WAYNE – National Rural Health Day is Thursday, November 16 and in a recent news release, Northeast Nebraska Behavioral Health Network has been awarded funding to help meet the needs in the area.
The Northeast Region has a mental health provider per population ratio of 2,997 to 1 and with such a great need for mental and behavioral health services and treatments, many go without and suffer as a result.
A three-year grant from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was awarded to the Northeast Nebraska Behavioral Health Network (NeNeBHN).
Also with the news of receiving the grant, Director of the network John Bailey made the announcement of the hiring of Traci Bruckner and Elisha Smith.
Bruckner resides in Wayne with her husband and son. She will serve as the Community Outreach Director and prior to this position, she served as the Policy Director for the Women’s Fund of Omaha, working directly with senators on a host of issues that impacted women and girls. Traci also spent 15 years with the Center for Rural Affairs leading their federal and state policy efforts around agriculture, conservation, beginning and women farming issues. She has also worked on state health care and tax policy issues.
Elisha Smith has accepted the Communications Director position and currently lives south of Pender with her family. She has 11 years of communications experience having served as the Media and Outreach Associate with the Center for Rural Affairs where she worked to elevate the Center’s presence in the media and strengthen outreach and connection efforts. Most recently she worked in Health Information Management at the Pender Community Hospital.
The Network seeks to meet the behavioral health and mental health needs of 24 counties in northeast and north central Nebraska by facilitating expanded access to behavioral and mental health services, assisting in behavioral and mental health professional placements, increasing awareness of behavioral and mental health issues, and educating communities on behavioral and mental health needs.
Those counties include: Cherry, Keya Paha, Brown, Rock, Boyd, Holt, Wheeler, Knox, Antelope, Boone, Nance, Cedar, Pierce, Madison, Platte, Dixon, Wayne, Stanton, Colfax, Dakota, Thurston, Cuming, Dodge and Burt.
The Northeast Nebraska Behavioral Health Network is a partnership of the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department, the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing – Northern Division, the Midtown Health Center, Region 4 Behavioral Health System, and the Northern Nebraska Area Health Education Center. The partnership is operating with funding from a Rural Health Network Development Grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
In the coming weeks a website will be developed and revealed. In the meantime, find the NeNEBHN on Facebook at the Northeast Nebraska Behavioral Network and Twitter, @NeNEBHN.