Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) Program

The purpose of the Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) program at Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI)  is to improve the health of infants, children, and adolescents who have, or are at risk for developing, neurodevelopmental and other related disabilities.  The training program seeks to prepare trainees from a wide variety of professional disciplines to assume leadership roles and to ensure high levels of interdisciplinary clinical competence and a culturally diverse workforce. 

LEND program objectives include the following:  (1) advancing the knowledge and skills of the full range of child health professionals to improve health care delivery systems for children with developmental disabilities; (2) providing high-quality interdisciplinary education to health professionals which emphasizes the integration of services supported by State, local agencies, organizations, private providers and communities; (3) providing a wide range of health professionals with the skills needed to foster a community-based partnership of health resources and community leadership; (4) promoting innovative practice models that enhance cultural competency, partnerships among disciplines, and family-centered approaches to care; and (5) demonstrating that the proposed interdisciplinary training opportunities will increase diagnosis of, or rule out, individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. 

The LEND training program prepares interdisciplinary health professionals for the full range of childhood neurodevelopmental disabilities, and the new leadership roles they will play in the emerging health care system for children with special health care needs and their families.

The training program incorporates the following content to assure an adequate base of knowledge and experience. 

  • all aspects of neurodevelopmental and related disabilities
  • the social environment—the family, community, school
  • cultural competency and family-centered services;
  • life course and social determinants of health;
  • interdisciplinary team skills
  • systems of care delivery
  • leadership skills; and
  • communication skills.

LEND training utilizes all of the resources of the Kennedy Krieger Institute. The content of the training is planned and implemented by a faculty of national and international leaders in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities.  Trainees participate in didactic, clinical, community, and research experiences. They are afforded in-depth, continuing experiences across the full spectrum of developmental disabilities.  The training provides a balance of intra and interdisciplinary exposures.

LEND training is provided to trainees who represent the following disciplines: Audiology, Behavioral Psychology, Genetic counselors, Health Administration, Medicine, Nursing, Nutrition, Occupational Therapy,  Physical Therapy, Neuropsychology, Social Work, Special Education, Speech-Language Pathology. A distance learning course is being developed to enable parents of children with developmental disabilities to avail themselves of LEND training. View Training Disciplines for more information.

Graduates of the KKI LEND training program exhibit national leadership in academic, clinical public health practice, public policy and advocacy venues.