Congratulations to the 2011-2012 LEND Network

August 24, 2011

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) congratulates the 2011-2012 network of 43 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) programs. LENDs are interdisciplinary leadership training programs funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) under the Combating Autism Act. These programs were selected in a very competitive peer-reviewed grant process in the Spring and Summer of 2011.  George Jesien, PhD, Executive Director of AUCD, commented, "these programs can easily be seen as among the best in the country in providing pre-professional interdisciplinary training for a wide range of health and allied health professionals that serve children and adolescents with developmental disabilities including autism."

About LEND

LENDs provide long-term, graduate level interdisciplinary training as well as interdisciplinary services and care. The purpose of the LEND training program is to improve the health of infants, children, and adolescents with disabilities. They accomplish this by preparing trainees from diverse professional disciplines to assume leadership roles in their respective fields and by insuring high levels of interdisciplinary clinical competence.  LEND programs operate within a university system as part of a University Center for Excellence (UCEDD) or medical school, and typically collaborate with local university hospitals and/or health care centers. This structure provides the expert faculty, facilities, and other resources necessary to provide exceptional interdisciplinary training for tomorrow's leaders and services for children, adolescents, and families with special health care needs including autism and other developmental disabilities.

Collectively the LENDs form a national network that shares information and resources to maximize their impact and effectiveness. They work together to address national issues of importance to children and adolescents with special health care needs and their families, exchange best practices, and develop collaborative products. Although most LENDs concentrate on efforts to train those in their respective states programs also come together regionally to address multistate issues and national concerns.

While each LEND program is unique with its own focus and expertise, they all provide interdisciplinary training, have faculty and trainees in 12 or more disciplines, and include parents or family members as paid program participants. They also share the following objectives:

  • advancing the knowledge and skills of all child health professionals to improve health care delivery systems for children with developmental disabilities;
  • providing high-quality interdisciplinary education that emphasizes the integration of services from state and local agencies and organizations, private providers, and communities;
  • providing health professionals with skills that foster community-based partnerships; and
  • promoting innovative practices to enhance cultural competency, family-centered care, and interdisciplinary partnerships.

The 43 LEND Programs are:


About AUCD

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), a nonprofit organization that promotes and supports a nationwide network of university-based interdisciplinary centers and programs, actively works to advance policy and practices for individuals with disabilities and their families by conducting basic and applied research, providing training to the next generation of educational, health and allied health professionals and providers, and provides exemplary direct services and supports for individuals and their families. Network members consist of 43 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Programs, 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), and 15 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRC).

Contact AUCD's Executive Director George Jesien, PhD, or AUCD's Director of LEND Technical Assistance Jamie Perry, MD MPH, at 301-588-8252 with questions.



> For more information about the 2011 LEND awards, view HRSA's press release, "HRSA awards $28.3 million for children with special health care needs."