Mid-America MHTTC Newsletter
Good morning!

We hope that you enjoyed last week's holiday. We certainly did — though we are happy to be back at work, too, and preparing this newsletter for you was Item No. 1 on our agenda.

Without any further ado, please read on for news from the past month. We are skipping the December calendar this month, because we are busy recharging from November's appointments and because the holiday season is in full swing. Don't worry — we plan to hit the ground running come January! As our Center continues to grow, we have a lot in store for HHS Region 7 in 2020.

Thanks as always for following our work. If you have any feedback on our second-ever newsletter, don't hesitate to reach out.

Stay warm,

The Team at Mid-America MHTTC
National Special Education Day - Dec. 2
Human Rights Day - Dec. 10
Hannukkah - Dec. 22-30
Christmas Day - Dec. 25
Kwanzaa - Dec. 26-Jan. 1
Center staff present on school mental health to dozens at annual school mental health conference
Center staff donned Mid-America MHTTC T-shirts at the National Center for School Mental Health's annual conference in November.
Mid-America MHTTC lent its expertise in school mental health to attendees of the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH)'s annual conference Nov. 7-9 in Austin, Texas.

"The Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health was an excellent opportunity for us to learn about current practices in the field, network with others doing work in this area, and to showcase our efforts to elevate school mental health programming in our region," said Brandy Clarke, Ph.D., our Center's co-project director.

The conference drew more than 2,000 educators, administrators, student instructional support personnel, mental health practitioners, family members, youth, policymakers, and more.
MHTTC and NCSMH staff.
On the second day, Dr. Clarke co-presented on implementation science-based technical assistance at a symposium that also featured representatives from other MHTTC regions. About 50 people attended the session.

"It was very well-received, and attendees provided positive feedback at end of the session," said Jessica Gonzalez, school mental health project coordinator for the MHTTC National Coordinating Office (NCO).

At a later session facilitated by the MHTTC Network, NCSMH co-directors Sharon Hoover, Ph.D., and Nancy Lever, Ph.D., provided an in-depth overview of the National School Mental Health Curriculum. During the session, Dr. Hoover called upon Dr. Clarke to share with the audience some tidbits from our Center's experience in teaching the curriculum to districts in our region, a nod to our close partnership with the NCSMH to disseminate comprehensive programming.

"We were privileged to have Dr. Clarke join us for our presentation about the national MHTTC efforts," Dr. Hoover said. "She was able to share with a packed room of learners about the work of our region to advance school mental health at state and district levels.”

The MHTTC Network had a robust showing at the conference. Eleven centers, as well as the NCO, participated in the event.
New flyer provides overview of Mid-America MHTTC's school mental health services
Mid-America Technology Transfer Center (TTC) Advisory Board convenes in Omaha for first-ever quarterly meeting
Watch the above video to learn more about the Mid-America Technology Transfer Centers and the purpose of the new Advisory Board!
The first-ever quarterly meeting of the Mid-America Technology Transfer Center (TTC) Advisory Board took place on Nov. 21 in Omaha.

The board is a joint effort between the Mid-America Addiction, Mental Health, and Prevention TTCs, and members are comprised of state leadership in prevention, substance abuse, and mental health; leaders of state provider associations; agency directors; and others in position to provide valuable direction.

Among the approximately 25 attendees was HHS Region 7 Administrator Kim Nelson, who suggested a joint board as a way to help the centers better align behavioral health services, share advice and experiences, and improve collaboration on shared interests and projects across Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas.
Integrated Care
During our first year of funding, the Mid-America MHTTC strove to develop relationships and assess training needs for integrated care across our four-state SAMHSA region. Among other preparatory steps, we met with directors of state mental health departments and initiated contact with organizations of federally qualified community health centers (FQHCs) and community mental health centers (CMHCs).

Year 2 began only a few months ago, but since then, our staff have led several universal-level training events both within Region 7 and nationally. Those included the following:
  • the Community Care Network of Kansas' annual conference in Manhattan, Kansas;
  • the National Association for Rural Mental Health's conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico;
  • the Southwest Prevention Center's Integrated Care through the Lens of Prevention conference in New Orleans;
  • the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas' annual conference in Wichita, Kansas;
  • the Nemours DREAM Integration meeting in Wilmington, Delaware;
  • a HRSA webinar commemorating National Rural Health Day;
  • our own Integrating Behavioral Health in Primary Care Conference in Omaha.

We expect to be opening opportunities for targeted-level training events for integrated care during the remainder of this grant year.

Each newsletter we highlight our work in one of our core training areas: school mental health, integrated behavioral health in primary care, serious mental illness, and behavioral health workforce development.
Dr. Mogens "Bill" Baerentzen
Bill Baerentzen, Ph.D., CRC, LMHP, is project coordinator for the Mid-America MHTTC, meaning he plays a key role in organizing the technical assistance and training that our Center provides to the region. His passion is serious mental illness (SMI), and much of his outreach involves promoting evidence-based practices to help people with SMI live meaningful inclusive lives. These practices include Permanent Supportive Housing, Supported Employment, Family Education, and Peer Support Services.

Knowing that these practices are proven to bring about meaningful change fuels Dr. Baerentzen's passion for the field, which he says has changed over the past 20-30 years. The perspective regarding the treatment and rehabilitation of people with serious mental illness has shifted, he explains.

"The emergence of evidence-based mental health practices makes it possible to implement programs to help persons find employment and permanent housing, form meaningful social relationships, go back to school, and achieve life satisfaction and emotional wellness," he says. "MHTTC helps with the implementation and sustainability of such practices, and bridges the gap between what we know and what we do."

Dr. Baerentzen was born in Denmark and immigrated to the United States in 1998. His first job in his new home of Chicago was as director of a 250-bed emergency overnight shelter. Since then, he has worked as a supervisor of therapists in a treatment program for persons with co-occurring disorders; supervisor of a supported employment program; full-time consultant on implementation of SAMHSA evidence-based practices; faculty in a rehabilitation counseling program; and leader of a behavioral health workforce development program.
Each newsletter we shed light on an exceptional contributor to Mid-America MHTTC's mission. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured, please reply to this email.
You have reached the conclusion of this issue. Thank you for reading!
Mid-America MHTTC | 402.552.7697 | MHTTCnetwork.org/midamerica
The Mid-America Mental Health Technology Transfer Center is a SAMHSA-funded program at the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The Mid-America MHTTC provides training in evidence-based practices to the four-state area of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas
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