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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Current Projects

Behavioral Health Workforce Development in Nebraska Department of Correctional Services and Nebraska Health and Human Services (LB 242)

The Nebraska Legislature has appropriated funding over two years to the Nebraska Board of Regents for the recruitment of graduate students training as behavioral health professionals. For this project, the Public Policy Center partnered with the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), the Department of Correctional Services, and the Department of Health and Human […]

Researcher: Mario Scalora,

Calibration in Court: Jurors’ Use of Scientific Information

As information becomes increasingly accessible, people are processing more, and more complex, information than ever before. Often this information contains, or is based on, scientific research. The validity and reliability of various kinds of scientific information varies widely, and laypeople are poorly equipped to differentiate between weak and strong scientific information when making decisions—that is, […]

Researcher: N/A,

Civic Health Partnership

The Public Policy Center, as a member of the Nebraska Civic Health Partnership spearheaded by Nebraskans for Civic Reform, have put together the first-ever Civic Health Index for the state of Nebraska. This Index is designed to be an interactive tool with targeted action items for all Nebraska communities to increase civic health and retain […]

Researcher: Mitchel N. Herian, Alan Tomkins,

Clinician Training & Consultation

PPC researchers can provide a schedule of training and consultation that enhance the behavioral health and human services fields and respond to requests for education of clinical supervisors that support evidence based practice. Training and consultation are focused on these main areas: Clinical Supervision Foundations (CSF) – This course is a two day research based curriculum […]

Researcher: N/A,

CLOUD-MAP: Collaboration Leading Operational UAS Development for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

Unmanned aerial systems (UASs) can revolutionize the study of the atmosphere, but their routine application for studying and surveilling the atmosphere requires careful consideration of the public response to such proposed use in the United States (US) national airspace system. The Public Policy Center will help CLOUD-MAP project researchers understand likely public reactions to large-scale […]

Researcher: Janell Walther,

Collaborative County Approaches to Reducing the Prevalence of Individuals with Mental Disorders in Jail

The Public Policy Center is partnering with Region 1 Behavioral Health Authority in a collaborative approach to reducing the prevalence of individuals with mental health disorders in jail. This National Institute of Justice grant funded program focuses on Scottsbluff County in the Panhandle of Nebraska. The Public Policy Center is assisting with facilitation and evaluation […]

Researcher: Quinn Lewandowski, Mark DeKraai,

Comprehensive School Safety Initiative

The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center collaborated with the Nebraska Department of Education to conduct a research study that examines how safety perceptions and organization of school safety and security are associated with level and type of law enforcement engagement in rural schools. While rural schools engage with law enforcement, they utilize a variety […]

Researcher: Mario Scalora, Denise Bulling,

Countering Violent Extremism

The Public Policy Center is partnering with Nebraska Emergency Management and Two Rivers Public Health Department in a project funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security focused on countering violent extremism (CVE). The project focuses on identification of barriers to reporting potential signs of radicalization and preferred community strategies for addressing these barriers, especially […]

Researcher: N/A,

Developing a Social-Cognitive, Multilevel, Empirically-Based Model of Public Engagement for the Shaping of Science and Innovation Policy

Public engagements involving residents, scientists, and policymakers are increasingly being used to shape policy in the US. Despite the attention paid to such engagements, there is a lack of knowledge and theory concerning which forms, features, and contexts of public engagements are meaningful to participants and produce insightful information that is useful to scientists and […]

Researcher: Alan Tomkins,

Development of a Driver License Vendor Request for Proposals for the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles

The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for administering Nebraska’s identification and licensing for driver permits, operator licenses, commercial driver license, and state identification, for over 500,000 persons each year. The contract for a major component of the system was expiring, so the DMV asked the Public Policy Center to assist them in […]

Researcher: Nancy Shank,

Development of a Suite of Demonstration Videos for Introductory Astronomy

In this NSF funded project (DUE-1245679), PPC researchers designed a study consisting of a series of tests to apply to videos developed by UNL’s Department of Physics and Astronomy that teach basic concepts in astronomy and physics. These videos are intended for use in introductory undergraduate courses. Approximately 150 students participated in this study, which […]

Researcher: N/A,

Disaster Behavioral Health Project

The goal of the Disaster Behavioral Health Project is to develop human infrastructure in Nebraska to effectively mitigate or respond to the psycho-social consequences of terrorism and disaster. The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center is working with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to implement an All-Hazards Disaster Behavioral Health Response and Recovery […]

Researcher: Stacey J. Hoffman, Kate Speck,

Drought Planning Using Community Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

This project utilizes climate data from the Platte River basin to develop and implement a decision-support model for drought planning using the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) process. THIRA is a Federal Emergency Management Agency-mandated risk assessment process to identify threats and develop capability targets to inform planning and preparedness. The Platte […]

Researcher: Tarik Abdel Monem, Lisa Pytlik Zillig,

Dynamics and trade-offs among social, economic, and ecological components of resilience in working agricultural landscapes Internal NU FEWS seed grant

A grand challenge for humanity is to supply increasing food and energy demands imposed by a growing human population while preserving food, energy, and water systems’ critical services.  This project supported development of a multi-disciplinary team to nurture projects assessing the interactions and adaptations of working agricultural landscapes on human decision-making and of human decision-making […]

Researcher: Nancy Shank,

Early Learning Contexts in Rural and Urban Nebraska

This project investigates cumulative influences on early learning and achievement for young children at economic disadvantage across rural and urban settings in Nebraska through three complementary and prospective studies. This research will provide reliable information for policymakers and practitioners to understand variations in practices that augment transitions and early learning; determine malleable factors that improve […]

Researcher: Janell Walther,

Ending Chronic Homelessness: Evaluation

The Public Policy Center will serve as the program evaluator for a three-year project aiming to end chronic homelessness in Lincoln, NE. Through a collaboration of Region V Behavioral Health Systems, CenterPointe, and the Mental Health Association, the project will provide housing, behavioral health treatment, and peer and employment supports to persons experiencing chronic homelessness […]

Researcher: Stacey J. Hoffman,

Evaluation of Integrated Mental/Physical Health 360 Program

Individuals with serious mental illness or substance use issues generally have more serious physical health problems than the general population; yet this population has difficulty accessing appropriate medical care through the traditional health care system. Lutheran Family Services and People’s Health Center have developed the Health 360 program, a new integrated approach which provides behavioral […]

Researcher: Tarik Abdel Monem, Janell Walther,

Homeland Security Planning Project

The goal of Nebraska’s homeland security planning project is to engage local jurisdictions in regional planning that strengthens and integrates local, regional and state emergency management plans and processes. Planning capabilities will be sustained via establishment of a statewide planning community. The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center provides technical assistance to enhance the capacity […]

Researcher: Mark DeKraai, Kate Speck, Janell Walther,

Lincoln Reads Aloud

Lincoln Reads Aloud situates libraries and museums as leaders to ensure all children are kindergarten ready by promoting reading aloud to children aged 0 – 8. Through this project, Lincoln’s libraries and museums participate in the Prosper Lincoln Early Childhood agenda. By promoting reading aloud and providing trusted “spaces” (both inside and beyond their walls) […]

Researcher: Stacey J. Hoffman,

Lincoln Vital Signs

In 2014, leaders of Lincoln’s largest public and private charitable organizations commissioned the Lincoln Vital Signs report to help inform decisions, spark connections, and spur collaboration. Since then, Lincoln Vital Signs reports (2014, 2015, and the 2016 Behavioral Health Supplement; all available at lincolnvitalsigns.org) authored by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, have been […]

Researcher: Stacey J. Hoffman, Teri Perkins, Taylor Smith,