Charting a Course

We’ve just completed our first High School Alliance course, “Intro to Behavioral Health: Concepts and Careers from Family Therapy to Forensic Psychiatry,” developed in collaboration with BHECN and the Munroe-Meyer Institute.

It was an honor to introduce these 13 bright and talented students to the core concepts of behavioral health. Read more about the course below and also in this previous article.

BHECN is dedicated to growing the behavioral health workforce in Nebraska and exposing students to the vast opportunities and need in this field.

If you have a program idea to introduce youth to careers in mental health, apply for the ACE Awards, which provides funding for such programs. The deadline is quickly approaching on June 1.

If you have an interest in sharing your workforce success story or idea, don’t hesitate to contact BHECN

Howard Liu, M.D.
BHECN Director
Integrating Mental Health and Primary Care
Nebraska faces a shortage of mental health practitioners, particularly in rural areas of the state. One of the ways to reduce the barriers of access to mental health in these areas is establishing an on-site mental health professional in primary care clinics. 

BHECN hosted a conference in Kearney, Neb. last week on the topic: “Integrating Mental Health and Primary Care.” Thirteen people from 10 different cities in Nebraska attended the conference. 

The half-day conference introduced the concept of integrating behavioral health into primary care facilities and elaborated on how to establish the practice. 

Presenters included Joe Evans, Ph.D., Holly Roberts, Ph.D., Dr. Roderick O'Handley, and Dr. Kenton Shaffer. Attendees to the event ranged from nurses and therapists to administrators. 

There are 41 integrated clinics in Nebraska, including two new clinics being established in Falls City and Humboldt. Both are located in communities considered professional shortage areas by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).

These southeastern Nebraska clinics will provide families who usually have to drive many miles to access behavioral healthcare with options closer to home. 
Ambassador Spotlight:
Meet Emily Soener, PLMHP, PLCSW
Emily Soener got her start in social work by volunteering for the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority as an undergrad. After being hired full time following graduation, she realized social work might be an area she'd like to pursue further.

Soener graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a master's of social work in 2014, and has worked with Community Alliance since her graduation. She is also teaching her first course as an adjunct professor at UNO's Grace Abbott School of Social Work.

 Apply for ACE Award by June 1: Updated Requirements
We’ve had lots of interest in the Ambassador Career Engagement (ACE) Awards, which will provide funds to introduce local youth to behavioral health professions through experiences closer to home.
Priority will be given to programs that reach students in rural and/or underserved communities. BHECN will fund seven awards up to $1,200 each and two awards up to $5,000 each.
Feedback has indicated the requirement of exposing students to six careers was limiting for some organizations. Our goal is to support quality programming that can make an impact in your community; therefore, we have adjusted the parameters to require exposure to two or more of the careers listed on the BHECN website. 

The deadline to apply is June 1 and funds must be used for programs offered between July 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018. 
High School Alliance Behavioral Health student heading to HOSA national competition:

High School Alliance student Lea Sobrilsky will be heading to Orlando to participate in the HOSA national competition this June, competing in the Behavioral Health category.

Sobrilsky, a junior at Papillion La Vista South high school, qualified for the national competition earlier this year after placing in third in the Behavioral Health category at the Nebraska state HOSA competition. 

Read more
On Tuesday, May 9, BHECN Director Howard Liu, M.D., took part in a Twitter chat discussing the newly released recommendations to solve the critical shortage of psychiatrists across the United States. The recommendations were made by the Medical Director Institute at the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Using the hashtag #BH365, participants discussed the impacts of the healthcare shortages. The National Council invited participants to share their insights to possible solutions as well as practices they may have already implemented. 

Overall, 147 participants made a total of 485 tweets using the #BH365 hashtag during the event. The chat ended up receiving more than 6 million impressions.
Mobile App Makes Job Searching Easy now has a free mobile application to assist with your behavioral health job search.

Just take a few seconds to sign in (or if you’re already registered on the website, use your existing log-in) and begin searching, saving and applying for jobs, right from your mobile device. It’s just that easy! 

Visit the App Store or Google Play store to download today or click the link below!

Welcome Heather Pancoe!

Heather Pancoe recently joined BHECN as the project assistant at CHI Lasting Hope Recovery Center. Her primary role is to assist students while they are on rotation at Lasting Hope. The types of students Pancoe assists include medical, pharmacy, nursing, physician assistant, social work and therapy students, as well as psychiatry residents. 

Pancoe provides an orientation to the students and arranges educational lunches to advance their knowledge. 

"The students are encouraged to take advantage of the great interdisciplinary opportunities at Lasting Hope starting with an expansive student lounge where students from various schools and disciplines interact and continuing to the units with their health care teams under the supervision of our professional staff," Pancoe said.   

Regardless of whether a student ultimately chooses psychiatry as their specialty, they will almost certainly experience mental health issues in their practice,” Pancoe said. “A successful rotation through Lasting Hope will help teach them the skills they can practice in all areas of medicine. The staff at Lasting Hope are excellent mentors and do a great job of showing students what a career in mental health could mean for them."

Upcoming Events & Training
Managing Mental Health in the Classroom – June 23*
 Join us for a free, full-day conference discussing:
  • Behavioral health concerns in the classroom
  • Bullying
  • Suicide
  • School-wide interventions
  • Teacher initiated interventions
When: Friday, June 23, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

University of Nebraska Kearney
Nebraskan Student Union
1013 West 27th St.
Kearney, NE 68849
Who should attend?  teachers, administrators, counselors, practitioners working in schools
Register by June 9  via this link:
*Note: BHECN will not be hosting a School Mental Health Conference in Omaha this year.
Project ECHO Model Brought to Nebraska
BHECN was pleased to join the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Mid-America Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network (ATTC), and the Missouri Telehealth Network as sponsors of a one-day Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) orientation for behavioral health providers, government officials, and community stakeholders .

Project ECHO utilizes advanced telementoring, collaborative medical education, and care management to support peer-to-peer specialty care education for front line health professionals working in underserved communities.
Expanding access to quality behavioral health services is at the core of BHECN’s mission. As such, we are proud to support efforts to bring the ECHO model to Nebraska. 

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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