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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Janell Walther - projects

Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Design Work Group

The purpose of the project was to develop an integrated strategic plan, including the perspectives of consumers and families as well as government officials and service providers, to guide the behavioral health system (i.e., mental health, substance abuse and gambling) in Nebraska.

Budgeting Outcomes and Priorities in Lincoln

The goal of this project, initially launched in the winter of 2008 and completed later in the spring, was to solicit public opinion about how the City of Lincoln should spend its tax dollars. A scientific phone survey of 600 randomly selected residents was undertaken by the Public Policy Center, working with the University of…

Children's Mental Health and Substance Abuse State Infrastructure Grant

This project built on major behavioral health system reform efforts to develop systems of care specifically for children (age birth to 5; youth; youth with co-occurring disorders; substance abuse; transition age youth). The project aimed to individualize service models for children and youth, establish culturally and linguistically appropriate practices, and form a coalition for an…

Citizen Input for Budgeting and Performance Management in Lincoln

The long-term goal of this project was to enable public managers and policymakers/elected officials to be intentional and evidence-based in selecting the components of their citizen involvement techniques used in budgeting, performance measurement, and management processes. This will maximize the value for both citizens and managers. As part of our research, we worked with the…

City of Lincoln Satisfaction Survey: “Taking Charge” (2010)

As part of Mayor Chris Beutler’s continuing Taking Charge initiative, a random sample of Lincolnites were surveyed by telephone in early December of 2009 and then an online survey was offered to residents who were not invited to take the phone survey. The results of the surveys were used to inform city budget decisions that…

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…

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…

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…

Gambler's Assistance Program Evaluation Project

The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Nebraska's Gamblers Assistance Program in order to inform policy-makers about possible changes and improvements to the program. The program had four specific goals: Conduct a formative evaluation of the Gamblers Assistance Program Establish an ongoing participatory process for evaluation relevant to quality improvement for policy…

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…

Lincoln Community Energy Conversation

Building off the success of the Taking Charge series of public engagement efforts, the Public Policy Center again worked with the City of Lincoln to gather public input, but his time focused on the City of Lincoln’s energy and sustainability programs. The Center developed an online survey to gain insight from Lincoln residents about barriers,…

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, the 2016 Behavioral Health Supplement, 2017, and 2019; all available at lincolnvitalsigns.org) authored by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center,…

Nebraska Strong: Recovery Project

  The Nebraska Strong Recovery Project is a mental health outreach program working with Nebraska communities and individuals. Outreach workers and hotlines provide community-based counseling and identify unmet needs during the COVID-19 pandemic in the state of Nebraska. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds the Crisis Counseling Program in conjunction with the Center for Mental…

Nebraska Suicide Prevention

The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center is partnering with the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Behavioral Health, Nebraska Department of Education, Regional Behavioral Health Authorities, and Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska to carry out activities as part of a youth suicide prevention grant from the Substance…

Nebraska System of Care Evaluation

The Nebraska System of Care (NeSOC) creates a comprehensive and sustainable system of care that is youth guided, family-driven, trauma-informed and culturally responsive to improve outcomes for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances and their families. Public Policy Center researchers will work with partners to collect service-level data on individuals and families to complete…

Prosper Lincoln

Prosper Lincoln is an initiative that follows up on the results of Lincoln Vital Signs project reports, which provide a unique and timely opportunity to build conversations and collaborations for addressing community issues in Lincoln. As part of this initiative, the Public Policy Center synthesized data gathered from citywide engagement events that culminated in an…

Public Engagement Pilot Project on Pandemic Influenza Evaluation

This project engaged the public in discussions regarding which subgroups in the population require the earliest vaccine protection against influenza in the event of a pandemic. The project tested a new model of public engagement and gathered useful information for decision makers by including a societal perspective on the prioritization of pandemic flu vaccine.

Statewide Depression Summit: Growing Success

NET and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center convened a statewide series of discussions focusing on creating pathways to the successful treatment of depression in communities across Nebraska. The objective of the summit was for Nebraskans to dialogue with each other, and with experts, about what communities can do to plan for and create…

Taking Charge 2011

The Public Policy Center worked with the City of Lincoln to convene a public input process about the City's budget. Members of the public were invited to take an online survey about the budget and city services, and discuss their views with other residents of Lincoln both online and in-person. Public input is particularly important…

Taking Charge 2012

For the fifth consecutive year the Center worked with the City to gather public input about the City of Lincoln’s budget and services. This included an online survey to gain insight from community members about past Taking Charge processes, an online and random-sample City Satisfaction Survey, as well as a budgeting survey for the current…

Taking Charge 2013

For the sixth consecutive year, the Public Policy Center collaborated with the City of Lincoln to gather public input on the City budget. In previous years, thousands of Lincoln residents have participated in online surveys and face-to-face conversations which have had a direct impact on the decision to cut or continue specific City programs. Residents…

Threat Assessment Research

This program of research is multi-disciplinary but grounded in behavioral science principles. The research team engages in research opportunities that will add to the general body of knowledge while enhancing the real-world practice of threat assessment. For more information, please visit the threat assessment web site.