Two LENDS Collaborate to Help Trainees

By Jennifer Drummond

March 5, 2021

Miya R. Asato MD
Miya R. Asato MD

Striving to train the next generation of child and maternal healthcare leaders is more than a slogan for Va-LEND (Virginia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities). It is an ideal, which includes innovative ways to make training more effective. One such example is the collaboration between another LEND program. "The idea of the Pittsburgh LEND and Va-LEND originated from a regional LEND directors meeting at AUCD (Association of University Centers on Disabilities). We discussed ways we could share expertise among LENDS and offer trainees opportunities to connect with other trainees and faculty from different LENDs," said Jackie Robinson Brock, Assistant Director of Administration, for Va-LEND and one of the organizers. Miya R. Asato MD, who is the Director of the Pittsburgh LEND, added, "Collaboration is about sharing components of one another's programs and building on its strengths. We both have strong family presence in our programs so focusing on this theme around inclusion and working with families whose lives have been impacted by opioids were ways we were able to incorporate the family focus in LEND."

Two joint activities were held during the fall semester and one is planned for the spring. Although the program is new, trainees offered their thoughts on the collaboration. "I loved the advice the panel had for us at the end of the session, and I will definitely take that with me through my time as a trainee and MCH leader," said one Trainee. Another had this to say: "I learned about the differences in legislation regarding community and independent living between Virginia and Pennsylvania as well as how to support legislation that supports individuals with developmental disabilities integration with the community. I feel that it has reminded me of the wider LEND network that I am apart of and represent, and has facilitated my professional development in this broader community."

Asato said one benefit of the collaboration is that "our trainees and faculty have gotten to know each other through this year which has deepened our understanding of how each of our programs works within our networks and communities." The two LEND programs meet regularly to plan activities and engage community leaders from both centers. There is a website dedicated to this collaboration, where trainees can get more information and view event recordings. The interactive business card exchange is also on the website to allow trainees to connect with each other and faculty.

"We've proposed that this collaboration continue in the next 5-year grant (pending funding). In addition, another collaboration has resulted from these events, which was also included in the 5-year grant. In this collaboration Pittsburgh LEND, Va-LEND, and Connecticut UCEDD and LEND called the Early Childhood Partnerships initiative has resulted," said Robinson Brock.