LEND Fellowship at NY RFK Center Integrates Legal, Clinical Expertise

March 8, 2013

Website Link  https://www.einstein.yu.edu/features/stories/867/is-there-a-lawyer-in-the-house-fellowship-integrates-legal-clinical-expertise/

The Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau (HRSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds fellowship positions in an array of allied health professions at Einstein's Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC). For more than 40 years, LEND has provided graduate-level, interdisciplinary leadership training to improve the health of children with or at risk of neurodevelopmental and related disabilities at 43 sites in the 37 states. This hands-on training is typically undertaken by psychologists, physical therapists, social workers and other clinicians who work with children and adults with disabilities.

With the help of the LEND fellowship at the Rose F. Kennedy University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, that multidisciplinary mix also includes law students. Einstein's LEND legal fellowship is believed to be the first ongoing fellowship for law students in the country and permits those from Einstein's sister school, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University, to learn from the LEND program's diverse range of clinicians, and vice versa.

"Their eyes are opened," said Dr. Robert Marion, one of the creators of the fellowship who is director of CERC and holds the Ruth L. Gottesman Chair in Developmental Pediatrics. "Students in medicine and other fields usually have no concept of the legal issues in developmental disabilities. This is really synergistic for everyone in our program."

Treating children with developmental disabilities requires a broad range of expertise, because disabilities can have such profound effects on every facet of a child's life. Often, a legal perspective is helpful, especially as children and families face issues related to educational access, foster care or eligibility for government benefits.

Former Einstein LEND fellow, Kristina MajewskiEinstein has recognized that need. Sheryl Dicker, who is a consultant to CERC and an attorney, has been an advocate for children with disabilities for more than 30 years and was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the President's Committee on Mental Retardation. After coming to Einstein, she began talking with Dr. Marion about the need for a legal perspective in clinical training - and the need for a clinical perspective in legal training.

Coincidentally, both Dr. Marion and Ms. Dicker are neighbors with Cardozo law professor Stewart Sterk, and the three began discussing how the two Yeshiva University schools might collaborate to create a new type of learning opportunity. After obtaining funding and developing a curriculum, Einstein launched the LEND legal fellowship in 2009. Since its creation, half a dozen other legal-medical collaborations have sprung up around the country, Dr. Marion said.

See the attached link to read the full article.