Several members of Madonna's Neuropsychology Department have national board certifications, the highest level of professional qualification in psychology, including ABPP and ABPN certifications in clinical neuropsychology and clinical psychology. See our clinicians' individual biographies for more information about their qualifications, services and research interests.

Lincoln Campus

Neuropsychologist, Lincoln Campus

Phone: 402.483.9418

Professional Interests
Dr. Ryan Ernst is board certified by the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology. His primary responsibilities include the inpatient traumatic brain injury (TBI) unit as well as the intensive outpatient program for TBI patients. His clinical and research interests include neuroplasticity and cortical reorganization following traumatic brain injury and stroke.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (1997)

Nova Southeastern University
Center for Psychological Studies
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Master of Science in Psychology (2000)

Nova Southeastern University
Center for Psychological Studies
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Doctor of Clinical Psychology (2002)

Nebraska Mental Health Centers, P.C.
Lincoln, NE
Pre-Doctoral Internship (2002)

Nebraska Comprehensive Health Care
Lincoln, NE
Post-Doctoral REsidency in Clinical Neuropsychology (2010)

Teaching Experience

Training instructor for interns and residents at the Nebraska Mental Health Centers Psychology Internship Program. (2002-2011)

Clinical supervisor for doctoral-level externs and externs in the areas of neuropsychology and neurorehabilitation. (2011-Current)

Clinical supervision of psychological services provided by licensed mental health practitioners. (2013-Current)

Professional Affiliations

American Psychological Association- Division 40, Neuropsychology
Nebraska Psychological Association
National Academy of Neuropsychology


03/2016  Extending the Applications of IREX:  Use of virtual reality in neurorehabilitation.
Sponsor:  GestureTek Health, Toronto Canada

09/2015  Neuroplasticity: Transforming the landscape of the brain and neurorehabilitation practices. 
Sponsor:  Case Management Society of America, Iowa Chapter, Des Moines, IA

09/2015  Behaviors are Everyone’s Business: Team Management of Challenging Behaviors in TBI Recovery. 
Sponsor:  Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Omaha, NE

04/2014  Advances in Neurorehabilitation and Clinical Innovation. 
Sponsor:  Kansas University Medical Center, Presented at Hays Medical Center in Hays, KS

10/2013  Pediatric Brain Injury Recovery and Cortical Reorganization
Sponsor:  Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln, NE

9/2013   Brain Injury, Neuroplasticity and Language
Sponsor:  Nebraska Speech, Language and Hearing Convention, Kearney, NE

4/2013   Brain Fitness:  Optimal Brain Function in Later Life and the Science Behind It
Sponsor:  Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln, NE

11/2012  Neuroplasticity and Neurorehabilitation Post Brain Injury
Sponsor:  Genesis Health Systems, Davenport, IA

12/2012  Brain Fitness:  Protect the Health of Your Brain
Sponsor:  Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln, NE

6/2012  Neuroplasticity in Medical Rehabilitation:  A Working Conceptualization for Clinicians
Sponsor:  Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln, NE

Outpatient Counselor, Lincoln Campus

Neuropsychology Director, Lincoln Campus

BA (1985), University of South Dakota
MA and PhD (1992), University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Professional Interests
Neuropsychology, rehabilitation psychology, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, dementia

Populations Served
Adults with neurological impairments or other disabling conditions, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, or dementia for both inpatients and outpatients.

Former program leader for Madonna’s multidisciplinary CARF-Accredited Spinal Cord Injury Program (2000-2007)

Therapy Specialty Areas
Cognitive assessment, rehabilitation psychology, behavioral management, adjustment counseling. Assessment and differential diagnosis of dementia.

Advanced credentials in specific areas of therapy
Certified Instructor for Crisis Prevention Institute since 2008.

