1. MCH Workforce Development
  2. Funded Projects

Funded Projects


Grant Status: Completed

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

Project Director(s):

Sydney A Rice, MD
Assistant Professor, PI
Arizona Board of Regents
Pediatrics/College of Medicine
University of Arizona
Post Office Box 245073
Tucson, AZ  85724-5073
Phone: (520) 626-6615


Arizona has significant shortages of professionals with interdisciplinary training related to neurodevelopmental disabilities. This grant will support the capacity for implementation of a program of interdisciplinary leadership education & clinical expertise to develop leaders in ASD & MCH.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: Provide interdisciplinary leadership training in the care of persons with neurodevelopmental disabilities to a wide range of health professionals with emphasis on life course theory & improving care. Objective 1: Train leaders in the interdisciplinary care of persons with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and prepare them to facilitate smooth transitions from adolescent to adult healthcare Objective 2: Prepare long-term trainees to evaluate, design, and conduct research and other projects of regional and national significance related to the treatment of and evidence-based interventions for children with NDRDs. Objective 3: Increase cultural and ethnic diversity through new recruitment of qualified faculty and recruitment of culturally and ethnically diverse cohorts of long-term trainees. Goal 2: Stengthen the infrastructure and capacity for implementation of an Arizona LEND (AZLEND). Objective 1: The AZLEND training program will maintain a qualified faculty representing the disciplines required to implement the LEND goals and objectives throughout the funding period. Objective 2: Continuously, enhance the communication infrastructure through website design and maintenance and use of social networking sites to inform, recruit, and disseminate for AZLEND. Objective 3: Annually, disseminate research results in publications, presentations, or on the website, in order to enhance the knowledge of MCH professionals, locally, regionally and nationally. Goal 3: Plan, develop & implement a collaborative continuing education training program that emphasizes community-based partnership, community leadership and the promotion of innovative practice models. Objective 1: During Year 1, design a continuing education plan with a focus on rural and underserved communities to provide seminars twice annually to train professionals to utilize valid and relaiable screening tools to rule out or diagnose and provide evidence-based interventions for children with NDRDs. Objective 2: Conduct a needs assessment in Year 2 to ascertain the consultation and technical assistance demands in rural and underserved communities supporting children with NDRDs. Goal 4: Reinforce the infrastructure by increasing the percentage of professionals who are trained to assess, diagnose, treat & support infants, children & adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder. Objective 1: Annually recruit two medium-term trainees (pediatric residents, medical students or community physicians) whose primary interest is to increase proficiency in the evaluation of children with ASD. Objective 2: Provide these medium-term trainees with at least 150 hours of clinical experiences observing the evaluation of children with possible NDRDs with the ASD faculty in developmental pediatrics, child psychiatry and psychology.


AZLEND provides interdisciplinary leadership, clinical and didactic training addressing MCH priorities of life course theory, advanced clinical, cultural and linguistic competency, collaboration with community agenices, family-centered care, and the medical home concept. The graduate curriculum includes a three-day intensive leadership BOOST, a one-day conflict management seminar, a family mentorship project, lectures, discussions, large and small group activities, monthly leadership training, research, clinical supervision, and group projects. AZLEND conducts weekly interdisciplinary seminars which focus on the didactic core curriculum that addresses the nine core competencies that all long-term trainees are expected to meet. Case Studies are used to embed Life Course Theory into each weekly seminar topic. Required clinical hours include experiences in an interdisciplinary medical specialty clinic, a rural Hispanic border community health clinic, a clinic for children with ASD, Indian Health Services Clinics, a Newborn Intensive Care Unit & a dental clinic. A continuing education plan will be designed with a focus on the needs of rural and underserved communities, and, a website will be developed to enhance the communication infrastructure & provide materials, publications, and research results to trainees, faculty & MCH professionals, locally, regionally and nationally.


The U of A, ASU, NAU, AzUCD and the Sonoran UCEDD and the four U of A MCH Training Programs all collaborate on didactic and clinical seminars and research projects. As part of the Pac West Consortium, AZLEND and the Consortium collaborate on continuing education, TA & research; The AzUCD & Sonoran UCEDD directors particpate on the AZLEND Advisory Board & recommend short- & medium-term trainees; ADHS (Title V agency) participates on the AZLEND advisory board & provides program oversight.


AZLEND tracks trainee progress on Interdisciplinary Training & Activity Plan (ITAP); MCH Leadership Skills Self-Assessments (4 per year); Core Competencies; Didactic, Research, and Clinical activities; Diversity & Ethnicity of trainees; Diversity & Ethnicity of faculty; Collaboration with Arizona MCH Training Programs to strengthen & enhance trainee skills; Collaboration with AzUCD, Sonoran UCEDD & Pac West Consortium; percent of participants from underrepresented populations; and more.