Renovated Poynter Hall is new home for UNMC Department of Psychiatry

Psychiatry returns to campus after 13-year hiatus; Open for patients on Oct. 19

The University of Nebraska Medical Center Department of Psychiatry is coming home.

After 13 years of being located more than a mile east of the main UNMC campus at 515 S. 25th St. in the former Lutheran Hospital, the department is moving into newly renovated Poynter Hall this week, and the staff will start seeing patients in the updated facility on Oct. 19.

“We are thrilled to be returning to campus,” said Steve Wengel, M.D., professor and chairman of the department. “Psychiatry is an important area of medicine, as mental illness affects every family.

“Mental illness has a direct correlation to many different health conditions. By being back on campus, it will greatly enhance our visibility and allow us to better collaborate with clinicians and researchers in other departments. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Constructed in 1912, Poynter Hall is the oldest building on the UNMC campus. Renovation of the six-story facility was made possible by LB605, a bill passed by the Nebraska Legislature in 2006 allocating $7 million to the project.

The renovation included updating obsolete mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, as well as bringing the building into compliance with current building, fire, safety, and energy codes as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Poynter Hall is located on the southwest corner of 42nd and Dewey streets. Sixteen psychiatry faculty and 31 staff members will be moving into the building, which features a new entrance on the east side. The entrance brings people into the building on the second floor.

Here’s a breakdown of the psychiatry space in the building:

2nd floor – 42nd Street entrance;

3rd floor – research/education space;

4th floor – administrative offices;

5th floor – clinical space; and

6th floor – faculty offices.

Dr. Wengel said the building will provide a superior educational experience for students and resident physicians. It will feature five exam rooms with video capabilities as well as a lounge for residents with computer study space.

The video capabilities will allow the department to expand its tele-psychiatry program with mental health patients in rural. Nebraska, he said.

Psychiatry has a joint residency program with Creighton University. The four-year residency currently includes 36 physicians. In addition, all third-year medical students do a six-week rotation in psychiatry.

“We have worked very hard to provide high-quality and relevant educational programs for our students and residents,” said Dr. Wengel, noting that the psychiatry clerkship is currently the second most popular rotation among UNMC medical students.

The renovated facility will be open to patients from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Dr. Wengel said the department’s geriatric psychiatrists will continue to work at the Home Instead Center for Successful Aging, which is located at 730 S. 38th Ave.

Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.



Tom O'Connor
UNMC Public Relations
(402) 559-4690 (office)
(402) 650-7063 (cell)