1. MCH Workforce Development
  2. Funded Projects

Funded Projects

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities

Grant Status: Completed

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

Project Director(s):

Dianne M McBrien, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Center for Disabilities and Development
University of Iowa
100 Hawkins Drive RM 148 CDD
Iowa City, IA  52242
Phone: (319) 356-7044


More pre-service training is necessary to increase the number of healthcare professionals who are adequately prepared to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities (including autism) and to improve access to healthcare services in rural states like Iowa.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: Increase the number of future leaders in healthcare to improve services for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders Objective 1: Each year, train and evaluate a minimum of 18 trainees in at least nine disciplines, using MCH Leadership Competencies and Performance Measures to guide curricular activities. Objective 2: Trainees will participate in at least 250 hours of interdisciplinary clinical work, including developmental evaluations Objective 3: Trainees will participate in at least 200 hours of community activities which will include experiences with early screening and diagnosis, cultural competence, family-centered care, community and rural healthcare services, systems improvement and policy development. Goal 2: Improve cultural competence and diversity of ILEND faculty and trainees Objective 1: Increase the percentage of ILEND trainees and faculty from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to 10%, through innovative recruitment efforts/partnerships with programs including the Center for Diversity (CDE) and Enrichment, the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) and Upward Bound. Objective 2: Each year, provide at least four community training opportunities in cultural competence for faculty and trainees by working with the CDE, SROP and Upward Bound Objective 3: Each year provide at least three seminars related to issues of cultural competence for trainees/faculty. Goal 3: Advance the knowledge and skills of community providers to improve healthcare delivery systems for children with developmental disabilities, including ASD. Objective 1: Provide at least 100 technical assistance and 75 continuing education activities to healthcare providers and families each year. Objective 2: Each year, five faculty and/or trainees will develop poster presentations for local, state and national conferences, including the Iowa Governor's Conference on Public Health. Objective 3: Each year faculty and trainees will develop at least ten new educational products to disseminate to local, state and national providers and families


Each year, 18 long-term ILEND trainees will be assigned to a faculty mentor and to a family who has a child with a disability. These trainees will spend at least 500 hours attending didactic seminars, interacting in the homes of families who have children with disabilities, participating in interdisciplinary clinical work, and interacting with community providers and university programs in order to learn about developmental disabilities (including autism), leadership, family-centered care, cultural competence, social determinants of health, policy, advocacy, underserved populations, provision of community services, and access to healthcare, particularly in rural communities. Partnering programs include the REACH program (post-secondary education); Upward Bound and Summer Research Opportunities Program (working with underserved populations); Title V and Iowa Primary Care Clinics (working with rural and underserved populations). The ILEND curriculum is designed using MCH Leadership Competencies and Performance Measures as a guide and all activities and assignments are matched to these competencies and measures. Working in conjunction with their faculty members, trainees will also have opportunities to participate in research activities, provide seminar and conference presentations for community providers and families, assist with technical assistance activities, and create educational products for dissemination to families and other providers.


ILEND collaborates with Iowa's Title V program, the IA Primary Care Assoc., the post-secondary education program (REACH), Upward Bound, the Center for Diversity and Enrichment and several UI Colleges including Public Health, Medicine and Dentistry. Trainees receive experience in the areas of family-centered care, cultural competence, social determinants of health, policy, underserved populations, community services, and access to healthcare. ILEND is also part of the Midwest LEND Consortium.


Trainees' clinical skills and mastery of MCH leadership competencies are assessed using pre- post- and retrospective assessments; clinical work will be evaluated by clinical faculty, and simulated patient evaluations. A web survey will be administered to trainees at the end of the program. The web surveys, assessments, and 1, 5 and 10 year outcomes will be reviewed by program faculty to evaluate the effectiveness of our program and to make updates and revisions to the program curriculum.