Summit aims to strengthen ND’s behavioral health workforce

Summit aims to strengthen ND’s behavioral health workforce

BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — Organizations and agencies will gather in Bismarck early next week to discuss solutions to the growing behavioral health workforce shortage.

According to the North Dakota Health and Human Services agency, the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, public and private providers and other stakeholders are hosting a Behavioral Health Workforce Summit and Strategic Planning event on Monday, 26 Sept. from 1-5 p.m. CT and Tuesday, Sept. 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT at the Ramada by Wyndham in Bismarck.

The public is invited to attend.


“North Dakota, like most other states in the country, faces behavioral health worker challenges,” said Pamela Sagness, Executive Director of Behavioral Health. “Our goal at this summit is to have solution-focused discussions and develop recommendations on how the state can strengthen its behavioral health workforce.”

Recently, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education completed a discovery report highlighting several behavioral health worker initiatives in North Dakota.

At the summit, WICHE officials will present their findings, provide training on staff best practices and facilitate discussion on developing a strategic plan for employee health in North Dakota.

“The summit participants come from across the state, representing private practice and public service, and have first-hand experience working with people with behavioral health needs,” said Rebecca Quinn, program director of the Center for Rural Health. “They will come from academic institutions, hospitals, clinics, public health, corrections, rehabilitation and other areas aimed at improving the health of North Dakotans.”

To attend the summit, individuals can pre-register online or register at the door.

Participation is free of charge. So far, 60 people have signed up for the event.

Individuals who require a disability to participate can contact Julie Huwe at

For more information on the summit, visit the Center for Rural Health website.


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