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Funded Projects

Arkansas Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND)

Project Website

Grant Status: Active

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

Project Director(s):

Jill Fussell, MD
Pediatrics / College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
4301 W. Markham Street
Little Rock, AR  72205
Phone: (501) 364-3866


As many as 15-18% of children have developmental problems, including a number of specific conditions, including autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which impacts one out of 66 children in the state. Too few health professionals in Arkansas have the necessary skills to diagnose and intervene with children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities (ASD/DD).

Goals and Objectives:

The purpose of this project is to improve the lives of individuals who have, or are at risk for developing, ASD/DD in Arkansas by educating and training future leaders in healthcare, research, and advocacy. Goal 1: This project will improve the competencies and capabilities of LEND trainees related to the complex needs of individuals with ASD/DD within an integrated, interdisciplinary model, Goal 2: This project will increase the capacity of trained providers and health systems within Arkansas to diagnose and treat those with complex ASD/DD, and Goal 3: The project will promote collaboration and integration of services between practicing professionals, families, and state and community agencies who care for those with ASD/DD and their families. The project will advance the knowledge and skills of the full range of professionals who work with individuals with ASD/DD to improve health care delivery systems for individuals with ASD/DD. Each year, at least 50 additional persons (trainees and community professionals) will develop skills necessary to identify, diagnose, rule out, and intervene with children with ASD/DD. Each year, at least 29 trainees will complete a curriculum that includes leadership development, research skills, advancement of clinical skills, and MCH knowledge content, such as leadership, interdisciplinary skills, culturally competent, family-centered care, advocacy for vulnerable populations, and coordination of systems of care. Activities to be Undertaken to Meet Project Goals: All trainees in Arkansas will participate in a combination of clinical experiences, didactic lectures, and leadership focused activities to model interdisciplinary, culturally appropriate, family-centered, community based clinical services, formal instruction in a core curriculum focusing on individuals with ASD/DD and their families. Additionally, instruction in clinical research, program development, and program evaluation will be conducted by using a variety of instructional modalities, including distance-learning technology and telehealth. LEND faculty and trainees will provide in-service training, consultation and technical assistance to Title V programs and other community providers, with special attention to programs in underserved areas.


The LEND program will train Title V, and other community-based professionals on ASD/DD and provide technical assistance to build capacity through grant writing, needs assessments, program development, and evaluation. AR LEND will coordinate training efforts between four universities: UAMS, UCA, UA, and UALR.


The project will measure outcomes through a variety of methods. Trainees are evaluated throughout the LEND year (e.g., pre-, post- tests, faculty assessments, peer evaluations). The key measure will be the trainee follow-up survey, which will be collected two, five, and ten years after trainees complete the program.

Date Last Reviewed: