The Boggs Center (NJ UCEDD/LEND) Hosts First NJLEND Alumni Leadership Symposium, "Leadership in a Time of Crisis: The COVID-19 Pandemic"

October 13, 2020

The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Department of Pediatrics hosted the first Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities - NJLEND Alumni Leadership Symposium. This virtual symposium, "The Challenge of Leadership in a Time of Crisis: The COVID-19 Pandemic" was a collaboration with systems across the state and RWJMS to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on children and young adults with Autism and other early onset disabilities and their families.

The event featured a panel of professionals representing leadership from multiple sectors across New Jersey. Panelists Patricia Whitley-Williams, MD, Professor and , Director  of the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Rutgers RWJMS; Mollie Greene, MA, Assistant Commissioner of the Children's System of Care, NJ Department of Children and Families Jennifer Langer Jacobs, MCP, Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, NJ Department of Human Services; and Peggy McDonald, EdD, Assistant Commissioner of Student Services, NJ Department of Education were asked to identify the challenges, successes, and disparities revealed in their respective fields by the COVID-19 pandemic. They also imparted advice and lessons learned to former LEND fellows who represented the disciplines of social work, medicine, family, nursing, psychology, public health, and developmental and behavioral pediatrics. Afterward, NJLEND Alumni, many of whom are now working as health and allied professionals across New Jersey, also engaged in peer breakout sessions where they were able to share and troubleshoot their own challenges through interdisciplinary group participation. This event was made possible with support from the Association on University Centers on Disability and the Interdisciplinary Technical Assistance Center on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, which is funded through a Cooperative Agreement (Grant #UA5MC11068) with HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

The Boggs Center's NJLEND program, part of a national provides graduatelevel interdisciplinary training aimed at preparing the next generation of health and allied health leaders to address the needs of children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), related developmental disabilities, health disparities, children with special health care needs and other maternal and child health populations. Funding for LEND programs is authorized by the federal Autism CARES Act and is administered through the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services, US Department of Human Services.