Professional Organizations and Boards
American Psychological Association

Selected Presentations
"Distinguishing Dementia Syndromes"
Saint Francis Medical Center, Grand Island NE, 6/30/09

"Coping with Dementia"
NE Alzheimer’s Association, May 2009

"Medical Aspects of Dementia"
NE Alzheimer’s Association Annual Conference, 2/21/09

"Attitudes and Interactions in Rehabilitation"
2008-2009 Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital (Multiple Audiences)

"Psychosocial Aspects of Stroke"
2007 Nebraska Stroke Symposium, 10/13/06

"Behavioral Problems in Alzheimer’s Disease"
NE Alzheimer’s Association Support Group, 8/9/06

"Preparing Spinal Cord Injured Patients for Rehab"
Truman Medical Center, Kansas City MO, 2/16/05
Creighton Medical Center, Omaha NE, 1/3/05
Nebraska Social Workers Association, 10/22/04
BryanLGH West Trauma Rounds, Lincoln NE, 8/23/02
St Joseph’s Hospital, Omaha NE, 10/24/01

“Negotiating Professional Boundaries in Medical/Rehab Settings”
Madonna Respiratory Therapy Dept, 1/26/05
Madonna Ventilator Assisted Unit, 1/3/05
Chip Woods Assisted Living Home, 10/24/00
NE Day Services Association, 4/12/01

"Overview of Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation"
Nebraska Health Services, Omaha NE, 3/23/03
Lincoln Neuropsychology Group Grand Rounds, 10/15/02
Good Samaritan Hospital, Kearney NE, 4/2002
Nebraska Medical Records Technicians Assoc, Lincoln NE, 3/15/02
Midlands Rehab Discharge Planners Meeting, 1/14/02
Lancaster Society of Clinical Lab Scientists, Lincoln NE, 3/8/01

"Spinal Cord Injury Cure Research"
Lincoln Neuropsychology Group Grand Rounds, 12/10/03

"Traumatic Brain Injury and Behavior"
ESU#9, Hastings NE, 3/16/99

"Relaxation Strategies for Staff"
Nursing Staff, Crete Municipal Hospital, 5/12/99

"Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries"
Lux Middle School, Lincoln NE, 3/6/98

"Finding Meaning in Adversity"
Lincoln SCI Support Group, 6/9/99

"Dealing with Noncompliance in Medical Settings"
Fillmore County Hospital, Geneva NE, 10/20/98

"Aging and Traumatic Brain Injury"
Brain Injury Association of Nebraska. 10/10/98

"Managing Disorganized Behavior"
Fillmore County Hospital, Geneva, NE, 9/96

"Managing Interpersonal Conflict"
NE Multiple Sclerosis Society, 6/96

"Psychosocial Aspects of Stroke"
Metro Community College, 2/95

"Managing Noncompliance"
Nebraska Hospital Association, 10/94

Selected Research Activities
"Two Efficient Cognitive Tests to Assess Fall Risk Following
Rehabilitation for Stroke" (2006; unpublished research study)
Travis Groft, PhD; Bill Shuart, PhD; Linda Storz, OTR/L; Susan Houchens, COTA/R;
Megan Waldren, OTR/L; Judy Harvey, MS, CCC-SLP

A Comparison of Three Types of Auditory Cueing on the Responses of Normal Persons and Persons with Dementia. (1998; unpublished research study)
Travis Groft, PhD; Jan Fitzsimmons, RN

Groft, T. (1992) "Stressful Events, Social Support, and Burnout Among Mental Retardation Professionals"
Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Groft, T & Sarata, B. (1989) "Commitment and Burnout in Human Services Employees"
Unpublished Master’s Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Rehabilitation Counselor

BS University of Nebraska at Kearney, 1996
MS Counseling, University of Nebraska at Kearney, 1999

Professional interests
Spinal Cord Injury, Neurologic Impairments, Amputee

Populations served
Adult and pediatric inpatient/outpatient spinal cord injury survivors, general rehabilitation patients (ie., stroke, orthopedic injuries, amputations).

Therapy specialty areas
Counseling for emotional adjustment to spinal cord injuries. Wheelchair sports and outdoor activities for disabilities

Advanced credentials
Certified Professional Counselor
Licensed Mental Health Practitioner

Professional organizations and boards
American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals
Nebraska Counseling Association

Selected presentations
"Travel Considerations with Disabilities" (Madonna Rehab Hospital, 2008)
"When a Person with SCI has a Brain Injury" (Madonna Rehab Hospital, 5/10/06)
"Issues of Adjustment for the Patient & Family affected by SCI" (Madonna Rehab Hospital, 2009)
"Methods to Assist with Limb Loss Adjustment" (Madonna Rehab Hospital, 4/3/09)

Licensed Psychologist, Lincoln Campus

BS, Social Work, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT.

