Behavioral health forum planned Dec. 9 via Zoom

Nebraska City News-Press

The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) will host a free forum via Zoom on Dec. 9 featuring experts in public policy, rural health and behavioral health. The forum begins at noon and is expected to last 90 minutes.

The 2020 Nebraska Behavioral Health Policy Forum will discuss how the challenges of the past year have impacted behavioral health care and behavioral health policy. The forum will feature a keynote presentation by Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association; guest speaker, Nebraska Sen. John Arch; and a panel of four Nebraska behavioral health professionals, including rural health experts.

Discussions will focus on how the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic are poised to have a profound effect on policies that shape behavioral health care at national and state levels. Topics also will include how the pandemic has affected the behavioral health workforce, including the increase in demand for services, frequent changes in regulations and transitioning to telemedicine.

Recognized as among the top 100 most influential people in health care by Modern Healthcare magazine, Morgan has more than 30 years of health policy experience at the state and federal level and is one of the nation's leading experts on rural health policy.

Sen. Arch was elected to serve District 14 in the Nebraska Legislature on Nov. 6, 2018. Before his retirement in 2018, the senator served in health care administration for more than 30 years.

For the past 25 years, he worked for Boys Town in its health care division, as executive vice president of health care and director of the National Research Hospital and Clinics.

He continues to serve as vice president for strategic initiatives at Boys Town National Research Hospital.

Panel speakers include:

Nicole Carritt, director of Rural Health Initiatives at UNMC and the assistant director of outreach and engagement for the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center;

Christine Chasek, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in the department of counseling and school psychology and the director of BHECN-Kearney;

Catherine Jones-Hazledine, PhD, owner and supervising psychologist at Western Nebraska Behavioral Health Clinics, who also serves as adjunct faculty with Chadron State College and the Munroe-Meyer Institute at UNMC; and

Kathy Seacrest, regional administrator, Region II Human Services

Visit for more information and registration.