Nebraska Behavioral Health Policy Forum 2022


 Special Guest Speakers |  Register by Clicking Here

The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska's (BHECN) 3rd Annual Nebraska Behavioral Health and Rural Health Workforce Policy Forum will be held live Friday, December 2, 2022, from 12-1 pm CT.

In 2022, the Nebraska Legislature made historic investments in the behavioral health and rural health workforce through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Please join the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) and the UNMC Office of Rural Health Initiatives to hear about how these investments are being used to recruit, train, and retain behavioral health and rural healthcare providers across Nebraska.  

The Forum will feature BHECN ARPA Director Jessie Buche and UNMC Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Workforce Education Relations Nikki Carritt as they discuss and answer questions about innovative and sustainable initiatives that are responsive to the impacts of the pandemic and build Nebraska’s future workforce.  

Special Guest Speakers


Jessie Buche, MPH, MA
Director, BHECN ARPA Awards 

Jessie Buche is the Director of the ARPA Awards program at BHECN. She is responsible for overseeing the application, review, funding, evaluation, technical assistance, and reporting activities for the program.

Prior to her role at BHECN, Jessie completed her undergraduate degree in business at George Washington University and a dual master's degree in public health and education policy at the University of Michigan.

Jessie served as the Managing Director of the Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center at the University of Michigan for nearly a decade. In this role, she wore many hats, managing over 100 behavioral health workforce research projects, overseeing the national advisory board and center's budget, and serving as lead investigator for multiple projects.

Jessie has a keen interest in behavioral health workforce distribution, recruitment and retention efforts, training and education, and telebehavioral health and substance use disorder service delivery. 


Nicole Carritt, MPH 
Director, UNMC Rural Health Initiatives 
Office of the Vice-Chancellor for External Relations 
University of Nebraska Medical Center 
Omaha, Nebraska

Nicole (Nikki) Carritt is the UNMC Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Workforce Education Relations, the Director of Rural Health Initiatives, and the Assistant Director of Community Outreach and Engagement for the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. 
Nicole has more than fifteen years of experience leading organizations in the public health and non-profit sectors and programmatic leadership in higher education. Her primary areas of responsibility are leading the statewide UNMC Rural Health 2030 Initiative to work collaboratively and incorporate rural health strategy into rural communities' broader efforts to address rural health disparities and improve rural quality of life. 

Nicole works closely with the rural health workforce, health policy, government affairs, community development, program and grant development, and rural community engagement activities. Her work focuses on improving rural health, safety, and well-being at the local, statewide, and national levels using best practices and evidence-based strategies. 
Nicole has a broad background in health-related organization and programmatic leadership, community organizing, leading evidence-based policy initiatives, developing and presenting training and technical assistance to local, state-level, and national partners, and building and sustaining programs for long-term and sustainable change. 
Nicole graduated from Wayne State College in Wayne, NE, with a BS in Exercise Science and earned her Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Administration from UNMC. 

To get information on the 2021 Policy Forum click here or View the recording for the 2021 Forum video
To get information on the 2020 Policy Forum click here or View the recording for the 2020 Forum video