambassador Conference in Kearney on April 1 to introduce high school juniors and seniors from throughout Nebraska to careers in behavioral health.
Videos Designed to Spark Interest in Behavioral Health Professions
BHECN recently produced a series of videos to introduce high school and college students to professions in behavioral health, including psychiatry, psychology and psychiatric nursing.
Interprofessional Mentorship Dinner Connects Students with Pros
BHECN hosted the 6th annual Mentorship Dinner at the historic Joslyn Castle on January 25, bringing together 120 students, trainees, providers, educators and advocates to network, mentor and make connections.
Native American Youth Learn About Behavioral Health Careers
More than 100 high school and college students were introduced to a variety of professions in behavioral health at the South Sioux City Ambassador Conference in October. Speakers included Frank LaMere, providing an inspirational message of healing, and Grace Johnson, addressing the importance of understanding trauma.
Attitudes, Knowledge and Skills Key to Training Counselors
BHECN Kearney Director and University of Nebraska at Kearney Assistant Professor, Tina Chasek, Ph.D., recently shared her three-pronged approach to training addiction counselors
Connect with Nebraska Behavioral Health Job Opportunities
NebraskaBehavioralHealthJobs.com recently launched a quarterly newsletter featuring tips from recruiters, latest job postings and information about the only website in Nebraska exclusive to behavioral health jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities. And did we mention, it's free!
HRSA grant will help children in underserved areas
The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) and the Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) were recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to fund internship training for clinical counselors to address the behavioral health needs of children, adolescents and families in underserved areas of Nebraska.
Rural State Solutions Webinar Now Available to View
BHECN shared innovative ideas around solving the state’s behavioral health provider shortage challenge in the first of four State Solutions in Workforce webinars hosted by SAMHSA, the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), the Annapolis Coalition, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) and the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD).
BHECN Presented Integration Model at NRHA Conference
The BHECN team presented "Integrated Behavioral Health Models in Primary Care" at the Nebraska Rural Health Conference this summer. Behavioral health professional shortages exist in many rural Nebraska communities. The concept is to provide behavioral health within the primary health care setting, allowing the integrated health team the opportunity to treat behavioral health problems where they first arise, which is usually at the primary physician’s office. This model of care can also help save time and money for the practice and lead to better health outcomes.
Dr. Watanabe-Galloway Joins BHECN as Research Director
Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway, Ph.D., has joined the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) as research director.
Dr. Watanabe-Galloway, associate professor and vice chair of the department of epidemiology, College of Public Health, will focus on strengthening BHECN's workforce evaluation and reporting efforts to produce evidence-based practices.
The Nebraska Behavioral Health Workforce Dashboard
BHECN and UNMC's College of Public Health have developed the Nebraska Behavioral Health Workforce Dashboard, a tool designed to help policy makers, employers, and behavioral health care stakeholders understand the state of the behavioral health workforce and make decisions that impact its future.
The interactive webpage allows the user to search behavioral health provider data by region, county and type of provider, including psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists, LIMHPs, LMHP and addiction counselors.
Campaign Offers Mental Health Resources to Nebraska College Students
College students throughout Nebraska are being welcomed to school this semester with wooden pennies promoting the message “Penny for Your Thoughts Campaign – 1 in 5 Nebraskans have a mental illness. 5 in 5 can do something about it.” The wooden token also provides a link to the campaign website, which contains crisis information and hotlines along with content about common mental health conditions and other resources, such as on-campus counseling services.
BHECN Introduces YEOH Participants to Behavioral Health Careers
BHECN was excited to host the behavioral health day at the 15th Annual Youth Expression of Health (YEOH) workshop held at North Omaha High School. The YEOH workshop, organized by Ira Combs, RN, MS, community nurse liaison in UNMC's Center for Reducing Health Disparities in the College of Public Health, and the North Omaha Area Health (NOAH), provides education for youth ages 12-20 who may be interested in health careers, public health and improving the community in which they live.
