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LEND/DBP Collaborative Trainee Exchange

Briefly describe the activity and its purpose.

A collaborative trainee exchange was conducted between Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) LEND (Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) trainees and University of Virginia (UVA) Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) fellows. The goal of the trainee exchange was twofold. VA-LEND Trainees at VCU were able to travel to the University of Virginia to participate in clinical observations that they could use to count towards their practicum hours in the LEND program. The Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Fellows were able to participate in the LEND classes that addressed Policy practice and participated in the Disability Policy Seminar in Washington D.C., which included congressional visits by a Virginia delegation led by VCU. In addition, VCU and UVA collaborated to explore the strengths and needs of children and families in the rural part of our state with the goal of developing relationships and resources in these areas.

What are the expected learning outcomes for trainees?

The anticipated outcomes are:

  • Increased clinical observation opportunities for Va-LEND Trainees
  • Increased disability policy opportunities for UVA DBP fellows
  • Increased collaboration across universities
  • Collaborative exploration of resources and needs in rural areas of Virginia

Briefly describe the positive impacts this activity has had on trainees.

Va-LEND trainees were highly satisfied with their experience observing clinics at UVA and felt it was beneficial to see how another university conducted clinics. They felt their observations helped shape them as practitioners and increased their understanding of the importance of teamwork and family-centered care. The DBP fellows were highly satisfied with their participation in the Disability Policy Seminar and felt that they learned a great deal from the Va-LEND Seminar classes. They felt their participation in the disability policy related activities helped them understand the connection between policy and practice and the implications of policy for the people they see in clinic.

Briefly describe any lessons learned or challenges associated with implementing this activity.

The project promoted an atmosphere of learning and collaboration between two major universities that are stakeholders in the care of children and young people with autism and developmental disabilities. This was extremely beneficial, as it not only strengthened the relationships between the two entities, but it allowed for a reduction in duplication of efforts and streamlined services. The project supported trainees and fellows to enhance their practice in a variety of ways. Through participation in the UVA clinics, Va-LEND trainees were able to see how a different university conducts clinics, which reinforced concepts that we teach in the Va-LEND curriculum such as family-centered care and interdisciplinary collaboration. Likewise, the fellows were able to enhance their policy skills and learn more about the macro level systems that impact the patients they serve in their clinical setting. Through the collaborative exploration of the resources in Southwest Virginia, both universities were able to learn more about the different tools and resources utilized in those rural areas, as well as extant gaps in services. Challenges on the project included difficulty coordinating schedules which were addressed with the utilization of technology (i.e., doodle meeting polls and zoom).

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