1. MCH Workforce Development
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Funded Projects

California-Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (CA-LEND) Training Program

Project Website

Grant Status: Active

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

Project Director(s):

Douglas L. Vanderbilt, MD
Children's Hospital Los Angeles
4650 Sunset Blvd., MS 97
Los Angeles, CA  90027
Phone: (323) 361-6994


CA-LEND responds to a critical need to enhance collaborative efforts to train professionals, across disciplines, to improve systems of care that respond to life course needs and growing health disparities among MCH populations, in particular those of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Developmental Disabilities (DD), and other special healthcare needs.

Goals and Objectives:

CA-LEND seeks to optimize the health status of children with ASD/DD and their families by providing training, service, research, dissemination and advocacy. Goals and key objectives include: 1) Interdisciplinary leadership training of at least 145 long-term (29 per year in a minimum of 12 disciplines) and 225 medium/short term trainees using a variety of approaches, including distance learning, 2) Continuing education - 25 events/year (5 ASD-related, 3 virtual/in-person) and Technical Assistance - responding to a minimum of 25 (5 ASD-related) requests /year, 3) Research/Evaluation and Dissemination to promote knowledge to practice to enhance the life course trajectories of children with ASD/DD through training and a minimum of 50 products (5 related to ASD), and 4) Collaboration/Systems Change by strengthening training and advocacy partnerships, especially CDC Act Early Initiative, Autism CARES goals, Title V programs in LA, CA and the West. Activities: CA-LEND core curriculum is a competency-based program of didactics and clinical training based on the MCH leadership competencies and aligned with MCHB Workforce strategic goals. Training sites are based in the behavioral health center, hospital and community including ASD assessment and treatment clinics. Workshops, seminars and distance learning activities are proposed at multiple levels, often in partnership with our collaborators. Research and other scholarly projects are also developed through interdisciplinary and interagency collaboration, driven by needs identified via community advisors (parents/ professionals). Systems change is driven in collaboration with stakeholders and other training programs at state, regional and nation levels.


Collaborators with CA-LEND include: Title V (State, LA County); CA MCH Leadership Training Network; PacWest LEND Consortium, CHLA/USC researchers, CA UCEDDs, CHLA MCH Collaborative, AUCD, Autism CARES grantees (AIR-P; AIR-B; Autism Speaks; Autism Treatment Network; other NIH grants).


Both process (monitoring progress toward meeting the time-framed and measurable objectives) and outcome criteria, including the Performance Measures, will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Follow-up surveys will document the outcomes/impact of our graduates in the MCH field. Annotation: CA, a populous state faces huge MCH health/services disparities. The purpose of CA-LEND is to produce MCH leaders in the fields ASD/DD, to enhance the life course trajectories of children and their families, with a focus on the geographic distant and underserved through advances in MCH competencies, evidence-based practice, research, evaluation, and dissemination, and systems change. Goals will be achieved through leadership training, CE/TA, research/evaluation and systems change. Activities focus on building collaborative partnerships: locally, state-wide and nationally to leverage the resources of the program.