HRSA Expands National Access to the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) Program

June 25, 2021

SILVER SPRING, MD - The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently awarded 60 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) grants to universities and children's hospitals across the United States, expanding national access to interdisciplinary leadership training to meet the complex needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental disorders (DD).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in six children have one or more developmental disorders, including ASD, in the United States. It is increasingly difficult for people with disabilities to obtain appropriate medical treatment due to the shortage of health care providers trained in systems of care and other outdated elements of our health care system. The LEND program was developed by HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) to address many of today's health care shortages through comprehensive, interdisciplinary training to providers and students who screen, diagnose, and treat those with ASD/DD. Collectively, these programs form a national network designed to maximize their impact and systemically improve the health of infants, children, and adolescents with disabilities.

As of 2021, this national network included 52 LEND programs across 44 states. Beginning July 1, 2021, this network extends to 60 programs through a new five-year grant cycle, reaching geographic areas not currently covered by a LEND program. The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) welcomes and congratulates the following universities in joining the LEND Network.

  • University of Texas at Austin
  • SUNY Stony Brook
  • SUNY Downstate
  • Georgetown University
  • Children's National Research Institute
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of California San Diego

To expand national access to interdisciplinary training and leadership opportunities for emerging leaders as well as interdisciplinary care for families, HRSA applied a 3.3% budget cut across all LEND programs. This approach ensures nearly every state, the District of Columbia, the United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and six Pacific Basin jurisdictions is covered by a LEND program, either as an awardee or in partnership with a LEND program.

"We are thrilled with the expansion of the LEND network and its improved geographic reach," said John Tschida, executive director of AUCD. "This leadership training program is improving the skills and disability competencies of thousands of clinicians, allied health professionals, self-advocates, and family members. As a result, an entire generation of kids with developmental disabilities will experience better care. We're grateful for our ongoing partnership with HRSA and MCHB and hope that any future funding increases will restore the 3.3% reduction to the historic LEND programs."

For more information or questions, please email [email protected].


About the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), located in Silver Spring, MD, promotes and supports a national network of interdisciplinary centers on disabilities. The members of AUCD represent every U.S. state and territory. AUCD and its members work to advance policy and practice through research, education, leadership, and services for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities. For more information, visit AUCD's website,

Contact: Michele Lunsford, Director of Communications, Events, and Development
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 814-386-3853