BHECN Awarded 2 New
Multi-State Collaborative Agreements
SAMHSA Collaborative Agreements will help
 in a four-state region
A collaborative agreement (similar to a grant) has been awarded to BHECN. Named the Mid-American Mental Health Technology & Transfer Center collaborative agreement, in the amount of $3,735,000 or $745,000 per year for five years to provide mental health training and technical assistance to our four-state region; Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. This is the largest grant/collaborative agreement awarded to BHECN since its inception in 2009.

Dr. Joe Evans is the project director, Dr. Howard Liu is the co-project director while the project coordinator is Dr. Bill Baerentzen the newest member of the BHECN team (more on Dr. Baerentzen later) and Dr. Brent Khan is the Operations Director on the collaborative agreement.

The four areas of focus projected for the program will be integrated behavioral health in primary care, school mental health, behavioral health workforce development and severe mental illness.

BHECN was chosen to receive the award due to its history with training and consultation across mental health topics. The National Coordinating Center located at Stanford and the University of Missouri at Kansas City will develop a portion of the overall national agenda, while BHECN will develop a regional agenda for its four state partnership. Implementation will happen in phases starting with a review of needs assessments; and development of regional teams in the areas of focus within each of the four states. BHECN will work with the 67 federally qualified community health centers in the four states as well as the regional associations of behavioral health providers.

Activities currently in the planning stages include webinars, workshops, training seminars, intensive training, program implementation and consultations.

For more information on the collaborative agreement or to get involved, please contact Laura Holly at .
SAMHSA Awards Supplement to
BHECN's Collaborative Agreement
A second collaborative agreement awarded to BHECN is a grant supplement to the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) for School Mental Health Training and Technical Assistance. This supplemental award by SAMHSA is in response to the school crisis in the country centered around bullying, suicide and mass casualty events at schools.

The supplemental collaborative agreement provides BHECN an additional $500,000 for one year to implement a series of focused training in the four-state region of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

The series of focused, evidence-based training will be designed to train school and community behavioral health providers in evidence-based practices. Different levels of training will include awareness, capacity building/skills training, on-going consultation and implementation of system-wide school interventions. The program will allow BHECN to develop in-person and online training to support school mental health.

For more information on the collaborative agreement or to get involved, please contact Jennifer Bull at .
Psychiatric Nursing Workforce Summit
Tackles Current & Future Workforce Issues
The 2018 Psychiatric Nursing Workforce Summit was held September 12
The Summit started off with a whirl...literally. One of the presenters, Gail Stuart took a quicker trip than originally planned to Omaha spurred on by Hurricane Florence and then left the same day to hurry home and be nearby before Florence hit her coastal home.

BHECN presents at the
National Association for Rural Mental Health's Annual Summer Conference
Members of the BHECN staff including Ann Kraft, Dr. Holly Roberts (both pictured) and Dr. Tina Chasek, presented at this year's NARMH (National Association for Rural Mental Health) annual summer conference.

NARMH held its 44th annual conference in New Orleans, August 23-26 with a theme of Rural Resilience. The theme reflected a growing national concern about the future of rural and farm communities and the need to improve availability of behavioral health services, something near and dear to BHECN staff's hearts.

Ambassador Spotlight

Meet Allison Vlach, Second-Year Medical Student and our Ambassador Spotlight for September 2018

Allison grew up in a family of medical professionals, it seemed natural for her to go into the medical field, but what really sparked her interest was seeing the impact that incredible physicians have made in her life and those of her family members. Read more.

2018 NABHO Professional of the Year Awarded to
Dr. Joe Evans
Dr. Joe Evans, clinical director of BHECN and professor of Psychology & Pediatrics at the Munroe-Meyer Institute was honored with the 2018 Professional of the Year award by the Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations (NABHO).

Dr. Evans was one of three recipients of the Professional of the Year award for 2018 at the NABHO Reception which followed the first day of the NABHO Behavioral Health Matters conference held on Thursday, September 20, 2018 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“I was honored to receive this award from an organization I admire for all the wonderful work they do for the community. Even though I stand up here alone, I represent part of a team that works every day to improve the behavioral health workforce in Nebraska. I’m happy we are having an impact and humbled knowing all the work we have yet to do. Thank you.” - Dr. Joe Evans
BHECN attended the Nebraska Rural Health Conference in Kearney, Nebraska on Wednesday, September 19, 2018.

