1. MCH Workforce Development
  2. Funded Projects

Funded Projects

Blue Ridge Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (Blue Ridge LEND)

Grant Status: Active

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

Project Director(s):

Micah Mazurek, PhD
University of Virginia
417 Emmet Street South, PO Box 400267
Charlottesville, VA  22904-4260
Phone: (434) 924-5692


Children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities (ASD/DD) across the rural Blue Ridge and Appalachian region of Virginia and bordering states face significant disparities and poor access to coordinated, comprehensive, evidence-based, and family-centered care. There are urgent and critical needs across the region for professionals with training in ASD/DD; enhanced access to evidence-based screening, diagnosis, and intervention; enhanced coordination across systems; and reduced health disparities for children with ASD/DD.

Goals and Objectives:

The overall mission of the Blue Ridge LEND is to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals with ASD/DD regionally and nationally through interdisciplinary training, technical assistance, knowledge generation, collaboration, and dissemination.

Goal 1: Provide comprehensive interdisciplinary leadership training to expand the MCH workforce of professionals equipped to provide best-practice interdisciplinary clinical care, assume leadership roles, and improve systems of care for individuals with ASD/DD.

Goal 2: Increase the capacity of practicing professionals, agencies, and systems to provide comprehensive, coordinated, and high-quality care for children with ASD/DD through continuing education, technical assistance, and consultation.

Goal 3: Promote innovative models to reduce disparities and improve access to comprehensive, family-centered, culturally-competent care for individuals with ASD/DD.

Goal 4: Contribute to new knowledge and advances in evidence-based practices for ASD/DD through research, evaluation, and dissemination.


To accomplish these goals, we will leverage the extensive leadership experience and expertise of interdisciplinary faculty and robust clinical and training resources at the University of Virginia and collaborating universities across the region to develop and implement a comprehensive interdisciplinary training curriculum (≥9 LTTs, ≥30MTTs, ≥100STTs/year); innovative rural professional pipeline program; extensive continuing education (≥3 /year) and technical assistance support for practicing professionals, organizations, and agencies (≥25 agencies); innovative interdisciplinary clinical training and telehealth models to reduce disparities and improve access to care; and innovative research and dissemination (≥50 products/year; research training, online and in-person dissemination to community stakeholders).


The Blue Ridge LEND represents a partnership between the University of Virginia, Mary Baldwin University, 7 colleges and universities across the Blue Ridge/Appalachian region; key agencies (Title V, Infant and Toddler Connection (Part C), Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority, Healthy Appalachia Institute, etc.); and regional/national collaborators (LEND, HRSA-, and CARES-funded programs, etc.).


Process, outcome, and impact evaluation methods will be used to systematically collect, analyze, and interpret evidence regarding program implementation and effectiveness. Evaluation strategies will also facilitate continuous quality improvement efforts across the project period, and will inform sustainable local, regional, and national dissemination activities.