Public Health

The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center is celebrating 25 years in policy and research. We have collaborated with many partners to bring about real-world solutions in our communities. As a university-wide, multidisciplinary research and outreach unit, we are committed to addressing complex issues by linking academic research, stakeholder perspectives, and practical experience through innovative and creative solutions.

A primary focus is on the public's health and wellness across Nebraska through improving emergency response, healthcare access, increased support for pregnant or parenting families, and more.

Here’s a highlight of some of the work that has resulted from these partnerships:

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Evaluation

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services - Emergency Health Systems, under a project funded by the Helmsley Charitable Trust, has distributed 2,405 AED units to 195 law enforcement departments across Nebraska. These AED units ensure officers, who may be the first on scene for an emergency call, can provide a life-saving intervention in the event of a heart attack. The Public Policy Center is evaluating this effort, gathering information from law enforcement departments about their experiences, and comparing outcomes of heart-related emergency medical calls for which law enforcement was on scene, before and after the AED units were distributed.

Nebraska Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Expansion

The Public Policy Center (PPC) assisted the Nebraska Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting (N-MIECHV) program with local community planning to establish new programs across Nebraska in 2022 and 2023. Thanks to that effort, five new programs are starting up this year, most with the potential to provide multi-county coverage. This expansion was, in part, informed by a capacity assessment conducted by the PPC in 2020, which gathered input from statewide primary home visiting organizations serving children prenatal/birth to age five. Combined with a needs assessment conducted by N-MIECHV, the capacity assessment determined that there were no home visiting programs serving 42% of counties identified as having a high need for home visiting services. A majority of existing programs also noted they believed additional families could be served in their coverage areas if existing or new programs were able to expand.

Ryan White and HIV Prevention Collaborations

In collaboration with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Policy Center (PPC) helped create Nebraska's five-year Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Plan, which was well-received by the federal funder of the program. Center researchers are assisting with quality management and improvement processes to help enhance services to Nebraskans living with HIV or AIDS. As part of the project, the PPC is providing webinars and technical assistance on quality improvement tools, hosting community of practice sessions and other collaborative meetings, and revised the state Ryan White Part B Program’s Clinical Quality Management Plan.