Va-LEND Thrives Amid COVID-19

June 8, 2020

Presentation and discussion of research posters and leadership presentations herald the end of the Va-LEND program for the academic year at Virginia Commonwealth University. They are typically lively events marked by discussion, acknowledgement of trainee achievements, and fellowship. This year was very different due to the commonwealth's response to COVID-19 and need to socially distance.

Yet the transition to online formats for both events didn't put a damper on the energy level for trainees or other attendees. The Co-Training Directors and faculty worked to ensure a smooth transition for the virtual events, such as by creating virtual breakout rooms for poster presentations as well as a gallery in which attendees could browse a variety of posters to preserve the interaction.

During this year's leadership presentations, trainees acknowledged both the challenge of working during the pandemic and also the opportunity to serve and plan. The level of engagement was high. Our trainees continue to inspire us. Va-LEND congratulates our graduates, despite our difficulty in figuring out how to shake their hands at graduation, and looks forward to continuing to train the next generation of leaders in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities.