National Council for Behavioral Health honors BHECN

by Krista Roberts, BHECN | January 27, 2016

Image with caption: The staff of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska includes, top row from left, Joe Evans, Ph.D.; Krista Roberts, Ann Kraft, Robin Bayless, Brent Khan, Ed.D.; bottom row from left, Keith Anderson; Howard Liu, M.D.; and Bill Baerentzen. BHECN, which also has a branch at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, has been named a recipient of the National Council for Behavioral Health's 2016 Awards of Excellence.

The staff of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska includes, top row from left, Joe Evans, Ph.D.; Krista Roberts, Ann Kraft, Robin Bayless, Brent Khan, Ed.D.; bottom row from left, Keith Anderson; Howard Liu, M.D.; and Bill Baerentzen. BHECN, which also has a branch at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, has been named a recipient of the National Council for Behavioral Health's 2016 Awards of Excellence.

The UNMC-based Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) has been named a recipient of the National Council for Behavioral Health's 2016 Awards of Excellence.

Change Maker

The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) launched an Ambassador Program to recruit an up-and-coming workforce among high school and college students, reaching nearly 2,000 students to-date. Through a Virtual Mentorship Network, BHECN connects more than 50 high school and college students statewide via teleconferencing to behavioral health mentors in their area of interest. BHECN conducts live and online training and continuing education for more than 3,200 people, including behavioral health providers and community members. BHECN also partnered with Region 5 Behavioral Health Systems to launch a free job search website, NebraskaBehavioralHealthJobs.com, for both employers and job seekers. To date, nearly 300 jobs have been posted with more than 5,700 visits.

The awards honor people and organizations that improve the lives of people living with mental illnesses and addictions, increase understanding of behavioral health in their communities, advocate for public policy reforms, advance professional development and devote their lives to helping others.

BHECN was recognized with a Change Makers Award as "Champions of Training and Workforce Development." BHECN was selected from more than 1,000 applicants to receive this award.

"BHECN's mission is to develop the skilled and passionate behavioral health workforce needed in every neighborhood in Nebraska," said Howard Liu, M.D., director of BHECN. "We are honored to receive this award from the National Council because it recognizes that our efforts offer not only hope for our state, but inspiration for the country as we mentor our best students to embrace careers in mental health. Thanks to all of our partners for your dedication!"

Steven Wengel, M.D., chair of the UNMC Department of Psychiatry, congratulated the BHECN team for the recognition.

"I am extremely proud of what BHECN has accomplished in many areas, and especially in its tireless efforts to increase the behavioral health workforce for the state," Dr. Wengel said. "This award is a testament to BHECN's successes in increasing access to care from behavioral health providers from all disciplines."

Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, said that notifying award winners such as BHECN was one of the best parts of her job.

"These awards mean so much to the winners," she said. "But the reality is that their work and dedication means so much to us -- to the health care field, to people and families living with mental illnesses and addictions and to communities at-large."

This year's awards include 18 categories with 21 winners, chosen by a panel of health care leaders.

As an honoree, BHECN will receive $10,000 to be donated to the nonprofit organization of its choice and will be recognized at the  Celebration of Excellence Concert and Dinner on March 8 during the 2016 National Council Conference in Las Vegas.

To learn more about the 2016 honorees and their accomplishments, visit the National Council's Awards of Excellence site.

Comments
Roxanna Jokela
January 27, 2016 at 8:55 AM

Congratulations to you all for this recognition from your colleagues! I remember way back when this concept was first being developed and the logistics of building a viable statewide network! What a great team that has built that concept into reality and is truly making a difference. Heartiest congratulations!

John Barrier
January 27, 2016 at 8:34 AM

Congratulations!

Michael Huckabee
January 27, 2016 at 8:07 AM

BHECN are clearly champions for Nebraska. Congratulations on this well-deserved award!

Greg Karst
January 27, 2016 at 6:52 AM

Congratulations to Howard and all of the team members responsible for the great work that made BHECN so deserving of this reward. Keep up the great work!

Mike Sitorius MD
January 27, 2016 at 6:41 AM

Congratulations to the entire BHECN team. A true example of committed leadership, willing partners and a mission/vision to improve the health and lives of Nebraskans.