1. MCH Workforce Development
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Funded Projects

New Mexico LEND (NMLEND)

Project Website

Grant Status: Active

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

Project Director(s):

Sandra Heimerl, DPT
Center for Development and Disability
University of New Mexico Pediatrics
University of New Mexico
2300 Menual NE
Albuquerque, NM  87107
Phone: 505-272-0096

Proposed project:

NMLEND proposes to improve access to early screening, diagnosis, and intervention for children/youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities (DD) by providing comprehensive, interdisciplinary leadership training to graduate/doctoral/postdoctoral students, professionals, family members, and people with disabilities. The curriculum will focus on leadership development, person-/family-centered and culturally responsive practice, and screening, diagnosis and evidence-based practices for individuals with ASD/DD. We will provide continuing education programs and technical assistance, collaborate with state and regional partners, conduct research, disseminate information through products and publications, and implement continuous program evaluation and quality improvement.

Needs to be addressed:

New Mexico (NM) is one of the poorest states on indicators of child well-being. More New Mexican children live in households with income below federal poverty level (28.5%) than the national average of 21.6%. New Mexico's rural nature, resource scarcity, health professional shortages and rich cultural diversity present significant challenges with respect to meeting the needs of children/youth with or at risk for ASD/DD. Health disparities are prevalent in NM as a result of systemic issues related to socioeconomic factors, education, race/ethnicity, rural populations, and limited access to health care.

Proposed Services:

The purpose of NMLEND is to improve the health of individuals who have or are at risk of developing ASD/DD. NMLEND will provide graduate-level training in maternal and child health interdisciplinary leadership education by an experienced inter-professional faculty. A diverse cohort of trainees will receive a balance of academic, clinical, leadership and community-based opportunities framed in an interdisciplinary, culturally responsive and person-/family-centered manner. Adult-learning experiential teaching methods will be used. Distance technology will support these goals. An increased number of diagnostic evaluations will be provided by LEND faculty and trainees. Practicing professionals will receive training and technical assistance in screening, diagnosis and evidence-based practices to address the concerns of individuals with ASD/DD. NMLEND will collaborate with state Title V agencies and other state and national organizations. We will enhance the expertise and leadership skills of clinicians and non-clinicians dedicated to working with and improving systems of care for individuals with ASD/DD. Family members and self-advocates will develop advocacy, leadership and other relevant skills.

Population group(s) served:

The population served is individuals with ASD/DD and their families with a focus on New Mexico. Graduate training, professional education, and technical assistance will be provided for interdisciplinary students, practicing professionals, family members and persons with ASD/DD with a focus on diverse and underserved populations.