1. MCH Workforce Development
  2. Funded Projects

Funded Projects

Leadership Training in Autism Spectrum Disorders and other Developmental

Project Website

Grant Status: Completed

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

Project Director(s):

Aubyn Stahmer, PhD
Project Director
University of California, Davis
1 Shields Avenue
Davis, CA  95616
Phone: (916) 703-0254


Due to the unique qualities of Northern California, services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders or other developmental disabilities (ASD/DD) and their families are extremely limited. The area, covering approximately 66,000 square miles and 14.5 million people, is largely rural and agricultural and characterized by a culturally diverse population, significant poverty, and marked health disparities. There is no ethnic majority group, and large numbers of residents are immigrants or migrant workers for whom the language of the family is not English. Health services for children and youth with ASD/DD are clustered in children's hospitals in the urban areas that make up the southern border of this region - San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento. With very few training programs in the region in the core disciplines that support children with ASD/DD and their families - PT, OT, ST, clinical psychology, child psychiatry, developmental and behavioral pediatrics among others -- and state budget cuts that have reduced health and service funding for ASD/DD, too many families are inadequately diagnosed and inadequately treated and often must travel hundreds of miles to find specialists. The region needs a LEND program that will train the next generation of practitioners in current best practices in diagnosis and treatment and collaborative interdisciplinary, family-centered, culturally competent care. To improve the health and treatment of children with ASD/DD and their families, the next generation of practitioners also needs leadership skills, to increase capacity of the care delivery systems and develop new models of care provision, and they must have an unwavering commitment to high quality, evidence-based services. In short, they must be visionary leaders. This application proposes the NorCal LEND Program, coordinated at the MIND Institute, a research, clinical, and training setting focused on ASD/DD and administered by the University of California, Davis (UCD) Medical Center, which serves the northern California region. A highly experienced, diverse interdisciplinary faculty from UCD and California State University Sacramento (CSUS) propose an innovative training program for short, medium, and long-term trainees to develop their leadership skills and better meet the health and treatment needs of children with ASD/DD and their families using empirically supported practices in interdisciplinary, family centered, culturally competent care. 1