Rural FARM CAMPs Aim to Prep Youth for Careers in Mental Health
Rural high school students interested in careers in mental health fields headed to Rushville and Winnebago this summer for week-long FARM CAMP, a.k.a. Frontier Area Rural Mental Health Camp and Mentorship Program. FARM CAMP introduces rural students to the concept of behavioral health careers that are possibilities within their own communities
Hands-on Experiences Resonate with College Conference Attendees
Conducting “simulated patient” interviews was a highlight for students attending BHECN’s Annual College Ambassador Conference in mid-May at the UNMC campus. More than 45 college students attended to learn more about behavioral health professions and to hear personal experiences from professionals and patients.
BHECN Selects 2016 Award Recipients
Congratulations to BHECN’s 2016 Award Recipients presented at the Annual School Mental Health Conference on June 10.
High School Students Explore Careers in Behavioral Health at Annual Kearney Conference
More than 70 Nebraska high school juniors and seniors converged on Kearney in April 2016 to learn more about working in behavioral health fields.
National Council Honors BHECN for Training and Workforce
The National Council for Behavioral Health recognized the 2016 Award of Excellence winners at its annual awards dinner March 8. BHECN's Director, Dr. Howard Liu, accepted the Change Makers Award for "Champions of Training and Workforce Development." BHECN was selected from more than 1,000 applicants to receive this award.
Rural Futures Institute Recognizes BHECN
BHECN participated in the 2015 Rural Futures Institute (RFI) conference held in Lincoln at the University of Nebraska’s Innovation Campus in October. BHECN’s Director, Howard Liu, M.D.., was presented with a recognition certificate from RFI Executive Director, Chuck Schroeder. (pictured left to right) Tara Sjuts, Ph.D., Dr. Liu, Heidi Keeler, Ph.D. and Chuck Schroeder.
RFI awarded BHECN a two-year educational grant to provide a Virtual Mentorship Network, which connects students statewide via teleconferencing to behavioral health mentors in their area of interest. More than 50 students have participated in the program.
Hearing Voices Training
Understanding what a patient who hears voices is faced with can help ease communication during care. In November, 60 UNK nursing students participated in the Hearing Distressing Voices training, where they listened to audio through headphones that simulated what someone who hears voices may experience. While listening, the students were put through tasks that would normally happen in a nursing situation, such as a completing an assessment, filling out paperwork, and interacting with others.
Report Highlights Efforts to Grow Mental Health Workforce
BHECN recently released its legislative report, summarizing efforts to improve access to behavioral health care across the state by developing a skilled and passionate workforce.
With 78 out of 93 counties in Nebraska experiencing a high need for behavioral health services and 32 counties lacking a behavioral health provider of any kind, BHECN is developing solutions to recruit, train and retain behavioral health professionals, especially in rural and underserved communities. With over half of the state’s practicing psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurse practitioners over the age of 50, the shortage is expected to grow in the next decade.
FARM CAMP is a week-long summer program designed to introduce rural students who are interested in behavioral health careers to the field and connect them with mentors working in rural communities. FARM CAMP was first held in 2013 in Rushville, Nebraska.
This year, the program expanded to include a week-long program in Winnebago.
School Mental Health Conference
Nearly 300 people attended our annual conference on June 26. The conference was our first foray into the conversation on school mental health.
Record attendance at High School Conference in Kearney
A record 64 high school juniors and seniors from throughout Nebraska attended the conference designed to introduce students to behavioral health careers.
The peer support workforce will become an increasingly critical sector of the behavioral health workforce. BHECN launches Project Propel, a workforce development initiative for peer support professionals in Nebraska.
Register today for the School Mental Health Conference
Healthy children are prepared to develop skills and learn effectively in school. Yet not all children come to school with the emotional and behavioral health they need to succeed. Learn from national and local experts in school mental health at our conference June 26.
High School Conference in South Omaha
BHECN and the UNMC College of Public Health Center for Reducing Health Disparities hosted a High School Ambassador Conference in South Omaha on March 6. The BHECN Ambassador Program recruits and mentors students from rural and underserved communities from high school through college and professional school and into behavioral health professions.
College Ambassador Conference applications now available
The BHECN Ambassador College Conference is a three-day conference designed to help students learn about career opportunities in behavioral health and the current behavioral health care system.
