About LEND

The Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the US Department of Health and Human Services through the 2006 Combating Autism Act provides funding for Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Programs. LEND Programs operate within a university system, usually as part of a University Center for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) or other large entity, and collaborate with local university hospitals and/or health care centers. These collaborations provide the expert faculty, facilities, and other resources necessary to offer exceptional interdisciplinary training and services.

There are currently 39 LENDs in 32 states and the District of Columbia. Collectively, they form a national network that shares information and resources and maximizes their impact. While each LEND program is unique, with its own focus and expertise, they all provide interdisciplinary training, have faculty and trainees in a wide range of disciplines, including parents or family members and share the same learning objectives.

The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program at the Institute for Community Inclusion at Children's Hospital Boston provides advanced interdisciplinary training to health and counseling professionals and to families to improve their knowledge in working with children, adolescents and young adults with developmental and related disabilities. This training is multi-focused and ranges from policy issues and team collaboration to specific clinical practice and support models. Trainees develop their leadership potential to improve the status of infants, children, and adolescents with (or at risk for) neurodevelopmental disabilities and to enhance systems of care for these children and their families.

LEND program objectives include: (1) advancing the knowledge and skills of the full range of child health professionals and family members to improve health care delivery systems for children with developmental disabilities; (2) providing high-quality interdisciplinary education to health and allied professionals that emphasizes the integration of services supported by state, local agencies, organizations, private providers and communities; (3) providing a wide range of professionals and families with the skills needed to foster a community-based partnership of health resources and community leadership; and (4) promoting innovative practice models that enhance cultural competency, partnerships among disciplines, and family-centered approaches to care.