1. MCH Workforce Development
  2. Funded Projects

Funded Projects

USC California LEND (CA-LEND) at CHLA

Project Website

Grant Status: Completed

Training Category: Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND)

Project Director(s):

Douglas L. Vanderbilt, MD
University of Southern California at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
4650 Sunset Boulevard, Mail Stop #53
Los Angeles, CA  90027
Phone: (323) 361-6994


As the number of children with or at risk for neurodevelopmental disabilities in CA rises, so does the need for leaders across disciplines who achieve interdisciplinary clinical and research leadership competencies, knowledge of the service systems and skills to advocate and create systems change.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: To meet the needs in California for leadership training in systems of health care for, children with, or at risk for, neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and their families. Objective 1: To train more than 23 (a minimum of 115 total) long-term trainees, and 45-50 medium and short-term trainees, in a minimum of 11 disciplines, to meet identified CA-LEND competencies. Objective 2: To enhance university-based pre-service professional training programs by providing 10 or more courses per year focusing on emerging issues, research findings, health care and/or health care systems for children with, or at risk for, neurodevelopmental and related disabilities. Objective 3: To provide interdisciplinary team training experiences in serving children with, or at risk for, neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and their families in the CA-LEND core clinic, other CA-LEND interdisciplinary clinics and at least 10 other hospital clinics and community-based programs. Goal 2: To meet the existing and projected interdisciplinary professional training needs through provision of continuing education and technical assistance, based upon evidence-based practices. Objective 1: To develop and implement educational training events focusing on the 6 UCEDD/CA-LEND programmatic focus areas at least 25 per year (5 with a focus on ASD) and 100 total, five per year utilizing distance-learning and other Web-based technology. Objective 2: To strengthen community-based services, and enhance trainee exposure to understanding service systems, by responding to at least 100 (20 ASD-related) statewide and national TA/consultation requests, and by serving on at least 50 (5 ASD-related) committees, task forces and advisory boards per year. Goal 3: To stimulate critical thinking among the CA-LEND faculty and trainees, generate new knowledge in the MCH field, and promote knowledge to practice in response to evidence-based practice and research. Objective 1: To assure that all long-term trainees at the doctoral and post-doctoral level complete a research project leading to a submission for publication to a peer-reviewed journal; projects by fellows on the Autism Fellows' Team (AFT) focus on ASD issues. Objective 2: To assure that all CA-LEND Leadership Projects include a component related to evidence-based research and/or evaluation; fellows on the AFT must include a focus on ASD. Objective 3: To develop and disseminate nationally, at least 25 publications per year (5 ASD related) delivered via the USC UCEDD Web page, presentations at state/national conferences, professional publications, peer-reviewed journals and/or other dissemination strategies. Goal 4: To promote systems change for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, in CA, by strengthening training and advocacy partnerships with local, regional and national Title V and related programs. Objective 1: To assure that all CA-LEND long-term trainee Leadership Projects include training activities related to MCH policy and advocacy; projects by fellows on the AFT must focus on ASD issues. Objective 2: The CA-LEND will continue to collaborate with all LEND training programs in the 13 western states, meeting via teleconference at least every other month, and face-to-face twice yearly, to leverage our resources for the purposes of research, training, advocacy and research. Objective 3: The CA-LEND will propose, during the first year of the granting period, to establish a California MCH Training Collaborative, consisting of all MCHB-funded training programs in the state for the purpose of working together to effect systems change related to MCH issues.


The interdisciplinary core curriculum provides the basis for most of the activities that fulfill the training objective s, which include 10 CA-LEND leadership competencies: Ethical and Professional Conduct, Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities, Interdisciplinary Team Building, Public Policy, Health Care Systems and Communities, Critical Thinking, Leadership, Family-centered and Culturally Competent Care, Communication, Teaching and Mentoring, Discipline Specific Skills. Acquisition of competencies is tracked using individualized leadership training plans. A system of center-based, hospital-based, and community-based clinical and other training sites provides the setting to meet pre-service training needs. Additional pre-service education is furnished through university lectures and courses at the affiliating institutions. Continuing education workshops, seminars and distance learning activities, especially focused on our programmatic areas of expertise- leadership education, prevention and early intervention, access to care, children at risk- autism are provided at local, state, regional and national levels, often in partnership with our Title V and other collaborators. Research and other scholarly projects are developed through interdisciplinary and interagency collaboration, to direct systems change activities. Program products are disseminated through workshops, professional meetings and publication in professional journals.


Collaboration with California Medical Services ranges from joint service delivery and training, to provision of technical assistance at State and County levels, to developing grant proposals to respond to Title V needs. We collaborate with PacWest LEND Consortium and other MCHB leadership training programs in Los Angeles and California. Title V collaboration starts at home with the LA County Department of Public Health and nationally goes beyond the western region.


Both process (monitoring progress toward meeting the time-framed and measurable objectives) and outcome criteria are used to evaluate the effectiveness of the training program. Long-term follow-up surveys are used to document the outcomes/impact of our graduates and our on-going activities on health status, systems change and advancement of the knowledge base of the field.