LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities) is an interdisciplinary leadership training program, funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the federal government at 52 sites.

The LEND Program at WIHD is a two-semester interdisciplinary leadership training program. LEND trainees include graduate students and post-doctoral fellows; self-advocates; and family members of children and adults with disabilities. Through participating in LEND, trainees develop knowledge and skills they will need to become leaders working with and on behalf of children with disabilities and other special health care needs, and their families, to improve health outcomes and decrease disparities.

The LEND Curriculum consists of three courses:

Overview of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and Systems of Care (NDSC)
Course Director: Jenean Castillo, PhD
Course Description: NDSC Course Description 2020-2021

Seminar in Evidence-Based Methods (SEBM)
Course Director: Jenna Lequia, PhD
Course Description: SEBM Course Description 2020-2021

Interdisciplinary Leadership in Action (ILA)
Course Director: Jenean Castillo, PhD
Course Description:ILA Course Description 2020-2021


Introduction to the MCH Competencies

At the beginning of the LEND year, LEND introduces trainees to the MCHB Leadership Competencies through a series of interactive learning activities. These activities include a session during which trainees read each competency and share their comments, questions, reflections, connections, and summaries in relation to the competencies. In teams, they create a document called “MCH Competencies in Our Own Words”. Trainees review a sample of well-known leadership quotes, chose a quote that they personally connect with and explain how the quote relates to the MCH competencies, as well as to their hopes/dreams for their own leadership. To learn more about these activities and to see samples of the trainees’ work, go to https://mchb.hrsa.gov/training/leadership-00.asp

Introduction to Leadership

This series of interactive learning activities asks trainees to reflect on the concept of leadership. The learning activities targeted MCH Competency 2 (Self-Reflection and MCH Competency 3 (Ethics and Professionalism). Trainees self-reflect, read literature, engage in conversations with colleagues, watch a short video, and create a visual representation of themselves as leaders. To learn more about these activities and to see samples of the trainees’ work, go to http://www.aucd.org/itac/template/strategy.cfm?id=142.

Leadership Quotes

Student Work: Communication

cultural competency LEND project

Student Work: Cultural Competency

LEND trainees

Leadership Competencies Activity

Values in Disabilities Book Discussion

In order to work effectively with and on behalf of children and adults with disabilities and family members, leaders must develop skills for and commitment to being attuned to the viewpoint, rights and perspectives of people with disabilities and their families. This assignment is one of several LEND experiences designed to help trainees accomplish this goal. Over the summer, trainees, faculty, and others read one of a selected group of books by or about people with disabilities, guided by the “Values in Disabilities Book Assignment”. During a LEND session at the beginning of the year, they discuss their assigned books. To see our book collection and learn more about this leadership activity, click here.

books for Value in Disabilities book discussion

Values in Disabilities Book Collection

LEND trainees talking with LEND faculty member

The Values In Disabilities Group Discussion

Life Course Theory and Social Determinants of Health

LEND Trainees at WIHD are learning how to apply knowledge of Life Course Theory and Social Determinants of Health to their work with children with disabilities and their families. One of the learning experiences is a session in which LEND trainees play the “Life Course Game” and debrief their experiences with the game. For additional information about using the Life Course Game as a teaching and learning tool, click here.

For additional strategies on incorporating Life Course Theory into the LEND curriculum,  click here.

Additional resources concerning Life Course Theory can be found at the AUCD Life Course Perspective webpage (click here).

life course theory board game

Life Course Board Game

LEND trainees playing board game

Trainees playing the Life Course Board Game

Disability Policy Seminar

LEND Trainees visits Capitol Hill as part of their experience at the Annual Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, DC.

LEND trainees at the Capitol Building

LEND trainees at the Capitol Building

LEND trainees visiting with NY Senator Charles Schumer

LEND trainees with Senator Charles Schumer

LEND trainees meeting with Representative Nita Lowey

LEND trainees meeting with Representative Nita Lowey’s office

LEND Trainee Presentations to State Level Partners

LEND trainees make an impact by sharing the results of their research at an annual meeting with representatives from the Department of Health in Albany and other state-level partners.

two women talhttps://wihd.org/wp-admin/fusion_imageking with LEND trainees via computer

LEND Trainees participating from Puerto Rico

LEND trainees presenting poster

LEND trainee presenting to state-level partners

LEND trainees and faculty presenting a poster

LEND trainee groups present their research posters in Albany

LEND Trainee Graduation and Poster Session

At the poster session, LEND trainees and faculty share their research findings.

SEBM team presenting their research project

LEND trainees and faculty from the University of Puerto Rico presenting their research project

LEND Class of 2019

LEND Research Posters

During the Seminar in Evidence-Based Methods (SEBM) course, students participate in a 68-hour, 2-semester course with a combination of didactic sessions, evidence-based interdisciplinary team projects, and oral and poster presentations. All teams engage a community partner at the local, state or national level as a project collaborator. The year culminates with poster and oral presentations in Albany with the New York State Department of Health and locally at WIHD. Below are the posters created by the LEND class of 2019.

Assessing Cultural and Linguistic Competency of a Disability Organization
Trainees: Fallon Hughes, Ava Iannitti, Naydine Johney, PsyD, Latha Thanati MBBS
Faculty: Jenean Castillo, PhD
View Poster

Using Telehealth to Provide Early Intervention
Trainees: Amy Lee, Psy.D., Shirin Oumarova, Chelsea Payraudeau, Jamil Samkari, M.D, MPH
Faculty: Jenna Lequia, Ph.D.
View Poster

Assessing Educator Perceptions and Needs Regarding Guardianship and Supported Decision Making
Trainees: Zoey Calderon­Weinstein, Becky Cook, Trudy Fenster, & Sharon Williams,
Faculty: Tricia Patrick, DrPH
View Poster

A Profile of Young Children in Westchester County Foster Care
Trainees: Kim Brennan, Lauren Frank BS, Lauren Kennish, Lara Perkins, Jacklyn Rukaj MA, Ed.S, Vini Zaninovic BA,
Faculty: Trupti Rao, Psy.D., Beth Reiman, Ph.D.,LCSW
View Poster

Assessment of Preparedness and Response to Natural Disasters in Families with Children with Suspected or Diagnosed Developmental Disabilities
Trainees: Bernice Ortiz-Velez and Gabriela Miranda-Rodriguez
Faculty: Dr. Carol Salas-Pagan, Ms. Ilia Torres-Avillan, Dr. Maria Reyes-Medina, Dr. Mario Rodriguez-Sanchez
View Poster

A Longitudinal Study of Children with Early ASD Diagnoses: Prediction from Early Developmental Scores, Age at Diagnosis, and Amount of Early Intervention
Trainees: Ally Abbott, Maya Afruzi, Marlana Barrasso, Lindsay Brown, Amanda Hernandez, and Taralynn Vecchio
Faculty: Patricia Towle, PhD and Nicole Turygin, PhD
View Poster