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NPA October, 2014 Member Spotlight

Sarah Schaffer, Ph.D.

Sarah Schaffer

Dr. Schaffer grew up in North Platte, Nebraska. She attended the University of Montana where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with high honors in 2000. She then obtained her Master’s Degree in a Psychology at Washington State University, during which time she developed her own research lab studying the connection between cardiovascular reactivity and recovery to depression. She continued her research with the Spokane Heart Study examining the role of psychological cardiovascular risk factors as they relate to inflammatory markers and coronary artery calcification.  She also continued her training in the clinical application of health psychology by working as a member of the first cohort of students to integrate in the primary care setting and other medical interdisciplinary settings at Washington State University. She earned her Ph.D. in 2004 and completed an APA Internship at Sierra Nevada Heath Care in Reno, Nevada where she was able to work in multiple medical settings and with diverse patient populations ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics.

Dr. Schaffer returned to Nebraska to work with her father, Dr. Lee Kimzey and they opened a private practice, Behavioral Medicine Associates in 2006. She established their practice as a site for the National Health Service Corps with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration 2008. They expanded the practice in 2012 to include another local native and child psychologist Dr. Luke McConnell. Dr. Schaffer’s clinical work emphasizes on evaluations and assessments  from a range of referral sources from a large rural catchment area although she particularly enjoys evaluations related to health including bariatric and pain-related procedures  She has also served the community  for several years on the Board of a Health for the West Central District Health Department , The Bridge of Hope Child Advocacy Center, as the former Vice President of the Rape and Domestic Abuse Program, and on the Board of Directors for Community Connections.  She additionally has presented to numerous public interest groups, schools, veterans groups, medical programs.

Dr. Schaffer currently splits her time in the office with spending time at home "being a Mom” to her two young children and helping her husband, who raises cattle, quarter horses and hanging-tree cow dogs. She enjoys balancing her professional practice with ranching, which requires a spirit of creativity and a sense of humor as she often has to access her EMR via IPad while checking windmills in the Sandhills, consults from the calving shed where the cell reception is sometimes good, and cooks for branding crews of 50 people before going to work in the springtime. She hopes that her work in rural arenas beyond the office encourages acceptability of mental health by reducing stigma and enhancing accessibility of services in the agricultural sector.    

Previous NPA Member Spotlights

August, 2014 — Brenda Rohren

July, 2014 — Heath Hodges

June, 2014 — April Davis

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