BHECN conference draws student raves

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | May 27, 2016

Image with caption: Speaking with a

Speaking with a "simulated patient," at left, conference attendees from left Jonathon Sayaloune, Kayla Epp and Mason McCormick experience a mock patient interview during the conference.

More than 45 college students came to UNMC earlier this month to participate in the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) College Ambassador Conference.

The three-day conference covered topics such as:

  • the nature of behavioral illness and treatment,
  • the current system of care for these illnesses,
  • difficulties and challenges for patients and their families, and
  • career opportunities in behavioral health fields.

Students attended panel discussions, participated in tabletop discussions and had interviews with simulated patients during the event.

Hanna Arrowsmith, a first-year student at Nebraska Wesleyan University from Syracuse, Neb., has been participating in BHECN events since high school.

"Ultimately, I want to be a psychiatrist, so all of this is right up my alley, and it excites me for the future," she said. "It gets me prepared and lets me ask a lot of questions.

"What I liked the most was our mock appointment with the simulated patients," she said. "That was really cool, to be in that position and think, 'I could be doing this someday!' It ignites that excitement -- and I just have to work so much harder to get to where I want to be, because this is amazing."

Lauren Rowe, a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said she wanted to be a doctor, but she also wanted to do research in neuroscience. She said the presentation by Soonjo Hwang, M.D., on his research was enthralling.

"I think it's really great that UNMC offers programs like this, because it helps give students a taste of what they want to do," she said.

Jaycee Housh, a Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP) student who will be coming to UNMC's College of Medicine in the fall, said BHECN was one of the UNMC programs that kindled her interest in health care.

"I thought it was particularly helpful hearing Dr. (Howard) Liu and Jake Wardyn, the medical student, talk to us about their experience with psychiatry, to get both the professional and the student aspect of it," she said.

Ann Kraft, BHECN Ambassador program coordinator, said the conference provided students a chance to meet professionals working in various fields.

"For so many of these college students, they are trying to figure out what is the right profession for them to go into, so it really helps them to have the opportunities to talk to the people working in the field and ask questions."

Sandy Williamson
May 31, 2016 at 10:42 AM

Congratulations Ann on another successful conference!