1. MCH Workforce Development
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Funded Projects

Vanderbilt Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities

Project Website

Grant Status: Completed

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

Project Director(s):

Evon B. Lee, PhD
Vanderbilt Consortium LEND Director
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
Vanderbilt University
One Magnolia Circle, Room 407B
Nashville, TN  37203
Phone: (615) 322-4487


Responding to the problem that health professionals are not adequately trained to provide care to children and youth with ASD and related disabilities, the Vanderbilt LEND's purpose is to improve the health of these children by preparing trainees to assume leadership roles in the field of MCH.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: Increase the number of interdisciplinary professionals prepared to assume leadership roles in the field of Maternal & Child Health, with special emphasis on ASD and related developmental disabilities. Objective 1: Recruit and train16 long-term graduate and/or postdoctoral trainees from 13 disciplines, including one family trainee, yearly. Objective 2: Train 40 medium-term graduate-level trainees yearly. Objective 3: Train 1,500 short-term trainees yearly. Goal 2: Plan, implement, and evaluate an interdisciplinary graduate leadership program, yearly. Objective 1: Provide a graduate leadership program with foci on life course, interdisciplinary, family-centered, community-coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent, empirically based services for maternal and child populations, especially those with ASD and related developmental disabilities. Objective 2: Utilize technology to support learning. Objective 3: Partner with colleagues to provide diverse training opportunities. Goal 3: Increase the capacity of practicing professionals to provide quality health care to children with ASD and related disabilities through professional and/or continuing education. Objective 1: In collaboration with the TN Department of Health, MCH, develop, implement, and evaluate 10 statewide distance training sessions for Title V employees yearly. Objective 2: Provide two advanced screening/diagnostic training sessions (STAT-MD) to prepare practicing physicians to reduce barriers to screening and diagnosis of ASD yearly. Objective 3: Collaborate with other Southeast Regional Consortium LENDs to provide distance continuing education to practicing professionals. Goal 4: Provide technical assistance to families, community organizations, and state agencies to promote quality health care for children with ASD and related disabilities. Objective 1: In collaboration with University of Tennessee Boling Center UCEDD and LEND, provide technical assistance and leadership to the Tennessee Act Early Team, with an ultimate goal of positively contributing to a coordinated system of care for children and youth with ASD and related disabilities. Objective 2: Provide technical assistance to community agencies, state, or national organizations. Goal 5: Disseminate information on ASD and other disabilities to diverse audiences. Objective 1: Disseminate information about ASD and other developmental disabilities to diverse audiences in both English and Spanish. Objective 2: Disseminate information through a variety of modalities.


Long term trainees complete an Individual Training Plan to determine core competency rating. Training includes didactic, clinical, research, family, community, leadership, and advocacy experiences and local/national networking opportunities. Long term trainees participate in a group project to develop interdisciplinary skills; a family mentoring experience to gain cultural and family-centered care experience; in planning and implementing an interdisciplinary case discussion for intermediate trainees. Weekly core seminars (recorded & available on wiki) are held with expanded content related to diversity, genetics, neurology, and co-occurring conditions. Monthly Leadership Seminar will use on-going case situations to teach leadership skills. Continuing ed credit is given including STAT-MD training (early autism detection) for community pediatricians. Wiki is used for communication, with related blogs & discussion threads. MCH/DOH presentations are streamed and links available on wiki for asynchronous viewing. Simulations are used to promote clinical training and a telemedicine project (audiology) is being developed as basis for service, training, research. We will host quarterly TN Act Early Team meetings, coordinate interim activities, and disseminate results. We will produce and disseminate information (print, electronic, oral media) including family & professional educational products, presentations, publications, research findings & clinical advances, to various audiences.


Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (UCEDD, IDDRC, TRIAD-ATN)-research, training, comm. outreach collaboration. Meharry Medical College, TN State Univ, Belmont Univ, UT - collaborators in implementing training program. TN Dept. of Health, MCH-monthly streamed statewide presentations. TN Disabilty Coalition-collaborate on annual conference; provides family faculty member. UT Boling Center DD-co-host Autism Summits (TN Act Early team) & other activities. SE Regional Consortium & CCTC-AUCD regional networks.


LEND utilizes the Stuffelbeam evaluation model that assesses context, input, process, & products. A major feature of evaluation is the extent to which trainees attain competencies spelled out in an Individualized Training Plan (completed pre- & post-training). Trainee evaluation data is collected every April, and at 1, 5, & 10 years post-program completion, focusing on the increase in individuals meeting the needs of persons with DD & number of trainees holding leadership positions in MCH.