1. MCH Workforce Development
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Funded Projects

Arkansas Regional Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Project

Grant Status: Completed

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

Project Director(s):

Jill Fussell, MD
Pediatrics / College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
4301 W. Markham Street, Slot 512-30
Little Rock, AR  72205-7199
Phone: (501) 364-3866


As many as 15-18% of children have developmental and/or behavioral problems. This grouping includes autism spectrum disorders, which impact one out of 145 children in the state. Too few health professionals have the necessary skills to diagnose and intervene.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: The project will advance the knowledge and skills of the full range of child health professionals to improve health care delivery systems for children with developmental disabilities, including autis. Objective 1: The project will recruit, select, and train 26 long-term trainees and 8 intermediate trainees from 14 core disciplines each year. Objective 2: Each year, 26 trainees will complete a curriculum that includes leadership development, research skills, and MCH Knowledge content, such as disease prevention, culturally competent and family-centered care, advocacy for vulnerable populations, and coordination of systems of care. Objective 3: Each year, 15% of trainees will come from undeserved populations. Goal 2: Provide high-quality interdisciplinary education to professionals which emphasizes the integration of services supported by State, local agencies, organizations, private providers and communities Objective 1: Through participation in clinical activities, each trainee will annually develop three treatment plans that connect families with community resources. Objective 2: Each year, 26 trainees will develop skills in child advocacy and will demonstrate those skills by participating in an advocacy activity. Objective 3: The project will increase the knowledge of Title V personnel by annually providing two interdisciplinary continuing education courses on selected topics to 50 Title V and related personnel in Arkansas and neighboring states using the state's Interactive Video System or Web-based instruction. Goal 3: The project will provide a wide range of health professionals with the skills needed to foster a community-based partnership of health resources and community leadership Objective 1: Each long-term LEND trainee will complete a leadership capstone project with the Title V agency or a community-based organization by the end of the training year. Objective 2: Trainees will help plan and conduct at least one community-based health screening each year.. Objective 3: Trainees will help plan and conduct at least one community-based health fair each year. Goal 4: The project will promote innovative practice models that enhance cultural competency, partnerships among disciplines, and family-centered approaches to care. Objective 1: The project will annually increase trainee and local professional knowledge of components of the Medical Home model (including cultural competence, family-centered cared, and coordination of services). Objective 2: The project will annually increase the value placed on family-centered care by trainees and local professionals. Objective 3: The project will annually increase the understanding of cultural diversity and the cultural competency of trainees. Goal 5: The project will improve the diagnosis and differential diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disabilities (ND) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in client populations. Objective 1: By the end of each year, Increase the skills of LEND trainees necessary to diagnose ND and ASD. Objective 2: To increase the knowledge and skills of LEND trainees in identifying ASD as co-morbid with other developmental or neurological disabilities by the end of each year.


All trainees receive experiences in model interdisciplinary, culturally appropriate, family-centered, community-based clinical services, formal instruction in a core curriculum in neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and additional instruction in clinical research, program development, and program evaluation. LEND faculty and trainees provide inservice training, consultation and technical assistance to Title V programs and other community providers, with special attention to programs in underserved areas. Working with others in the Department of Pediatrics, the faculty will develop a curriculum for community providers that will lead to competence in diagnosis and identification of autism spectrum disorders.


The LEND program will provide training to Title V and other community-based professionals and technical assistance to those agencies to build capacity through grant writing, needs assessments, program development, and evaluation. The Autism Treatment Network, Daughters of Charity Services of Arkansas and Arkansas Children's Hospital are clinical partners providing coordination, recruitment of patients, clinicians, and researchers to work with the LEND faculty and trainees.


The key evaluation measure will be the trainee follow-up survey, which will be collected one, five, and ten years after trainees complete the program. This survey will determine the percentage of trainees serving a maternal and child health population and the percentage demonstrating field leadership. The program will use a pre and post test with trainees. Individualized Training Plans will document the extent to which trainees meet core competencies.