Nebraska Makes Gains in Workforce Growth
The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) recently released its legislative report that highlights a nearly 15 percent increase in behavioral health providers in Nebraska from 2010 - 2016.
"Rural families may have to travel long distances to see a provider or may only have access to a primary care doctor in their community," said Howard Liu, M.D., director of BHECN. "It's crucial to address mental health concerns as they arise, so improving access is a priority." Read more.

View the legislative report .

Read more about the report in these related articles:

BHECN Annual Awards - Nominations Due March 15
Do you know someone who is making a significant contribution to behavioral health in Nebraska?

BHECN is accepting nominations for our Annual Awards. Recipients can include providers, students, consumers and family members who are working to improve behavioral health for Nebraskans.
  • Ambassador Award - Recognizes outstanding efforts of an individual student or early career professional to reach out to other students/providers in building the future behavioral health care workforce across the state of Nebraska.
  • Courage Award - Recognizes outstanding service and outreach to the community by a consumer of behavioral health services or a family member.
The nomination deadline is March 15, 2018 .
Awards will be presented on Friday, April 13, 2018, during a luncheon at the UNO Thompson Alumni Center. Click here to learn more and to submit nominations.
BHECN Ambassador Spotlights
Resident of the Year – Spencer Gallner, M.D. 
Lasting Hope Recovery Center (LHRC) awarded the 4th Annual Resident-of-the-Year Award to Spencer Gallner, M.D ., a third-year resident from Omaha. The other nominees included Alyssa Hickert, M.D. and David Marshall, M.D.
“My experience at LHRC has been an incredible one that spans my entire medical education thus far, spanning from medical school through residency,” said Dr. Gallner. “As a medical student, I enjoyed honing my interview skills and then learning how to manage patient care during residency. The doctors, nurses and staff have provided a great environment for learning and teaching. I am very thankful to have spent so much time at LHRC.”
Pictured above: (seated – left to right) Residents, Dr. Marshall, Dr. Gallner and Dr. Hickert. (standing – left
to right) Dr. William Marcil, Dr. Hudson Hsieh, Rhonda Hawks, Dr. Jeana Benton, Dr. Syed Faiz Qadri and Dr. Shannon Kinnan
Professional Spotlight - Susan Feyen-Reay
As a 20-year veteran in social work, Susan Feyen-Reay has contributed to the profession through her work in clinical practice, administrative programs and educational programs.

At the Grace Abbott School of Social Work at UNO, she helps future Nebraska social workers navigate their practicum experiences, and she is continuing her own education as a doctoral student in education at the College of Saint Mary. Susan is also coordinating the Nebraska System of Care training program and resources.
“Social work is a dynamic and flexible career,” said Feyen-Reay. “I enjoy learning from others’ experiences. Identifying the key ingredients that help individuals overcome challenges and assisting new practitioners to apply classroom knowledge to real-world settings is particularly rewarding.”
Nebraska System of Care Website Offers Training Resources
A System of Care (SOC) responds to the challenge many families face when they are involved in multiple systems with competing or conflicting goals. Within the SOC, systems such as education, mental health, juvenile justice, primary healthcare, and child welfare work together to assist families in moving forward towards a coordinated goal.

Systems of Care have demonstrated improved outcomes for youth and families throughout the United States while simultaneously increasing cost effectiveness of services. Moreover, service providers see an increase in individualized services, family involvement, and use of evidence-based practice.

Providers, students, and families can find numerous free training resources covering a wide variety of topics from introductions to the System of Care model to specific treatment considerations within a System of Care at the SOC training website here.

Mandy Busch, MS, LMHP and Taira Masek, MS, LCSW have created a learning module to introduce Nebraska’s System of Care , highlighting examples from the state and local community. Learn more about the System of Care philosophy, core values, and guiding principles by exploring the module here .
Training Opportunities
BHECN continues the four-part webinar series, “Incorporating Sexuality & Gender Concepts into Mental Health Practice” , presented by Dr. Amanda Randall and Liam Heerten-Rodriguez from the Grace Abbott School of Social Work at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

  • March 13: Addressing the Needs of LGBTQA+ Clients (Part 3)
  • 1 Social Work CEU is available upon completion of the evaluation.

Learn more and register here. Recordings and handouts for Part 1 & 2 are also available to view here.

Statewide Virtual Learning Opportunity: Pain & Substance Use Disorder 

ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is an opportunity for Nebraska providers to get specialist knowledge, clinical advice and recommendations from substance use and pain management specialists in a virtual learning network. Each ECHO call consists of a brief didactic presentation followed by a clinical case discussion from a provider and recommendations from the team for treatment.
How it works:
  • Join an online video conference from your office
  • Share and discuss clinical cases related to pain management and substance use disorders
  • Learn from experts in pain management and substance use disorders
Who should participate: Any provider interested in more effectively treating clients and patients with pain management and substance use disorders. Continuing education credits are available. 
ECHO Calls

Pain Management:
Non–Pharmacological Interventions

Presented by Dr. John Massey, Pain Medicine Specialist

When: March 2, 12 - 1:15 p.m. (CDT) via Zoom Videoconferencing

This presentation will focus on strategies that clinicians can use to reduce the patient’s reliance on opioid and other medications of abuse in the treatment of chronic pain.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Pharmacological Interventions

Presented by Dr. Kenneth Zoucha, Addiction Medicine Specialist

When: March 16, 12 - 1:15 p.m. (CDT) via Zoom Videoconferencing

This didactic presentation will discuss pharmacological management of opioid use disorder primarily looking at both the agonist medications of methadone and buprenorphine and the antagonist medication, naltrexone.

Other Training Opportunities:

Current Practices of Maternal Behavioral Health Conference – April 3, Lincoln, NE
Learn more about this conference , hosted by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Registration deadline is March 23. Continuing education is available.
15th Annual Kent Estes Justice for All Conference – April 13, Kearney, NE
Learn more about this ethics conference, co-sponsored by the Department of Counseling and School Psychology - Chi Sigma Iota and Women, Gender, and Ethnic Studies. Continuing education is available.
Understanding Substance Use Disorders is a 2-hour, self-paced online course designed for undergraduate and graduate students, behavioral health and health providers, and social services professionals who do not have a background in addictions or want a refresher. Continuing education is available. Learn more here.
BHECN Updates
Annual Mentorship Dinner

BHECN Hosted the 9th Annual Mentorship Dinner in January, providing an opportunity for 120 students, trainees, faculty members, providers and community leaders from multiple behavioral health disciplines and backgrounds to meet and mingle. 
(Left to right; front row) Steve Wengel, M.D., Valery Tran, Maida Avdic, Karen Backus, Aileen Brady, MPA (back row) Emily Soener, PLCSW, Tracy Adams and Tammy Starling
(left to right) Andrew Powell, Susan Feyen-Reay LICSW, Joe Evans, Ph.D., Jeanne Lincoln, Senator Sue Crawford
Howard Liu, M.D. , has been named the interim chair of the UNMC Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Liu, who has been at UNMC for eight years, is a nationally recognized educator, behavioral health workforce expert and practicing child psychiatrist. During his time at UNMC, he has served as the assistant vice chancellor for faculty development, and he will continue as the director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska. Read more. 
Dr. Howard Liu presented “The Doctor Won’t See You Now: Emerging Solutions to the Shortage of Diverse BH Providers” keynote at the 2018 Minority Health Disparities Initiative Conference in Lincoln this February.

“The state of Nebraska has urgent needs for a culturally and linguistically skilled workforce,” Dr. Liu commented. “It was a pleasure to engage with state, community, academic and research partners to share best practices in building that pipeline.”
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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.
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