MS.Ed. Early Childhood Education, University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT.

MS, Psychology, Alliant University/California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles CA.

Psy.D., Clinical Psychology, Alliant University/California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles CA.

Early Intervention with children zero to 3 diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

PEDS Advanced Assessment Training Program, Reiss-Davis Child Study Center, Los Angeles, CA.

Infant Mental Health Specialist, Early Childhood Foundation/Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

Professional interests
Work with children, youth, and adults with acquired brain injuries and developmental neurological conditions. The role of auditory processing in developmental learning and response to stress. Substance abuse in adult populations

Populations served
Children, adolescents, adults

Therapy specialty areas
Child, adolescent, and adult cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic therapy
Dyadic psychotherapy with caregivers/infants-toddlers to enhance social and emotional development

Advanced credentials in specific areas of therapy
Infant Mental Health Specialist, Early Childhood Foundation/Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

Brain Injury Specialist

Enlisten/Therapeutic Listening Consultant

Professional organizations and boards
American Psychological Association
Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders
Brain Injury Association of America

Selected presentations
3rd Annual Nebraska Brain Injury Conference, Pediatric Neuropsycholgy (2009)

Presenter: Integration of Infant Mental Health and Occupational Therapy in an Early Intervention Setting. AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association) Annual Conference, Anaheim CA (2003)

Selected articles/book chapters
Early Intervention with children zero to 3 diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Unpublished doctoral project)

Communication Supports in Pediatric Rehabilitation (Ray, P., Beukelman, D.R.) Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation (pending)

Inpatient Professional Counselor, Lincoln Campus

BA University of Nebraska, 1991
MA Counseling, Doane University 2012

Professional Interests:
 Rehabilitation Counseling, Neurological Impairments, Positive Psychology, Grief

Populations served:
Adult and geriatric inpatients with  neurological disorders or other disabling conditions such as traumatic brain injury, amputation, or burns.

Therapy Specialty Areas:
Adjustment Counseling, End-of-Life Issues,

Advanced Creditials in Specific Areas of Therapy:
Suicide Risk Assessment by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center
Certified Brain Injury Specialist by the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists (ACBIS)
Authentic Happiness Coaching Program Graduate

Professional Organizations and Boards:
American Counseling Association
Nebraska Counseling Association
Madonna Mettle of Honor Committee Member
Stroke Camp Volunteer

Selected Presentations:
Anxiety and the Medically Complex Patient (Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital Learning Series, 2016)
Coping with Loss (Community Stroke Support Group “PRIDE”, 2016)
Motivational Interviewing: An Overview for Health Care Professionals (Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, 2015)
Working with Exceptional Families (Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, 2015)

Outpatient Licensed Psychologist Post-Doctorate Resident


Roger Riss focuses on neuropsychological and forensic assessment of disability, health psychology, disability adjustment counseling, and biofeedback. He is board certified by the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology, and American Academy of Pain Management. He is a Senior Fellow with the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America, and past board member with AAPB Neurofeedback Division.

Research interests have included qEEG correlates of attention, memory and reading disorders, brain training in cognitive rehabilitation of memory, and interdisciplinary outcomes in mild traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. Dr. Riss has served as a visiting lecturer at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and clinical supervisor with graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from various universities.

Clinical Psychology Internship, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Va., 1982-1983
Doctor of Psychology, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Fla., 1983
Master of Science in Psychology, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Fla., 1981
Bachelor of Arts, University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.

Boards and Certification
American Board of Professional Neuropsychology, Diplomate
American College of Professional Neuropsychology, Fellow
American Academy of Pain Management, Diplomate
Biofeedback Certification Institute of America, Senior Fellow

Professional Affiliations
American Psychological Association
Nebraska Psychological Association
International Neuropsychological Society
National Academy of Neuropsychology
American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology
International Society for Neuronal Regulation
Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback