Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Illinois
The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) Program provides long-term, graduate level interdisciplinary training designed to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals with disabilities. This goal is accomplished by preparing trainees from diverse professional disciplines to assume leadership roles in their respective fields, and by ensuring high levels of interdisciplinary clinical competence. LEND focuses training on the policy, advocacy, research and clinical skills necessary to affect positive change on all levels, from the individual to systems.
Illinois LEND provides interdisciplinary training, has faculty and trainees from a wide range of disciplines, and includes 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 across their life course;
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 LENDs are currently funded under the 2006 Combating Autism Act and are administered by the Health Resources and Service’s Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).
The Illinois LEND was founded in 2008. It is one of the first LEND programs to have self-advocacy as one of its disciplines and has the following training sites: University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Chicago Section of Developmental Pediatrics and Kennedy Research Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Easter Seals Peoria, and Southern Illinois University.