City Club of Eugene: The Ballmer Institute for Child Behavioral Health

City Club of Eugene: The Ballmer Institute for Child Behavioral Health

Program date: December 9, 2022

Air date: December 12, 2022

From the City Club of Eugene:

Ask any teacher how children’s mental health and behavior have been over the past few years and step back and wait for horror stories. The consensus is that things are getting bad and getting worse. Can we do something to reverse the trend? The founders of the Ballmer Institute think so.

In 2022, the University of Oregon established the Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, promoting a bold new approach to improving the behavioral health and well-being of Oregon’s children. The Ballmer Institute creates a workforce solution to the challenge of meeting the behavioral health needs of children and youth. The approach is holistic, creating a new profession – the Child Behavioral Health Specialist. This approach invests decades of faculty and staff expertise in teacher preparation, community outreach and service, and research and development. Graduates will enter the education world ready to go, with in-depth and broad training in promoting good behavioral health and effective prevention strategies.

The Portland-based institute is made possible by a principal gift of more than $425 million from Connie and Steve Ballmer, co-founders of Ballmer Group Philanthropy.


Ruth Ellingsen, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and clinical assistant professor at the University of Oregon, where she is director of the OU Psychology Clinic and teaches graduate and undergraduate psychology courses. In her role as Clinic Director, Dr. Ellingsen trains and supervises clinical psychology doctoral students in evidence-based psychotherapy and psychological assessment. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Ballmer Institute, as well as various committees involved in the launch of the Ballmer Institute. She got her doctorate. in Clinical Psychology at UCLA, where her research focused on factors that influence positive parenting of developmentally at-risk children. She completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral residency at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

Jennifer Morhead, our first questioner, is a licensed professional counselor and a certified drug and alcohol counselor II with over 25 years of experience in these areas. She works for Cascade Health, with children, adolescents, adults and the elderly individually and/or as a family. Her areas of expertise include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, intellectual/developmental disabilities, trauma, bereavement and traumatic brain injury. She earned a BS in Behavioral Science and Health from the University of Utah, and a Masters in Counseling and Educational Psychology, with a focus in Marriage and Family Therapy, from the University of Nevada, Reno.

About the City Club of Eugene:

The mission of the City Club of Eugene is to build community vision through open inquiry. The Club explores a wide range of important local, state and national issues and helps formulate new approaches and solutions to problems. Membership is open to all, and Club members directly influence public policy by discussing issues of interest with elected officials and other policy makers. The City Club’s mailing address is PO Box 12084, Eugene, OR 97440, and its website

Video and broadcast

This program will be broadcast live and the videotape will be available on the City Club of Eugene Facebook page and You Tube channel, in addition to our website. It will air on Monday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m., on KLCC 89.7 FM.

Contact: For more information, contact Silver A. Mogart, City Club of Eugene, Executive Director, (541) 485-7433,

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