AUCD Launches Children's Mental Health Champions

September 1, 2020

In May 2020, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) expanded its National Center on Disability in Public Health efforts with the launch of a new pilot program, Children's Mental Health Champions, made possible through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Six Champions were selected, representing California, Colorado, Kentucky, New Mexico, Virginia, and Washington D.C., to serve as liaisons to the CDC's Children's Mental Health program. In August 2020, the project was expanded and now supports a total of 12 Champions.

These Champions act as community change agents to increase positive parenting practices, through a one-year term of service. Champions provide timely support for children and their families as COVID-19 has impacted school closures, suspended home visiting services, made pediatric visits virtual, and caused additional stress and financial insecurity. Champions will develop state-specific work plans to implement effective strategies for mental health promotion, prevention supports, and the creation of networks (e.g., school, healthcare, and community) to promote better connections between these systems.

State Affiliation Champion
American Samoa Pacific Basin University Center on Exxcellence for Developmental Disabilities/American Samoa UCEDD Jean Anderson
California The Northern California LEND Project at the UC Davis MIND Institute Jazmin Burns
California  USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), Children's Hospital Los Angeles Micah Orliss
Colorado JFK Partners, University of Colorado School of Medicine/Children's Hospital Colorado Judy Reaven
Connecticut University of Connecticut Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Bethanne Vergean
Georgia Center for Leadership in Disability, Georgia State Univesity, UCEDD Emily C. Graybill
Kentucky  Human Development Institute (HDI), University of Kentucky, UCEDD Mary Howard
Maine University of Maine: Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, UCEDD Jennifer Maeverde
New Mexico University of New Mexico Center for Development & Disability, UCEDD Julia Oppenheimer
North Carolina Carolina Institute for Development & Disabilities/University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Laura Hiruma
South Dakota  Center for Disabilities, University of South Dakota/Sanford School of Medicine Tova Eggerstedt
Virginia Partnership for People with Disabilities, Virginia Commonwealth University Bonnie Grifa