On Veterans Day, the Department of Psychiatry is proud to highlight many current and former US military members who are making a difference.
“The UNMC Department of Psychiatry thanks its veterans, active-duty military and their families on Veterans Day,” said Department of Psychiatry Chair Dr. Howard Liu. “Thank you for your courage and sacrifice.”
When you speak to the veterans in the department, they talk about how their time in the armed services has helped them as medical assistants, nurses, and doctors. Medical Receptionist Caroline Davenport said her time in the U.S. Army developed her tenacious spirit.
“I’m grateful and blessed for my time and experience in the U.S. Army. Having the ability to have been able to serve in a multitude of different environments to the largest military base in the United States; Ft. Bragg, N.C. During my time in the Army, I had the pleasure of working with many people who came from all different backgrounds and places, but at the end of the day, we were all brothers and sisters looking out for one another. The 82nd Airborne is a fast-paced, strong, and professional team that allowed me to feel confident, prepared, and ready to tackle anything that may have come my way!”
Randy Vest, RN, served in the U.S. Navy from 1976-80. Vest said the teamwork, discipline, and service he learned forty years ago still play a role in his strong work ethic.
“I spent 59 straight days in the Indian Ocean during the Iranian hostage crisis. It was my honor and privilege to serve this great country,” Vest said.
Dr. Stephen Salzbrenner also served in the U.S. Navy. Much like Vest, Dr. Salzbrenner said the U.S. Navy helped develop a sense of teamwork, mission-orientation, and loyalty.
“I’m grateful for my time in the Navy. Having served in a diverse set of environments, including combat, brig psychiatry, inpatient, outpatient and consult liaison, and serving in leadership roles, helped me to feel confident and prepared to deal with any situation,” said Dr. Salzbrenner.
Inclusion Program Associate Jhoanna Olmos said her time in the Nebraska National Guard taught her many practical skills that have helped with her new position in the Office of Inclusion.
“What I have valued the most during my time in the National Guard are the relationships that I’ve developed,” she said. “It is an absolute blessing to get to make friends with people who think, learn, and experience the world differently than myself. It has allowed me the opportunity to broaden my understanding of humanity and enriched my understanding of friendship.”
For decades, residents in the UNMC/Creighton program have trained at the Omaha Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. In 2019, UNMC started its own residency program, and the first-year residents will begin training at the Omaha VA in January. Resident Matthew Kelly, MD, served in the U.S. Navy.
“We are so grateful for the support of Dr. Renee Woehrer, Associate Chief of Staff for Education, Dr. David Williams, Chief of Staff, and Dr. Dario Pulido, Chief of the Mental Health Service Line, for their support for UNMC psychiatry residents to train at the VA,” said Dr. Daniel Gih, Adult Psychiatry Residency program director at UNMC. The Omaha VA recently announced a commitment to increase the number of UNMC psychiatry residents rotating at the VA.
Dr. Stacey Herbster, who joined the department in 2020 as associate medical director of the Adult Psychiatric Emergency Services, served in the Army National Guard and Army Reserves from 1995-2006.
Along with staff members in the armed services, the department also has staff members with spouses in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. Master Sergeant William Lundy is the husband of Laura Schutte-Lundy, LIMHP, LADC, in child and adolescent psychiatry. Master Sergeant Lundy has served in the Air Force for 14 years.
Lieutenant Commander Anthony Finigan is the husband of Amber Finigan, PA. He has served since October of 2018 and is currently serving on the USS Alaska Blue.
The Department of Psychiatry is grateful and proud of our military colleagues and families on Veterans Day!