BHECN was one of twenty-one exhibitors at the event who joined together to provide health care leaders in rural communities of Nebraska networking and educational opportunities.

Approximately 250 people attended the conference.
Dr. Brandy Clarke with BHECN, Julia Hebenstreit with the Kim Foundation and Dr. Joe Evans at the NABHO Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska on September 20-21, 2018.

Later on this evening Dr. Evans was presented with the Professional of the Year award. See article above.
Behavioral Health Providers
Meet in Washington, D.C.
It was a collaboration of key minds in behavioral health workforce integration on September 19th as representatives from several organizations met in Washington, D.C.

Training Opportunities
SEPA Ambassador Conference
On October 30, BHECN will be partnering with several groups and introducing behavioral health careers to more than 100 Native American students from Nebraska and South Dakota. The event will take place from 8:00 am – 2:30 pm in South Sioux City, NE. 

If you would like join BHECN and to help teach students about mental health topics and careers, please contact Ann Kraft at or 402-552-7638 for more information. 
Project ECHO is a virtual consultation model where physical and behavioral health providers can call in and receive recommendations on a patient case.

Each Project ECHO series focuses on a specific health topic, and experts on that topic are present to provide recommendations.

This Project ECHO call series focuses on Pain and Substance Use Disorder and allows providers the opportunity to make recommendations on cases and learn from their peers’ presentations.  
Project ECHO: Learn From Substance Use Disorder Experts!
Treatment of Opioid Disorders

Presented by Dr. Ken Zoucha, Addiction Medicine Specialist

When: Fri., Oct. 5, 12 - 1:15 p.m. (CDT)

Learning Objectives:
  • Summarize evidence based treatment options for Opioid Use Disorders
  • Discuss treatment options and how to refer
Behavioral Health Treatment Options for Pain and Substance Use Disorders

Presented by Dr. Tina, Chasek, Clinical Mental Health Counselor and Addiction Counselor

When: Mon., Oct. 15, 12 - 1:15 p.m. (CDT)

Learning Objectives:
  • Summarize evidence based treatment options for Substance Use Disorders
  • Analyze treatment options for behavioral health issues specific to Nebraska 
BHECN Webinar Series
Dr. Hope received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University at Albany-State University of New York in 1990 and joined the department in the same year. Her current research interests follow two broad themes: (a) assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders (particularly social anxiety disorder) and (b) the impact of stigma and discrimination on mental health and health services, particularly for individuals who identify as transgender, lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

Dr. Hope is the director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic and the Rainbow Clinic, both specialty services within the Psychological Consultation Center. She is the lead author on the foremost psychosocial social treatment program for social anxiety, Managing Social Anxiety: A Cognitive Behavioral Approach in the Treatments that Work Series with Oxford University Pres.

Dr. Hope is a licensed clinical psychologist in Nebraska and maintains a small private practice
Upcoming Webinar
BHECN offers a free webinar series designed to educate behavioral health trainees on a variety of practical behavioral health topics. Trainees and providers can refer to these webinars as a supplemental resource to expand their knowledge in topics they may encounter as professionals.

Introduction to Social Anxiety: Identification and Treatment Options
Thursday, October 11, 2018 | 2-3:30 p.m.

Continuing education credit provided

Presented by Dr. Debra Hope
Dr. Hope is the director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic and the Rainbow Clinic, both specialty services within the Psychological Consultation Center.
Another Live Webinar Coming in October - Save The Date
Inform Your Practice: An Evidence-Based Approach for Clients with Dual Diagnosis
Thursday, November 1, 2018 | 12-2 p.m.
Continuing education credit provided

Presented by Dr. Dennis McChargue, associate professor of Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Registration for this live event will open in October.

You can always: View recorded webinars here .
Searching for behavioral health employees?

Don’t forget about this FREE Nebraska resource to post your behavioral health jobs, as often as you wish!   

 makes it easy to post and find job openings for a variety of behavioral health careers in Nebraska.

For more behavioral health jobs info, subscribe to  The Connection newsletter.
BHECN's Mission
The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), pronounced “beacon”, was established in 2009 by a legislative bill to address the shortage of behavioral health professionals in rural and underserved areas of the state. It is a unique partnership among the state legislature, academic institutions, and community partners
to create a statewide workforce solution to increase the number of licensed behavioral health professionals.

View our video to learn more about our mission, programs and initiatives.
 402.552.7697 |