Great Plains Disaster Behavioral Health Conference

The Great Plains Disaster Behavioral Health Conference is for psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health care providers, public health officials, nurses, clergy, emergency managers, and first responders to learn and recognize how to prepare and respond to the psychological effects of disaster and mass casualties.

2016 Conference

July 29, 2016

Hilton Omaha

1001 Cass Street

Omaha, Nebraska 68102



Become familiar with the psychological impact of mass violence on individuals and communities.


Distinguish between Violence Risk Assessment and Threat Assessment.


Discuss the ethical issues regarding reporting of potentially violent activity.

Conference Speaker

Mark Follman

National Affairs Editor at Mother Jones

The primary articles and videos used and referenced in Mr. Follman’s article are presented here:

Cost of gun violence – Mark Follman, Mother Jones

Inside the Race to Stop the Next Mass Shooter-Mark Follman, Mother Jones

You can access the articles and videos online, as well as find links to further information about mass violence here:

The True Cost of Gun Violence in America – Mark Follman, Mother Jones

Inside the Race to Stop the Next Mass Shooter-Mark Follman, Mother Jones

Based in San Francisco, he helps direct the publication’s news and politics coverage and leads investigative reporting projects on gun violence, policing, and other national issues. His reporting and commentary have also appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and on Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air. Since 2012, his investigations into mass shootings, child gun deaths, and the economic impact of gun violence have been honored with multiple journalism awards. He holds a B.A. from Duke University and a M.F.A in Writing from the University of San Francisco.


What does gun violence in American really cost? And how is our society responding to what leading experts regard as a public health crisis? Based on four years of Mr. Follman’s research and reporting, this presentation focused on the profound impact that gun violence has on our nation’s communities – economically, psychologically, and beyond. Mr. Follman presented what the data shows, and what we still don’t know due to a lack of research. Several short videos from Mr. Follman’s investigative projects illuminated the issues from the perspective of survivors of urban gun crime and mass shootings. The presentation also touched on potential policy solutions, primarily threat assessment and management, as it related to the impact and costs of gun violence.

Randy K. Otto, Ph.D.

Associate Professor at the University of South Florida (USF)

He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Nebraska’s Law/Psychology program, during which time he also worked at the Lancaster County Community Mental Health Center. Dr. Otto’s work at USF has focused on forensic psychological assessment. In 2007, he joined colleagues Gary Melton, John Petrila, Chris Slobogin, and Norm Poythress as a contributor to the third edition of Psychological Evaluations for the Courts: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and Lawyers. In 2010, he edited a book on violence risk assessment with Kevin Douglas. In 2012, he edited the Handbook of Forensic Psychology with Irv Weiner. And, in 2014, he co-authored a book on expert testimony and report writing. Dr. Otto is on the editorial boards of a number of professional journals. He has served as President of the American Psychology-Law Society and the American Board of Forensic Psychology, and he most recently completed a two year term as President of the American Board of Professional Psychology. Dr. Otto chaired the committee that revised the APA Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology, and he also served on the American Bar Association Task Force that revised that organization’s Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards. When not working or with his family, Dr. Otto is likely to be found on a motorcycle or at a poker table.


The focus of this presentation was the practical assessment and management of violence risk in various mental health settings and contexts. Violence risk assessment approaches, key violence risk factors, and risk management strategies were discussed.

Mario Scalora, Ph.D.

Instructor and Researcher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Scalora has been an instructor and researcher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since 1997, during which time he has worked closely with the university’s clinical training and law-psychology programs. His research has focused on various aspects of targeted violence, including threat assessment and management, counterterrorism, school violence, and workplace violence. He also studies psychological factors relevant to national security-related deterrence and intelligence analysis. His research portfolio has leveraged a range of federal and state funding sources to facilitate research, training, and program development activities in areas of threat assessment and prevention. He also is a consultant to law enforcement agencies and universities regarding threat assessment and safety issues. Dr. Scalora was recently named Director of the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.


This presentation explained the basic principles of threat assessment for crisis-relevant situations.

Mark Lukin, Ph.D.

Coordinator of Department’s Discharge Rview Team at Department of Correctional Services

Originally from Dallas, Mark Lukin obtained his Master’s from UNL and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri–Columbia. He enjoyed private practice in Columbia and Kansas City, and has worked at the Child Guidance Center, the Lincoln Regional Center, and the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services as a staff psychologist on the inpatient Mental Health Unit before taking on coordination of the Department’s Discharge Review Team (DRT). The DRT assesses high-risk inmates prior to discharge to the community to identify and manage risk factors and intervene by referring for Mental Health Board Commitment or notification of law enforcement where appropriate. In his spare time, Dr. Lukin enjoys teaching, consulting, travel, and photography.


The focus of this presentation was to gain an increased understanding of how and when to report concerns about potential violence. Organizational dynamics when working cooperatively to assess and manage risk, and the interaction of professional ethical code and organizational expectations were also discussed.

Kimberly Nelson, LAC, MPA

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Regional Administrator

As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Regional Administrator, Kimberly Nelson oversees Region 7, which includes Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska. Ms. Nelson is a licensed addictions counselor with a master’s degree in public administration, and has worked in the behavioral health care field since 1992. After focusing on clinical work early in her career, Ms. Nelson moved into executive leadership roles. She was the program director for programs with criminal justice clients in community-based residential and outpatient treatment settings, as well as with prison-based therapeutic communities in Kansas. She later served as Medicaid Coordinator for the Kansas Addiction and Prevention Services Division, and then as the Director of Managed Care for the Kansas Behavioral Health and Disabilities division. After her service with the state of Kansas, she became vice president of marketing and new business development for a large integrated health services provider in Kansas, prior to joining SAMHSA.


This video presentation covered the intersection of behavioral health and violence, and the role of SAMHSA in disaster and mass violence events.

Conference Materials

Conference Sponsors

Project Partners

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Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
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Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
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Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

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This website is part of a coordinated effort on behalf of the U.S. Federal Government and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health, Division of Behavioral Health, and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center. Funding was made possible [in part] by U3REP190555 from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). The views expressed in written materials or publications do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or the State of Nebraska.