4 UCEDDs and LENDs Receive Grants from the Special Hope Foundation Catalytic Community Outreach Model: Comprehensive Health Care for Adults IDD Grants

February 27, 2014

The Special Hope Foundation, in collaboration with AADMD, is pleased to announce that four universities within the UCEDD/LEND network were selected to each receive $50,000 of funding through the Special Hope Foundation's grant program.   These grants will support the organizations within their projects that promote comprehensive health care for adults with developmental disabilities by raising awareness at the healthcare student level and by supporting their communities.  The organizations receiving grants include:  Center for Human Development at University of Alaska Anchorage, JFK Partners at University of Colorado, Sonoran UCEDD at University of Arizona, and University of Rochester UCEDD.  The Foundation requested proposals throughout the UCEDD/LEND network and carefully reviewed and considered each application.

"I think the UCEDD's are strategically positioned to provide quality community services to their states, and I am particularly pleased to see how they are impacting healthcare by partnering with future medical and dental practitioners." Lynne O'Hara, Executive Director of the Special Hope Foundation.

"What makes this so exciting for us is that each of the grantees has strong healthcare leadership capabilities, but each is also taking a unique approach to this project,"  says Matt Holder, Executive Director of AADMD.  "Not only will these four programs engage health education in a way that hasn't been done before, their legacy well be a roadmap of how other UCEDDs and LENDs can do the same."

Following is the list of the grant recipients and the purposes for which the funds were granted: 

Center for Human Development at University of Alaska Anchorage UCEDD and LEND for "Improving Healthcare for Adults with IDD in Alaska."  This project will use a multi-pronged approach to improve healthcare services for adults with I/DD in Alaska by: developing training and resources for healthcare providers to increase awareness, communication and facilitate referral; increasing student awareness of the healthcare needs by establishing a student chapter of the AADMD; and providing health promotion materials to individuals and families/caregivers to assist in system navigation, and increase empowerment around health issues.  Karen Ward, EdD will be the principal investigator of this project.

JFK Partners UCEDD and LEND at University of Colorado for building upon an existing student group "Disability Dialogue" that is committed to examining health care disparities affecting individuals with developmental disabilities.  The group engages speakers in all medical disciplines, community support organizations, parents and individuals with varied physical and intellectual disabilities.  This funding will serve to provide national affiliation and structure, incentivize students during their years of preparation, and solidify community partnerships.  Laura Pickler, MD, MPH will be the principle investigator on this project.

Sonoran UCEDD at University of Arizona for their "Arizona Youth in Transition" project.  The Sonoran UCEDD will work with the University of Arizona College of Medicine and their established patient centered medical home for adults with developmental disabilities to increase the capacity of future and current health care providers to facilitate effective transitions from pediatric to adult health care for youth with DD. This will be accomplished through building a strong inter-professional AADMD student chapter, identifying needed skills, creating curriculum and providing targeted technical assistance.  This project will be led by Tamara Bassford, MD and Leslie Cohen, JD.

University of Rochester UCEDD and LEND for "The Special Olympics Team Trainer Program."  The University of Rochester and Special Olympics of NY will collaborate to implement and test a Team Trainer Program, where health care students will be partnered with Special Olympic athletic teams to increase athletes' participation in health care screenings, support coaches, facilitate follow-up care with healthcare providers, and incorporate health and wellness activities into team trainings.  Stephen Sulkes, MD will serve as Project Director joined by Lisa Delucia, DDS, LEND Dental Discipline Coordinator, and Rochester AADMD student group members.


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The mission of the Special Hope Foundation is to promote the establishment of comprehensive health care for adults with developmental disabilities designed to address their unique and fundamental needs.


The mission of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry is to improve the quality of healthcare for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.