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Funded Projects

Alaska LEND Without Walls

Project Website

Grant Status: Completed

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

Project Director(s):

Karen Ward, EdD
Professor of Psychology
University of Alaska at Anchorage
3702 Gambell Street
Anchorage, AK  99508-2836
Phone: 907-272-8270
FAX: 907-274-4802


Access to health services for youth with ASD/DD in Alaska is challenged by shortages across the prof workforce. AK challenges are magnified by the diversity and their wide dispersion across the vast landmass of AK. Project will provide distance delivered interdisciplinary leadership education.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: Advance the knowledge & skills of the full range of health & other professionals to improve healthcare delivery systems for underserved youth with ASD/DD in rural & frontier communities in AK. Objective 1: Maintain faculty in 9 disciplines; Objective 2: Train 12 (LTTs); 5 (MTTs); and 15 (STTs) each year: Objective 3: Provide a comprehensive distance-delivered curriculum Goal 2: Provide high quality interdisciplinary, leadership educ to health & other professionals which stress the integration of services supported by state & local agencies, private providers & communities. Objective 1: Maintain a partnership and collaboration with the Alaska Title V Agency Objective 2: Offer at least 15 CE & short-term in-service trainings per year Objective 3: Provide at least 10 TA activities and projects Goal 3: Provide a range of health & other professionals working in rural & frontier communities in AK with the skills needed to foster a community-based partnership of health resources & community leadership. Objective 1: Offer an array of community-based and clinical/practica Objective 2: Provide all trainees with curricula on a range of resources Objective 3: Ensure family and youth involvement Goal 4: Promote innovative practice models that enhance cultural competency, partnerships among disciplines, and family-centered approaches to care. Objective 1: Provide at least 6 didactic and practica experiences in interdisciplinary, family-centered care. Objective 2: Provide at least 6 didactic and practica experiences related to practice in culturally and linguistically diverse rural and frontier communities. Objective 3: Train at least 15 (STTs) preceptors to provide practica experiences demonstrating delivery of culturally competent and family-centered. Goal 5: Provide interdisciplinary training opportunities to build capacity to evaluate, diagnose or rule out, develop, and provide evidence-based interventions to individuals with ASD/DD. Objective 1: Provide 8 didactic and practica experiences on the rigorous use of screening assessment tools, diagnostic tools and processes in ASD/DD. Objective 2: Provide 8 didactic and practica experiences on evidence-based interventions for children/youth with ASD/DD. Objective 3: Provide research and new project development activities that promote innovative practice models to increase service capacity for children/youth with ASD/DD in rural and frontier communities.


Didactic instruction will be distance delivered & clinical experience in rural community settings will be provided. A variety of teaching strategies: discussion, role playing, self-reflection, working directly with parents of youth with ASD/DD, team work, & developing products will be used. LTTs will complete at least 300 hrs of training & meet requirements in leadership, family & culture; interdisciplinary & community-based services; public health & emerging issues; research; & technology. LTTs will participate in a rural outreach a neuro-developmental assessment clinic & be paired with a host family of a child with a DD/ASD. Workshops will be conducted 3 times per year. Continuing education offerings through a variety of mechanisms, including video teleconferencing, conferences, & seminars to reach professionals in AK, are planned based on a recent needs assessment, & through collaboration with the PacWest LEND consortium. Technical assistance & collaborative projects will be planned & conducted with faculty, the Title V Agency & other state/community agencies that have an impact on health/human service providers & administrators in public & private agencies all over AK. Recruitment efforts will focus on recruiting trainees who represent the diversity of AK's population. The recruitment goal is that at least half of each year's LLT cohort will reside in rural communities. LTTs will receive a stipend & a Workforce Credential from UAA upon completion of the program.


Title V Agency, Alaska Native Medical Center, Alaska DD Council, Providence Hospital, Office of Children Services and Early Intervention/Infant Learning programs, Stone Soup Group, FASD diagnostic clinics, All Alaska Pediatrics Partnership, and Division of Senior and Disability Services will provide clinical and field experiences and participate as members of the Advisory Board.


Continuous feedback from LTTs, faculty, & preceptors will be used to make revisions. Data collection includes: registration forms; pre & post self-assessment of clinical abilities by LTTs; completion of individualized leadership training plans; quarterly comments on performance; review of evaluations of all training; semi-annual group debriefing sessions for trainees; & centralized tracking of achievements & activities of core & affiliate faculty; follow-up surveys of LTTs at 1, 5, & 10 years.