The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program at Children’s prepares career-focused future leaders in the field of neurodevelopmental and related disabilities to address health and social needs. It aims to design, implement, evaluate, refine and disseminate innovative service, teaching and research activities for the care of children with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities (CND) and children with special health care needs (CSHCN), especially those of underrepresented, underserved populations.
Driven by best evidence-based practices, the LEND program achieves its purpose through state-of-the-art blended learning techniques, professional interdisciplinary and inter-institutional supervision and regional technical assistance in the form of direct population engagement. In addition, Children’s enables “scholar-practitioner” trainees and fellows to design and conduct clinical, community and translational research activities leading to the education and mentorships of others. All of this is accomplished in a professional environment that ensures both attention to and development of adult learner objectives that lead to career success.
Children’s LEND program serves as a “hub” of interdisciplinary activity on behalf of CND, CSHCN and their families within a consortium of Washington D.C., regional institutions including:
- Children’s National: A major academic children's medical institution
- Two schools of medicine: The George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences and Georgetown University School of Medicine
- Two universities specifically dedicated to the service of minorities: Howard University and Gallaudet University
- Two specialized elementary schools: Bright Beginnings, Inc. and the Ivymount School, each serving important minority and special needs children
- A unified city-wide task force of stakeholders dedicated specifically to ensuring success in combating autism in this region
The D.C. region is unique, diverse and the seat of many national organizations serving the special needs community. For this reason, the LEND program at Children’s has the capacity to serve children with CND, CSHCN and their families while also having a significant impact on the community through training, capacity building, technical assistance, and providing services. We believe it should serve as the nation’s model for an academic and community dedicated regional program.