DHHS Highlights Newsletter_Volume 1 Issue 3

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | Vol. 1, No. 3

DHHS’ Highlights is published by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for those interested in the latest information on health and human services issues. Please subscribe to or share the newsletter by clicking on the "Share" button.

Grand Island Veterans' Home Members Honored with Ageless Aviation Dreams Flights


Grand Island Veterans’ Home members took to the skies with the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation on May 18.

WWII and Korea veterans from GIVH were given Dream Flights in a 1940 Boeing Stearman biplane, similar to planes the military trained aviators with in the 1930s and 40s.

Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation gives veterans living in long-term care communities the opportunity to experience the thrill of flying again.

The organization serves veterans across the country. Last year Ageless Aviation gave rides to more than 375 veterans.

Grand Island Veterans’ Home member and U.S. Navy veteran, Dean Jones, rides in a 1940 Boeing Stearman biplane May 18 in Grand Island. Jones flew planes during WWII.

YRTC-G and YRTC-K Youth Learn Life Skills by Working with Horses


Youth from the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers in Geneva and Kearney are learning how to build healthy relationships by working with horses.

Since April, six youths from YRTC-G have been working with yearlings at the J Bar D Ranch in Geneva (right). In the program, which runs until June, the youths train horses to complete obstacles such as jumping over tractor tires and barrels. At the end of the program, the youths demonstrate what they’ve learned for family members, volunteers and friends.

In June and July, YRTC-K youth will volunteer for the Kearney Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program.The Kearney service organization helps individuals with special needs interact with horses.

Both equine programs teach youth about respect, trust and effective communication.

YRTC-G and YRTC-K are part of DHHS under the Division of Children and Family Services.

Youths from the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Geneva work with horses at the J Bar D Ranch in Geneva.

DHHS' Office of Vital Records Reports the Top Baby Names in Nebraska for 2013


Emma and Mason were the top baby names in Nebraska for 2013 according to rankings recently released by the DHHS’ Office of Vital Records/Health Statistics.

Olivia, Sophia, Harper, Avery, Charlotte, Isabella, Ava, Elizabeth and Emily round out the top ten girls’ names. (Avery and Charlotte are tied as the fifth most popular name.)
For boys, the rest of the top ten are: Liam, William, Noah, Carter, Isaac, Jackson, Henry, Elijah and Jacob.

Nationally, the Social Security Administration lists the top baby girls' name for 2013 as Sophia and the top boys' name as Noah.

Behavioral Health’s New Trauma Website Features Stories of Resiliency

Behavioral Health’s Office of Consumer Affairs’ new “Finding the Silver Lining: Trauma and Peer Support” website features video testimonials from people who have experienced trauma. The videos focus on resiliency.

“What people in the videos have in common is resiliency—the ability to adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful conditions,” said Carol Coussons de Reyes, administrator of the DHHS Office of Consumer Affairs.

The website also connects people to Nebraska’s Network of Care, peer support opportunities and local and national behavioral health resources.

DHHS Assists with Recovery Efforts Following May 11 Tornados


The severe storms that struck Nebraska May 11 spawned at least a dozen confirmed tornados and caused substantial damage in Beaver Crossing, Cordova and Sutton.

In the aftermath, state agencies, including DHHS, coordinated with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to assist with relief and recovery efforts.

Following emergencies, DHHS employees ensure there is safe drinking water; check on facilities the agency licenses; such as nursing homes; and connect people to behavioral health resources. DHHS staff also give interviews to the media and write news releases to help keep people informed.

DHHS and other state agencies assisted Beaver Crossing residents with cleanup and recovery efforts.

State’s Behavioral Health Conference Held May 19-21

Behavioral Health service providers, stakeholders, consumers and others interested in behavioral health gathered in Lincoln May 19 to 21 for the fourth annual “Success, Hopes, and Dreams” Conference.

Keynote speakers addressed peer support, PTSD, the criminal justice system, trauma and psychotropic medications. At the conference, individuals were also recognized for their leadership and motivation in the field of behavioral health.

Over 400 people attended the conference which DHHS co-sponsored  with the Mental Health Association of Nebraska.

YRTC-K Youth to Compete on Viking Challenge Confidence Course


Youth at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center at Kearney (YRTC-K) will compete on an 18-station Viking Challenge Confidence Course on May 30.

The military-style obstacle course features climbing walls, hurdles, balance beams, and a trust fall.

The course, which was completed last year by YRTC-K staff and youth, helps the youth develop coordination, communication, decision-making, teamwork and leadership skills.

The youth will compete on the course in their living units and be awarded for the fastest times and best teamwork.

YRTC-K currently serves 95 youths and is part of DHHS under the Division of Children and Family Services.

Nebraska Teen Driver Report Offers Tips to Keep Teens Safe


According to DHHS’ Office of Vital Records, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Nebraskan teens.

From 2007 to 2011 more than 120 Nebraskan teens (ages 14-19) were killed in motor vehicle crashes.

DHHS' 2013 Nebraska Teen Driver Report.
provides information on effective, evidence-based strategies adults can use to keep teenage drivers safe during their most dangerous driving years.

Lean more about strategies such as Graduated Driver Licensing provisions, parental involvement and peer-to-peer education in the Teen Driver Report.

Public Health Holds Water Tower Photo Contest


The Division of Public Health’s Drinking Water Program held a photo contest for the “State’s Best Looking Water Storage Facility” during the Nebraska Rural Water Conference.

Twenty-four public water systems from across the state submitted photographs. The winning photograph (right) came from the City of Ogallala. The city’s UFO-inspired water tower received the most votes from conference attendees.

The Ogallala facility will be featured on the cover of the 2015 Nebraska Coalition Water Training Calendar. The 12 runners-up will have their facilities’ photos used as a picture of the month in the calendar.

The 12 runners-up were: Milligan, Otoe County #1, Scottsbluff, Hallam, Blair, Lincoln, Chadron, Bertrand, Trenton, Nebraska City, St. Paul and Exeter.