Nebraska School Mental Health Conference Keynote Speakers – 2020


Dr. Isaiah B. Pickens, PhD
Assistant Director, Service Systems Program
The UCLA-Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress
Founder iOpening Enterprises

Dr. Isaiah Pickens is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in consulting, counseling, and educational services for individuals and organizations. Dr. Pickens is currently Assistant Director of the Service Systems Program at the UCLA-Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS), the coordinating site of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). In this role he is responsible for supporting diverse national, cross-disciplinary, and collaborative efforts to make child- and family- service systems more trauma informed. His research focuses on trauma-informed and culturally responsive programming in numerous service sectors and optimizing service utilization among underserved communities.

Dr. Pickens is also founder of iOpening Enterprises, a mental health and wellness education company that specializes in health messaging through innovative media and interactive and evidence-informed workshops. In this capacity, Dr. Pickens has developed the Bridge Trauma-Informed Culturally-Responsive (TICR) Program, a multi-day professional development for educators that provides a practical toolkit for managing youth traumatic stress responses in the school setting. Dr. Pickens is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader. In this capacity, he works collaboratively with cross-sector scholars and practitioners to promote a culture of health in America. Dr. Pickens has been awarded by the American Psychological Association Early Career Achievement Award and the Black Enterprise BE Modern Man award for his contributions to the field of psychology. Dr. Pickens aims to continue sharing psychological science with diverse audiences through his scholarly publications, writings for the general public, and practice in communities.


Conner Oberhauser

Conner Oberhauser is a 16-year old, Junior, from Twin River in Genoa, Nebraska. In February, 2018, he attempted suicide. Now, he is sharing his story of hope and healing with others to let them know they are not alone and to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.



Dr. Jennifer Ulie-Wells, PhD
Executive Director of Please Pass the Love

Jennifer finished from Iowa State University in Education with certifications in mental health and social justice. She has been in education for over 20 years as a special educator. In 2013, she founded Please Pass the Love Youth Mental Health Initiative which provides systemic training and support for thousands of educators, schools, and districts across Iowa while hosting the only school mental health conference in the state.

Each year Dr. Ulie-Wells trains thousands of educators, young people, families, and community providers on a variety of school mental health (SMH) topics. She works for Drake University as an adjunct professor. In 2019, she launched the Iowa School Mental Health Alliance, an active stakeholder group with hundreds of leaders. In 2018, she launched an online school mental health program in collaboration with Drake University. She actively engages in national school mental health capacities including the National School Mental Health State Summit with leaders of federal agencies such as SAMHSA, HHS, HRSA, DOE, DOJ, and the University of Maryland Center for School Mental Health. She is a member of SMH communities of practices and the national Family School Community Alliance with scholars from across the nation. Her research focuses on racial/cultural trauma, self-care, and creating sustainable school mental health systems.