Psychiatry

Drs. Steven Wengel and Thomas Magnuson team with College of Public Health to promote wellness


Over the course of the 2021 winter and spring, Deborah Levy, PhD, co-director of the UNMC College of Public Health’s (CoPH) Center for Biosecurity, Bio-preparedness, & Emerging Infectious Diseases (CBBEID) invited Steven Wengel, MD, and Thomas Magnuson, MD, both Geriatric Psychiatrists from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Psychiatry Department, to collaborate with the CoPH to provide tips and solutions for combating negative effects stemming from social isolation, occupational burnout, and stress management. Dr. Wengel gave two presentations on occupational stress and burnout while Dr. Magnuson presented on social isolation.

“I very much enjoyed this opportunity to bring some self-care strategies to the very dedicated and hardworking staff at long-term care facilities and critical access hospitals,” Dr. Wengel said. “These providers are really on the front lines and doing amazing work every day, but because of their dedication to their patients, they may not always remember to take some time to care for themselves. We had a great discussion and I consider it a real privilege to be part of this. My hat is off to Dr. Levy and her staff for making this happen.”

The sessions were funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) through the University of New Mexico Health Science Center’s ECHO Institute. Currently, the CoPH is heavily involved in two Project ECHO initiatives designed to assist nursing homes and critical access hospitals with their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We felt it was important for the staff at nursing homes and critical access hospitals to participate in sessions on emotional wellbeing, burnout, and stress management,” Dr. Levy said. “Along with staff members and healthcare workers, administrators and HR representatives attended because they were interested in those solutions as well. Afterward, we fielded a lot of requests for copies of Dr. Wengel’s slides and his presentation. We received so much positive feedback.”

The UNMC College of Public Health has secured additional funding to continue working with nursing homes and is planning to bring Dr. Magnuson back for another presentation on social isolation. 

“Given the positive feedback, we think it would be wonderful to offer the presentation again,” Dr. Levy said. “We will revisit these topics in the future and continue our collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry.”

For more information on the program, click here.

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