Minnesota Awarded LEND Program

July 1, 2009

Website Link  http://lend.umn.edu/


pdf File mn brochure09.pdf (662KB) [download]

Beginning July 1, the University of Minnesota will house the state's first-ever federally-funded LEND program (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) coordinated by the Department of Pediatrics and the Institute on Community Integration (ICI). Funded by a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Minnesota LEND is an interdisciplinary training program preparing future leaders who will serve children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, other neurodevelopmental and related disabilities, and their families in health care, education, human services, and policy settings.

It is estimated that 1 out of every 10 children and adolescents in the U.S. has a neurodevelopmental disability (NDD), and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are among the fastest growing in reported prevalence over the past decade. To respond to the needs of these children and their families, the Minnesota LEND will bring together faculty, staff and students from 11 disciplines across the University to:

  • Advance the skills of pediatric health and allied professionals to improve health care delivery systems for children with ASDs and other NDDs, and integrate services from health care, education, and human service agencies.
  • Promote innovative practice models that enhance cultural competency, partnerships among disciplines, and family-centered approaches to support.
  • Provide training focused on reducing barriers to early screening, identification and evidence- based interventions in home, school and community settings.

These aims will be achieved through an interdisciplinary program that strengthens and extends current University training in the area of NDDs. Among program components are:

  1. A long-term training program for Masters, Doctorate, and MD students
  2. short-term training opportunities for University students about ASDs and NDDs, and
  3. educational and consultation opportunities outside the University to community members and professionals in Minnesota and nationwide.

In addition, the Minnesota LEND will develop and widely share curriculum materials and other information of use to health care professionals, school personnel, parents, and policymakers.

"The Minnesota LEND provides the University with an unprecedented opportunity to provide interdisciplinary leadership training in neurodevelopmental disabilities to students across many academic disciplines, and to do so in partnership with community organizations such as Gillette Children's Hospital, and with families," observes ICI's Amy Hewitt, who, along with Michael Reiff, MD (Pediatrics) and Joe Reichle, PhD (Special Education) are the Principal Investigators of the LEND program.

For more information about the Minnesota LEND, including traineeship application information, visit lend.umn.edu or contact Beth Fondell, Program Coordinator at 612-624-6300.