Trainee Orientation Modules


Welcome to the AUCD network! We are excited to have you as one of our valued members. Over 3,000 new Trainees from every state and territory join the AUCD network each year, all with a commitment to collaboration and positively impacting the lives of people with disabilities. By being a part of this network, you will have access to an array of supports and resources, including a diverse range of disability experts from across the country, as well as opportunities for leadership, academic, and professional growth.

As you begin your journey with AUCD, these three Trainee Orientation Modules will help you learn, connect, get involved, and grow as part of the network. Each includes videos and links to related resources. They were created with input and support from a range of leaders, including recent trainees. The information is sequenced so you can gradually build your understanding, but feel free to jump in wherever and whenever you are ready to start!

When you've finished the modules, please take a brief survey to help AUCD learn about what was most important or valuable to you.




Introduction to AUCD

This first video provides background information on AUCD, the network, our history, and our shared values.

Since your interdisciplinary training will largely focus on improving the outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the disability rights movement. Some of the most important leaders of the movement included self-advocates and other individuals with disabilities. Take the time to listen to stories by the leaders in the self-advocacy movement to understand their perspective, history, and significance.


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Meet the AUCD Network

Now you've had an opportunity to learn about AUCD's history and mission, this second video offers more detailed information about who exactly makes up the AUCD network. This includes which federal agencies fund your Program or Center, and where you fit in.

The federal agencies that administer funds to our core programs strongly share our vision and values to improving the lives of people with disabilities. Together, AUCD along with its collaborating partners, federal agencies, and allies, create a stronger national impact. Since all AUCD Trainees are federally-funded, this means trainees have additional access to resources, information, and opportunities for leadership, research, collaboration and more. Below is information related to our core funders and how you can take advantage of what they have to offer.

Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)
In addition to administering funds to Leadership Education Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) programs, MCHB administers funds to training programs such as Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics and fields related to adolescence, public health, and more. MCHB has a trainee resource page that contains more information on those other training programs, as well as organizational structures and trainee perspectives from those who have emerged as leaders. The "MCH Connects" mentoring program facilitates connections and improves collaboration among current and former trainees within and across maternal and child health ( MCH) training programs. If you're looking to connect with trainees and faculty from other programs across the country, check out the LEND Directory.

For a more complete understanding of MCHB, take a minute to learn about Title V block grant, the nation's oldest federal-state partnership that distributes funding for states to improve the health and well-being of women and children (including those with special health needs).

Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD)
The Developmental Disabilities (DD) Act authorizes the University Centers for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) as part of the DD Network. The UCEDDs are funded by AIDD, within the Administration on Disabilities to work with states and Territories, communities, and partners in the disability network to increase independence, productivity, and community integration of people with disabilities. A Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit developed for the UCEDD and other networks may help you or your organization implement strategies to become more diverse, inclusive, and culturally & linguistically competent. There is a UCEDD in every U.S. state and territory, so check out the UCEDD Directory to find one near you (or anywhere you're thinking about moving in the future).

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Take the time to explore NICHD's website to learn more about their mission, areas of research, and funding opportunities. If you're specifically interested in intellectual and/or developmental disabilities research, you can check out information about the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRCs). Together, these centers deliver a once-a-year summary (2016) of research that contains information to help improve developmental outcomes and provide families and communities with the tools they need.


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AUCD Trainee Voices


In this third video, AUCD Trainees share their thoughts on the importance of interdisciplinary training, how they're using their experiences to make an impact, and how being an AUCD Trainee influenced the pursuit of their personal and professional goals. Listen to their stories and be inspired to begin (or continue) your own journey!

Once you're feeling inspired to take full advantage of the network, check out the trainee leadership opportunities document to learn more about opportunities for involvement, skill building, and leadership. This includes general responsibilities and time commitments.


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2017 Welcome Webinar


View the 2017 Welcome Webinar recording.

Now that you've got a more complete picture of the AUCD network and where you fit in, now it's time to take advantage of all that the network has to offer. In this module, you will meet the AUCD Virtual Trainee, a trainee just like you who works with AUCD central office staff and has an active role in strengthening and building the trainee network; they facilitate connections, share information on a variety of relevant topics, and work with other network leaders to maintain a strong trainee presence across all activities.

The Virtual Trainee is different for each academic year, and so this module is updated annually to make sure the information is up to date. Please view the most recent archived Welcome Webinar page to see additional resources, PowerPoint slides, and the audio transcript.


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2018 End of the Year Webinar

As your traineeship comes to an end, you will find many AUCD resources to help you take advantage of your experiences and training, and help you continue to grow as a leader in whichever discipline(s) you choose. Our third module includes another live webinar which is hosted every Spring, and includes stories of how former trainees have applied what they've learned in different positions and settings.

To get some ideas of how you can begin to apply your new leadership, clinical, research, and advocacy skills in the next stages of your life and career, visit the End of the Year Webinar page. It includes helpful resources, such as: how to talk about your traineeship on your resume/CV, tips on how to search for jobs, and PowerPoint slides and a transcript from the most recent webinar.


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We'd like to extend our thanks to the following people who were involved in establishing the direction and the development of the project. We could have not done it without you:

  • Carrie Coffield (NJ - The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities) 
  • Christine Vining (NM - Center for Development and Disability)
  • Douglene Jackson (FL - Mailman Center for Child Development)
  • Elizabeth (Liz) Koss (OH - Nisonger Center)
  • Gail Chodron (WI - Waisman Center)
  • Heidi Feldman (CA - Leland Stanford Junior University)
  • Ivanova Smith (WA - University of Washington LEND Program)
  • Jerry Alliston (MS - Institute for Disability Studies)
  • Mark Crenshaw (GA - Center for Leadership in Disability) 
  • Sheida Raley (KS - Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities)
  • Stephanie Coleman (KS - Center for Child Health and Development)
  • Stephanie Weber (OH - Cincinnati Children's Hospital)
  • Toni Whitaker (TN - Boling Center)

The videos Introduction to AUCD, Meet the AUCD Network and AUCD Trainee Voices were created by Rooted in Rights.

This work was supported by a cooperative agreement (#UA5MC11068) between AUCD and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and a contract (#HHSP23320110016YC) with the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD). The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of MCHB, the Health Resources Services Administration, AIDD, the Administration on Community Living, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or the U.S. Government.

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