Sixth Annual Midwest LEND Consortium Meeting

November 30, 2010

LEND trainees and faculty/staff from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, converged on Omaha and the Nebraska LEND program on the afternoon of 10-10-10. The group was joined by Denise Sofka, Project Officer for LEND (HRSA), and Jamie Perry, LEND Technical Assistance Director (AUCD). In attendance were 80 trainees and 27 faculty and staff members.

Trainee activities on Sunday afternoon were led by second-year LEND post-docs. Trainees were divided into small groups with a mix of students from different states and various disciplines. These small groups engaged in a number of leadership discussions and interactions to get acquainted and to learn from each other. One teamwork activity encouraged discussions about the potential challenges in working with a diverse group of colleagues, along with the positive outcomes that can be achieved. The trainees also enjoyed a discussion about the personal qualities of leaders. Later in the afternoon, trainees participated in a custom-made LEND Jeopardy game to test their knowledge of the LEND program and to learn more about each individual state within the Midwest consortium.

LEND faculty and staff met with Denise Sofka and Jamie Perry, and spent the afternoon sharing programmatic information around the topics of diversity, recruitment, curriculum, and the upcoming LEND grant competition. Trainees and staff later met for dinner and conversation at the home of Wayne Stuberg, Nebraska LEND Faculty in Physical Therapy.

On Monday, October 11th, the group met for a day-long conference at the University of Nebraska-Omaha Thomson Alumni Center. Tawara Goode, MA, Director of the National Center for Cultural Competence provided the keynote address, "Cultural Competence: Implications for LEND Programs," and spent the morning sharing resources and engaging the group in thought and discussion about the topic.

After lunch, Denise Sofka and Jamie Perry provided information about AUCD and LEND, and encouraged trainees to participate in the multitude of activities available to them through these networks.

The final part of the day was devoted to learning about family issues, including those issues affecting families from underserved groups. Trainees first heard from a family which included the father, mother and siblings as they discussed their journey and their relationship with their youngest child who was born with a disability.

A panel of parents who had children with disabilities, and a young man with a disability, represented a range of underserved groups, and spoke about their individual experiences and provided many insights to all of us about their interactions with healthcare professionals.

At the end of the afternoon, faculty, staff and trainees completed program evaluations, and shared closing remarks, concluding the six-state meeting for another year.