Mailman Center LEND Grant Renewed for Fifth Time

The Mailman Center for Child Development has been awarded a grant for $4.3 million over five years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Training Program. LEND is directed by Jeffrey Brosco, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics, and Danny Armstrong, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of pediatrics and director of the Mailman Center, where the program has been federally funded for more than 19 years.

For the second five-year cycle, the Mailman Center earned the top score (103 on a scale of 100) among all applicants on its LEND grant renewal application. The training program prepares future leaders to apply advanced clinical knowledge and skills to maternal and child populations that have, or are at risk for, neurodevelopmental and related disabilities.

“It is an honor to work with such a dedicated group of faculty and staff, and to know that we are making a difference for families and their children with developmental disabilities,” said Brosco, noting that the Mailman Center has provided federally funded, interdisciplinary leadership training in developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders for more than 45 years. This is the fifth renewal of the grant.

Each year, about 80 long-term trainees, more than 50 percent of whom are underrepresented minorities, and representing 12 disciplines (including parent leaders), are educated through LEND. As they pursue the requirements of their particular discipline—such as residency training in pediatrics, a master’s degree in social work, or an internship in clinical psychology—trainees also meet core LEND competencies for research, family-centered care, interdisciplinary team work, and cultural competency. Most recently, the Mailman Center LEND program added curriculum for the early identification of and intervention in autism spectrum disorders.

The Mailman Center is able to provide LEND training to so many individuals because it leverages about $26 million in funding from 13 organizations, including the state Title V program, the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, and the National Institutes of Health. The program’s success is demonstrated in the long-term outcomes of trainees: after five years of training, 85 percent work in maternal-child health fields and most demonstrate evidence of leadership and interdisciplinary practice.

Over the next five years, LEND will continue the training program while adding two new components based on a life-course model of health to address transition to adult systems of care for youth with developmental disabilities, and systems of care for children with autism spectrum disorders. The program also plans to incorporate a year-long leadership training program for a select group of trainees, family advocates, and established community providers to focus on changing local systems of care.

“Under Dr. Brosco’s leadership, the outstanding faculty representing many different disciplines have developed sustaining and cutting-edge opportunities for training,’’ Dr. Armstrong said. “This makes the Mailman Center a place that individuals in South Florida, around the United States, and even other countries look to for innovation and excellence.”

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