Wayne State Hosts Behavioral Health Conference


Wayne State College is proud to announce it will host the second WSC Behavioral Health Conference April 8-9 on the WSC campus.  The conference is coordinated by the WSC Task Force for Career Development in Behavioral Health and the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) and sponsored by the Mid-America Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network (MHTTC).  Wayne State faculty, students, and regional professional stakeholders are invited to participate in this free conference which is also open to the public.

The conference will kick off at 2 p.m. in the Frey Conference Suite of the Kanter Student Center with a panel of community and professional stakeholders discussing the behavioral care needs they encounter in their positions and how those needs are currently addressed. The panel discussion will be followed by a student poster session from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the atrium of Gardner Hall. The keynote address will be given by Julia Hebenstreit, JD, Executive Director of The Kim Foundation in Omaha, at 7 p.m. in the Frey Conference Suite. 

The WSC Task Force for Career Development in Behavioral Health is charged with reviewing and cataloging behavioral health needs in rural northeast Nebraska in order to identify strategies to increase interest in behavioral health careers. The Task Force provides recommendations for initiatives that support students intending to practice in behavioral health care fields in northeast Nebraska.  

The Task Force was formed to honor Stephen Spelic, who was described as an old-time social worker after his death in May 2018. He spent his professional life in the behavioral health system in Nebraska and Iowa. He had years of experience in a case-by-case review of the behavioral health system from the point of view of the emergency room and hospital. The Task Force is directly supporting the NE Nebraska Behavioral Health Network in its goal to create and retain a behavioral health workforce in this area of the state to honor the memory of Spelic.   

Julia Hebenstreit received her J.D. from Creighton University in 2005, and her BS in Journalism from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2002. She has been with The Kim Foundation since December of 2011, and prior to that worked for local non-profits doing development, strategic planning, communications, and advancement. Julia has a passion for helping people and improving lives, and serves as the President for the Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, as the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Hill Day State Captain since 2015, and as an active member of the Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, Metro Area Suicide Coalition, Connections Advisory Committee, RESPECT Advisory Board, and BHECN’s Advisory Committee.

For information, please contact Dr. Monica Snowden at mosnowd1@wsc.edu or 402-375-7136.