1. MCH Workforce Development
  2. Funded Projects

Funded Projects

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders Training Program

Grant Status: Completed

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

Project Director(s):

Kruti Acharya, MD
Department of Disability and Human Development
Institute on Disability and Human Development (M/C 626)
University of Illinois at Chicago
1640 West Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL  60608-6904
Phone: 312-413-1495


The IL LEND will address the increased need for MCH leaders working with children with special healthcare needs and their families through interdisciplinary training, strategic partnerships, community engagement, faculty professional development, and ongoing technical assistance and dissemination.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: Increase the number of professionals, family members, & self-advocates who provide services to diverse individuals with DD/ASD & their families through interdisciplinary education & mentorship. Objective 1: A minimum of 19 graduate-level students or recent graduates working in the field from the MCH LEND core disciplines and 3 family members/self-advocates will receive ID leadership and discipline specific clinical training at the advanced level (300+hours) during each year of the project. Objective 2: A minimum of 2 graduate-level students from the MCH LEND core disciplines will receive ID leadership and discipline specific clinical training of 500+ hours and tuition reimbursement during each year of the project. Objective 3: A minimum of 400 graduate students and professionals will participate in courses, lectures or independent study programs under the direction of Illinois MCH LEND faculty and staff on topics related to Illinois Title V priorities including ASD/DD. Goal 2: Increase the capacity of MCH professionals, administrators, families & self-advocates to address the health care needs of diverse populations of children with ASD/DD & related disabilities. Objective 1: Collaborate with the Illinois' TAP network (The Autism Program of Illinois) and the Arc of Illinois each year of the project to offer one state-wide continuing education conference focused on increasing the competency of current professionals in the area of ASD/DD. Objective 2: Collaborate with TAP, UIC national centers, and state and local organizations to conduct a minimum of 40 statewide and community training events addressing current topics/issues in ASD/DD for a minimum of 2,000 participants each year of the project. Objective 3: Develop 3 web modules (year 3), provide 10 telehealth activities per month (year 2) & 20/month (year 4), offer 4 ASD screening & referral training events per year, disseminate 75 resource materials on ASD identification, screening, evidence-based practice, & referral to PCPs & community providers. Goal 3: Develop & maintain capacity for the IL LEND initiative to provide state of the science training & TA by encouraging professional growth through a structured program of continuing education support. Objective 1: Provide LEND faculty and staff with a minimum of four continuing education events each year directly related to enhancing knowledge and skills in the core MCH LEND disciplines and/or ASD/DD. Objective 2: Conduct an IL LEND faculty/staff retreat each year for self-assessment, needs identification, and strategic plan evaluation to promote and maintain the highest quality MCH LEND training. Goal 4: Provide ongoing technical assistance to Title V and related local/regional/national organizations to promote the highest possible quality of MCH services for children with ASD/DD and their families. Objective 1: Provide a minimum of 2,000 hours of technical assistance, including parent to parent education, to a minimum of 500 parents, family members and advocates of children with autism and neurodevelopmental and related disabilities. Objective 2: Provide at least 750 hours of tailored TA & consultation to a minimum of 25 Title V or related agencies including The Autism Task Force, IL Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Easter Seals, DD Council, Equip for Equality, TAP Network Council, TAP Network Partners, & community agencies. Objective 3: Submit a minimum of 45 peer-reviewed journal articles, books or chapters over the course of the project regarding discoveries, clinical approaches, & evidence-based practice related to LEND priorities in developmental disabilities with special emphasis on autism related issues.


Interdisciplinary Leadership Training: didactic, clinical, community, experiences (e.g, Care Cood assignment, Med Home & Fam Home visit, ATU obs), & mentorship; Trainee research/leadership projects & participation in a policy/advocacy activities including involvement with key disability organizations & community agencies. Continuing & community ed (CE): hold regional CE program & statewide/community training events, develop web-based training modules & telehealth support sessions, and disseminate resource materials that address ASD/DD topics/issues & MCH Leadership competencies. Faculty development: provide faculty with professional development events, guest lectures by innovative researchers & practitioners in the DD/ASD field, and conduct annual faculty strategic planning retreat. TA & dissemination: TA provided to individuals, families, & agencies, products/publications developed & disseminated through our extensive network & our website.


Clinic sites: UIC Family Clinic, DSCC, The Autism Prog, Comer Ctr, Fellows Continuity Clinic, Advocate IL Masonic, La Rabida, Rush, SIU Ctr for ASD, Rehab Inst of Chi, Erikson Inst. Community sites: Grupo SALTO, Assistive Tech U, Great Lakes ADA Ctr, Direct Support Pro Initiative, Family Support 360, Sib Leadeship Network. Other: UIC MCHP, Ctr on Health Promo for Pple with Disab, Rehab Rsrch and Training Ctr on Lifespan Health and Fcn, Ctr for Capacity Building for Minorities with Disab Research


The evaluation plan outlined in grant application includes a timeline & persons responsible for data collection. PM data collection will be conducted in cooperation with MCHB and AUCD NIRS. The Director & Project Coordinator will have primary responsibility for program evaluation activities with assistance from the IDHD NIRS Data Coordinator & the evaluation consultant. All the faculty and trainees are required to provide data for the evaluation measures. An inde evaluator is also employed.