This year's conference will be held May 10-13, 2015 on the UNMC campus. Learn more and apply.
Behavioral Health Screening in Primary Care
A behavioral health screening tool is a routine assessment of health and well-being that helps clinicians identify problems early. In this interactive module, you will learn why screening tools are effective in identifying behavioral health concerns, what tools can be used, and how to incorporate them into practice.
Norfolk behavioral health professionals, educators connect
Students with behavioral health challenges often need specialized services and school personnel across the state report they need additional training and support to help their students. In response to this need, BHECN has partnered with stakeholders in several areas of the state to form Behavioral Health Education for Teachers (BET) teams. BET teams are currently in place in Scottsbluff, Columbus, and Norfolk.
LOSS Team expanding to Omaha metro
Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) is a team of peer suicide survivors and a clinician that respond when a suicide occurs. The Kim Foundation is currently working to expand the LOSS Team model to the Omaha metro. They are in the process of recruiting team members and are in particular need of clinical directors.
Mental and Behavioral Health Care for Nurses Webinar Series
The Mental and Behavioral Health Care Webinar Series provides education on behavioral health best practices for patient clinical care, promotes recovery and reduces stigma for nursing professionals. Featuring psych nursing experts from across the state, the series connects busy professionals with practical clinical knowledge and resources.
Student Profile: Anitra Warrior
Part of BHECN's mission is to build the future behavioral health workforce. Meet Anitra Warrior, a pre-doctoral intern working at Western Nebraska Behavioral Health.
Mentors serve a powerful role in our lives and careers. Getting advice from someone who has “been there and done that” is a great gift and helps students and early-career professionals think more deeply about the direction they want their career to take and how to get there.
At BHECN, we support connecting behavioral health students, faculty and professionals in a number of ways. One of our signature events, the Mentorship Dinner, was held January 27 at Joslyn Castle.
Ambassador High School Program now accepting conference applicationsThe BHECN Ambassador High School Conference-Kearney is a free conference for rural Nebraska high school juniors and seniors to explore behavioral health careers and meet professionals who can serve as mentors.
Medical students increasingly interested in psychiatry
Building a mental health workforce takes time and it takes the energy of a lot of organizations and institutions working on smaller pieces of the same goal. When it comes to one piece of the workforce – the number of psychiatrists practicing in Nebraska – we are beginning to see some promising outcomes at the medical school level.
Partner Profile: Project Harmony
In an occasional series on our website, we feature interesting groups, organizations and people making a difference in behavioral health in Nebraska. We recently caught up with Project Harmony.
Student Profile: Crystal EpsteinPart of BHECN's mission is to build the future behavioral health workforce. Meet Crystal Epstein, psychiatric nurse practitioner and 3rd year Ph.D. student. Read more about Crystal Epstein.
Legislation proposes internships for Master’s level students
LB 108, introduced by Sen. Sue Crawford, would provide students in Social Work, Professional Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy a stipend and placement in a pre-identified primary care office.
New tool for behavioral health job seekers and employersNebraskaBehavioralHealthJobs.com – a FREE resource for behavioral health employers and job seekers.
Any employer who provides behavioral health services in Nebraska may post unlimited job openings for free. Because we believe every position in any organization contributes to its overall success, our scope of job postings includes every level in the workforce, from entry-level administrative support to licensed professionals. Employers include direct or indirect care, including administrative agencies that serve a role in the behavioral health system of care.
By creating a customized profile, job seekers can search jobs and post their resumes for free.
Project Network addressing need for social workersStaff at the UNO Grace Abbott School of Social Work are quickly ramping up a program to train more social workers in rural areas of Nebraska. They received notice in September that they are the recipients of a three-year, $1.3 million award from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to train social workers to work with children and young adults with dual diagnosis of both mental health and developmental disabilities.
Learn more about Project Network.
Training for TeachersEducators are a key part of the behavioral health workforce. Part of BHECN’s work is to provide training to both the traditional behavioral health workforce and non-traditional partners, like educators. We partnered with ESU 13 to offer training to teachers and school staff on addressing some of the behavioral health challenges students face.
