1. MCH Workforce Development
  2. Funded Projects

Funded Projects

The University of Arizona Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Maternal and Child Health Training Program (ArizonaLEND)

Project Website

Grant Status: Active

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

Project Director(s):

Sydney A Rice, MD
College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
Division of Genetics and Developmental Pediatrics
University of Arizona
PO Box 245073
Tucson, AZ  85724
Phone: (520) 626-6548


Arizona has significant shortages of physicians and skilled allied health professionals with interdisciplinary training in the care of children with autism (ASD), neurodevelopmental and related disabilities (NDD), especially in tribal, frontier, rural, and underserved counties throughout the state.
Increasing the number of diverse, family-centered, culturally, and linguistically competent interdisciplinary providers to increase surveillance, screening, early detection, diagnosis, intervention, and transition from adolescent healthcare for individuals with ASD and NDD is a critical need. ArizonaLEND produces leaders and innovators in the field of ASD and NDD who are solidly grounded in their own disciplines and able to work collaboratively with colleagues in interdisciplinary settings. ArizonaLEND prepares trainees to anticipate, manage, and take advantage of changes in knowledge and health care delivery systems. ArizonaLEND provides high-quality intentional interdisciplinary leadership, clinical, research, education and community-based projects and collaborations to trainees from diverse professional disciplines and backgrounds addressing MCHB priorities to improve the clinical expertise, and leadership skills of professionals caring for and improving the health and well-being of children, adolescents, and adults with ASD and other NDD. ArizonaLEND provides intensive training on and community experience in policy and advocacy skill development to enable LEND graduates to address health equity and the inclusion of social justice principles into programs and practices.

Goals and Objectives:

The Arizona LEND will implement the following goals/aims:

  • Goal / Aim 1: Provide high quality in the care of individuals with ASD and NDD to a wide range of health and health related professionals, parents, self-advocates, individuals IDD, and family members of persons with lived experiences.
  • Goal / Aim 2: Reduce barriers to screening, diagnosis, intervention and access to equitable and appropriate primary care by training professionals to use appropriate tools and practices, increasing the percentage of professionals who are trained to assess, diagnose, treat and provide interventions for infants, young children and young adults with autism or other neurodevelopmental and related disorders.
  • Goal / Aim 3: Expand participation of LEND trainees and faculty in conducting and publishing research focused on intentional leadership skill development, early detection and diagnosis of children with ASD/DD, evidence-based practices and interventions, reduction of adverse childhood events and health disparities, collaboration on increasing smooth transitions from adolescent to adult healthcare.
  • Goal / Aim 4: Implement a collaborative Continuing Education training program that enhances workforce development and emphasizes community-based partnerships of health resources, community leadership and the promotion of innovative practice models in rural communities throughout Arizona.