LEND: Excellence in Comprehensive Interdisciplinary Leadership Education

Contact: Jennifer Gerdts (jvarley@uw.edu)
Core Function: Professional Training

LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) is a graduate level, interdisciplinary training program which prepares health professionals for leadership roles in providing health care for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families. The LEND program at CHDD is one of 52 LEND programs in the United States federally funded through the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act, and administered by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau under the Workforce Development Division.

The purpose of LEND is to provide training for health professionals who will assume leadership roles across the nation. These leaders assure the continued development of a comprehensive system that serves the needs of children and youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders and other special health care needs. Program faculty participate in clinical research and policy development and partner with community programs to better serve the needs of these individuals and their families.

The LEND interdisciplinary training program enrolls health care professionals who have completed entry level training in their discipline. This includes postdoctoral fellows who have completed professional training and graduate students who are enrolled in academic programs at the University of Washington and other institutions in Washington State. Trainees complete clinical and didactic components to meet the requirements of our LEND program. Established community professionals also enroll in LEND to deepen their training in neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Long-term fellows engage in at least 300 hours of interdisciplinary training framed by an individual interdisciplinary leadership plan. The plan includes a leadership project, clinical experiences, public policy experience and a didactic program of core seminars intended to establish knowledge and skills based on individual needs and core training competencies. Long-term fellows present their projects at an annual forum and receive a certificate of recognition.

UW LEND is in its fifth decade. Former trainees hold leadership positions in academia, public health, community programs, and health care facilities across the nation. LEND has a major responsibility for continuing education and technical assistance in the state of Washington and the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) region.

UW LEND partners with major advocacy groups, programs affiliated with UW, Seattle Children's Hospital, State of Washington Title V programs, and community partners to implement a state-of-the-art curriculum.