IDEA Award: Joe Evans, Ph.D.

April 23, 2018

Image with caption: Joe Evans, Ph.D.

Joe Evans, Ph.D.

In 1997, when Joe Evans, Ph.D., began his efforts to expand the state's pediatric behavioral health workforce, there were no primary care clinics in Nebraska that integrated behavioral health into their practices. As of 2018, there are now 42 integrated care clinics that were started and/or supported by his program at the Munroe-Meyer Institute, and more than 225 different Nebraska communities and towns are now served by these clinics.

About the award

The university-wide President's Faculty Excellence Awards recognize faculty whose work has had a significant impact on students, the university and the state.

The Innovation, Development and Engagement Award (IDEA) recognizes faculty members who have extended their academic expertise beyond the boundaries of the university in ways that have enriched the broader community.

Winners -- who are selected by a university-wide committee of faculty members and, in the case of the engagement award, community members -- receive $10,000 each, a presidential medallion and an engraved plaque. Awards will be presented at a luncheon hosted by Dr. Bounds this spring.

This year, Dr. Evans received the University of Nebraska's Innovation, Development and Engagement Award (IDEA) for his efforts in this area. He will be honored at Tuesday's Annual Faculty Meeting, along with other award recipients.

Nominators were emphatic that Dr. Evans' impact on pediatric behavioral health in Nebraska has been enormous.

Jodi Polaha, Ph.D., of the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University in Johnson, was one of the first of Dr. Evans' collaborators in this effort.

"In 1997-98, Dr. Evans placed 'commuter' psychology faculty (including myself) in primary care clinics in communities, such as Hastings and Columbus, and built those sites into the existing training curriculum for the department's existing pre-doctoral internship," she wrote in her nomination letter. "Over time, interns 'took on' those clinics, moving to those communities permanently, and faculty were able to expand to new communities such as Nebraska City, Crete, Chadron, and Kearney.

"Today, the 'integrated model' of service provision is increasingly common," she said. "However, to place psychologists in such settings 20 years ago was very progressive, and descriptions of this model program were among the first to be published nationally. "

Hastings physician Ken Shaffer, M.D., said Dr. Evans changed the way many pediatricians in Nebraska care for the children and families, training pediatric behavioral health workers who serve most of the state.

Keith Allen, Ph.D., director of psychology at the Munroe-Meyer Institute, said Dr. Evans' academic expertise draws large numbers of applicants to his program, some of whom stay in Nebraska to practice.

"However, he also has former students doing research and training of doctoral level behavioral health providers at major universities throughout the United States," Dr. Allen said. "In addition, several former postdoctoral fellows have taken Dr. Evans' integrated primary care model to other states, including Michigan, Florida, Colorado, Tennessee, Idaho and Alaska."

"He is truly a pioneer and visionary," said Howard Liu, M.D., director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska. "He has given his entire career to helping those who are most underserved in health care."


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Kim Bainbridge
April 26, 2018 at 11:17 AM

Joe thank you for serving the rural communities which are dear to your and my heart.

Karin Carlson
April 24, 2018 at 11:09 AM

A well deserved award Joe! Congratulations!

Sara Pirtle
April 24, 2018 at 6:09 AM

Great accomplishment! - Sara Pirtle

Annie Bird
April 23, 2018 at 7:04 AM

Congratulations, Joe. Another well-deserved recognition! We are all better for the work you have done. Thanks on behalf of all the children and adults we represent. - Annie Bird