Advisory Board

Beth Baxter: Region 3 Behavioral Health Services

Carol Renner: Kearney Public Schools

Dr.Ken Shaffer: UniNet

Kathleen Cranely Gallagher: University of Nebraska at Kearney

Michelle Hansen: CHI Health Good Samaritan 

Nikki Gausman: SAFE Center

Shawn Eatherton: Buffalo County Attorney

Wendy Schardt: University of Nebraska at Kearney 

About Us


What are we trying to do?

Our mission is for children, youth and families have access to a unified behavioral health system to enhance overall wellness. Our vision is our community will support our children, youth and families’ social, emotional, and mental wellness.

What are our goals?

  • To coordinate behavioral health systems to better serve youth and families in Buffalo County.
  • HealthyMINDS collaborative has an advisory board who creates objectives and oversees the work of the coalitions.
  • The HealthyMINDS collaborative oversees the coalitions of Early Childhood Social Emotional Development, School Mental Health, Juvenal Justice, Violence Prevention and Suicide Prevention.

How long have we been doing this?

Summer of 2016, grant funders and other community stakeholders invited Buffalo County Community Partners Board to develop new coalitions for early childhood behavioral health, suicide prevention and school mental health. Community Partner’s Board asked key community stakeholders to join together as a behavioral health advisory board to review and report recommendations back to the board to meet these emerging community needs. The behavioral health Advisory Board members include: Beth Baxter, Region 3 Behavioral Health Services; Carol Renner, Kearney Public School; Dr. Ken Shaffer, UniNet; Kathleen Cranley Gallagher, UNK; Michelle Hansen, CHI Health; Nikki Gausman, SAFE Center; Shawn Eatherton, Buffalo County Attorney; and Wendy Schardt, UNK.  After meeting, the Advisory Board recommended Community Partners develop a new collaborative to tackle the behavioral health issues. Funding for the HealthyMINDS group has been awarded by CHI Mission and Ministry Grant Funds for Violence Prevention and Behavioral Health as well as funding from the Nebraska Children and Family Foundation to start a Rooted in Relationships coalition. Community Partner substance abuse prevention coordinator, Tana Miller was promoted to the Behavioral Health Collaborative Coordinator, supporting the work of the HealthyMINDS Collaborative. Tana will be working with grant funders and community members to enhance behavioral health systems in the community. Community Partners has also contracted with Jesica Vickers, licensed mental health practitioner, to facilitate the work of HealthyMINDS.  Jesica will assist in the development of community processes to launch the new HealthyMINDS Collaborative.  Vickers is the director, owner, and mental health practitioner at Center for Psychological Services.    

Our Collaboratives

Second Step

The Second Step social emotional curriculum helps students strengthen their skills in the areas of emotion management, friendship, empathy, conflict resolution, bullying prevention, and substance abuse prevention. These numbers show how the Second Step program impacted children in the 2015-2016 school year. By strengthening these life skills, the HealthyMINDS collaborative hopes to help children grow up in a peaceful, safe environment where they can flourish personally, work constructively with others, and reach their greatest potential.

Rooted In Relationships

This initiative partners with communities to implement evidence-based practices that enhance the social-emotional development of children, birth through age 8. Their scope of work includes:

  1. Community Work: Approximately 60 stakeholders connected with additional local partners to develop a long-range plan to support the social-emotional development of young children.
  2. Pyramid Model Implementation: Community Partners has recently hired 4 coaches to train 14 providers from both in-home and center-based early care and education settings in promoting the social, emotional, and behavioral competence of young children.
  3. Selection of a Systems Priority: After a year of planning, the Buffalo County Rooted in Relationships team is working to create public awareness for social emotional development for ages 0-8 in all Buffalo County Communities

Suicide Prevention

Our mission is promoting mental wellness in Buffalo County by offering hope and healing, reducing mental health stigma, and connection education and resources for mental health and suicide prevention. The goal of the Suicide Prevention coalition is to address unhealthy responses to life stressors. Reduce suicide in Buffalo County to 0; Reduce the number of self-reported suicide attempts to below the state average for ages 18 and under; See a consistent annual decrease in the number of hospitalizations resulting from suicide attempts for ages 19 and over.

Violence Prevention

Our mission is to prevent violence in Buffalo County through community involvement. Our Vision is to focus on building hope for our future, emphasizing no more violence.


  1. Decrease percent of 9-12th graders reporting being bullied and electronically bullied.
  2. Reduce suicide attempts in Buffalo County.
  3. Reduce percent of 9-12th grade females reporting forces sexual activity.
  4. Decrease number of Buffalo County Sexual Assaults (middle/high) and over 18 years.
  5. Reduce number/percent of UNK Title 9 Reports of Assaults.
  6. Decrease percent of 9-12th grade youth reporting physical fights (jr/high school) and young adults.

About Us

The Violence Prevention group is working to create healthy relationships for all adolescents and young adults. They are currently working with UNK Women’s Center and SAFE Center to expand their current violence prevention programs, Women’s Center Men Engagement program and “Be More” Awareness Campaign, to shift cultural norms and to foster an attitude of respect for girls and women.

Juvenile Justice

The HealthyMINDS collaborative is working to support the work of the Juvenile Justice Comprehensive Community Plan and the Youth Services Team to prevent youth entering the system starting and how to give youth every opportunity to leave the juvenile justice system. The four priority areas of the Juvenile Justice Comprehensive Community Plan are:

  1. Increase youth and family engagement in school
  2. Effectively utilize and expand a continuum of alternatives and supports for youth in crisis
  3. identify appropriate behavioral health and substance abuse prevention programs and services for youth in Buffalo County
  4. Improve system operation and coordination

School Mental Health

Two School Behavioral Health Coaches were piloted in two Buffalo County elementary schools in 2017-2018 school year to provide teachers the tools they need to support children with problem behaviors and create a healthier learning environment. They are working with the school team to reinforce positive behaviors and lower disruptive behaviors to give students more success in school and at home. They are currently looking at evidence-base models d looking to spend more.


Contact us

For more information, or for any questions, please fill out the form below. 

1755 Prairie View Place, Kearney NE 68845
Mailing Address: Po Box 1466 Kearney NE 68848
Office: 308-865-2284

©2008-2024 Buffalo County Community Partners, All Rights Reserved. Powered by Heartland Hosting, LLC | BCCUse
Translate »