Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
May 26, 2016

Contact Julie Naughton, Communications and Legislative Services, (office) 402-471-1695 or (cell) 402-405-7202, or

Nebraska Behavioral Health Conference to Take Place May 31 Through June 2 in Lincoln

LINCOLN – Through the 2016 Annual Nebraska Behavioral Health Conference, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division hopes to offer attendees tools for success, resiliency and recovery.

The conference will be held May 31 through June 2 at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel. It is open to the public as well as consumers, their families and behavioral health professionals; the latter may earn 16 continuing education credits for $55.

“This annual statewide behavioral health conference will provide a multi-disciplinary approach to education and engagement,” said Courtney Phillips, chief executive officer of the Department of Health and Human Services. “It is imperative that we educate professionals and consumers alike about the evolving landscape of behavioral health. The numbers show that this is an extremely important and timely goal. Approximately 62,000 adults in Nebraska have a serious mental illness, and about 134,000 Nebraskans have a substance use disorder.”  The event will kick off with a welcome from Phillips, who will be joined by Cynthia Harris, administrator for the DHHS Office of Consumer Affairs, and other guests.

 “This learning experience will examine the evolving landscape by turning to those with first-hand experience and those redefining the behavioral healthcare field,” added Sheri Dawson, director of the DHHS Division of Behavioral Health.  “Attendees will learn from the presenters’ experience and knowledge to integrate new ideas and to leverage change.”
Speakers and their topics include:
  • Cardwell C. Nuckols with Having Had a Spiritual Awakening: Working the Steps
  • Sharon Robino-West, program manager for Lutheran Family Services’ At Ease Program, which provides counseling and other services for veterans, active military and their loved ones
  • Art Romero presenting Helping Till It Hurts: How Compassion Satisfaction Can Lead to Compassion Fatigue, Vicarious Trauma and Burn-Out, as well as Being Served! A Vietnam Veteran’s Perspective on Being a Therapist and Receiving Services
  • Ignacio Alejandro Barajas-Munoz, a trainer with Mid-America ATTC, with BH: Meds: What’s My Role? And Cultural Considerations in Treating Hispanic Populations
  • Diane Sevening with The Caution Flag is Out: Navigating the Gray Area of Ethics and Brains Over Brawn: What’s Really Going On With Drug Use?
  • Marlene Sorenson with Peer Support Ethics for Peers and Supervisors
  • Ken Timmerman with Living Out Loud
The conference is funded in part by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and presented by NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, and Orion Healthcare Technology. For more information and to register, visit

Most panelists are available for media interviews. For more information, please contact Julie Naughton at the contact numbers above.