Watch the training
Youth Mental Health First AidYouth Mental Health First Aid is similar to “First Aid” and “CPR.” It teaches individuals how to respond in a mental health emergency and offer support to a young person who appears to be in emotional distress. Just as you don’t have to be a highly educated medical professional to give “First Aid” and “CPR,” you don’t have to have a background as a mental health professional to provide Mental Health First Aid.
Learn more about Youth Mental Health First Aid and register for an upcoming training.
Behavioral health training for teachersIn 2013 the Legislature passed LB 556 that directed BHECN to provide behavioral health training for educators in three pilot areas. The areas selected were Columbus/Norfolk, Omaha, and the Panhandle. On October 30, BHECN and Educational Service Unit 13 hosted an all-day conference titled “Behavioral Health in the Classroom Setting.”
Learn more about the training and view the presentation materials.
Nebraska Legislature takes a closer look at behavioral health workforce challengesOn October 24, BHECN and some of our partners updated the Health and Human Services committee of the Legislature on some of our key behavioral health workforce development initiatives. The hearing was for Legislative Resolution 592 introduced by Senator Amanda McGill.
Running from Crazy film and panel shines a light on mental illnessThe documentary was shown to a sold out crowd at Film Streams on October 7, 2014. Following the screening BHECN’s Director Howard Liu, MD, was among the speakers on a panel sponsored by The Kim Foundation.
Certified Peer Support ConferenceCertified Peer Support is an important and growing part of the Nebraska behavioral health workforce. Certified Peer Support and Wellness Specialists (CPSWS) recently met for their 2nd annual networking conference in Grand Island.
Telehealth Training now available online
Telehealth use is expanding all over the country, connecting patients to services they need, but are not able to access in their community.
In our new interactive module, you can learn about telehealth's evolution, its current use, and how to put it into practice. The module will also identify various indications of behavioral telehealth service delivery, describe telehealth etiquette and best practices, and demonstrate basic skills necessary to navigate the use of a telehealth platform.
Continuing education credits are available for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, nurses, and LMHPs.
View the module: Telehealth Training
BHECN Travels to New MexicoLast week, BHECN team members traveled to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque to visit the Center for Rural and Community Behavioral Health (CRCBH). Our new friends at the CRCBH have been working on behavioral health workforce issues for over 20 years and have a lot they can teach us.
UNK Professional Development Series
The UNK Department of Counseling and School Psychology is hosting its 10th annual Professional Development Series beginning September 26.
“It is designed to meet the continuing education needs of our alumni, current students, and people out in the field,” says Dr. Grace Mims, chair of the Department of Counseling and School Psychology.
Partner Profile - REAL Program
In a new series on our website, we’re featuring interesting groups, organizations and people making a difference in behavioral health in Nebraska. First up, Chad Magdanz and the REAL program at the Mental Health Association of Nebraska.
2014 BHECN Annual Conference
Over 150 behavioral health professionals and administrators joined BHECN for the 2014 Annual Conference on Friday, June 20 at the Embassy Suites-La Vista. This year’s theme – Innovative Models of Primary Care Integration and Behavioral Health – featured insights, lessons learned, and outcomes from three models of integrated behavioral health both nationally as well as in Nebraska.
Integrating Primary Care Conference
By integrating mental health, substance abuse, and primary care services we can produce better outcomes for people with complex healthcare needs. Our three presenters shared models for primary care integration happening in Nebraska and across the country.
Alexander Blount, Ed.D. – Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care
Anna Ratzliff, M.D.. – Collaborative Care: Evidence-Based Mental Health Care in Primary Care Settings
Joseph H. Evans, Ph.D. – Integration of Behavioral Health into Primary Care: What’s Happening in Nebraska
About Behavioral Health Careers
Our quick guide to the most popular careers and education needed to pursue them helps high school and college students figure out some of the next steps on their educational path. View the Behavioral Health Career Guide.
The brochure is set up for legal-sized paper, so just about anyone can download, print and share a copy. Need more than a copy or two? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to mail them to you.
Announcing BHECN Kearney
As part of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska’s strategy to grow Nebraska’s rural behavioral health workforce, we are proud to announce the launch of our presence at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. More...