Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND)

LEND Community Collaboration and Advocacy Program

Two fundamental goals of the LEND program involve developing community partnerships that (a) improve children’s healthy wellbeing and (b) serve to enhance the health infrastructure of our community, city, and region. The Community Collaboration & Advocacy component of the fellowship has three objectives:

Under the supervision of the Director and Associate Director of Community Collaboration & Advocacy, fellows select one project from a range of options through which they will provide community services related to youth with special needs and their families. Fellows are expected to (1) develop and conduct a needs assessment of the community program, including youth, family members and professionals (2) develop a product such as a tool kit, curriculum, or educational program with community partners in response to the needs identified by the assessment, and (3) conduct an educational session for program participants related to the fellow’s product. Appendix 4 describes in detail the community project options.

Advocacy Activities: LEND fellows will meet representatives of several public interest advocacy organizations early in the training year and will learn about each organization’s mission and current initiatives. During this class LEND fellows can talk with these representatives to learn more about shared interests. These organizations focus on the issues of child and family well-being: healthcare, insurance, education, disabilities, autism, homelessness, behavioral health, and more. Fellows are encouraged to select one of these organizations and get acquainted with its work. Through LEND classes on public policy and legislative advocacy, LEND fellows will learn strategies to communicate more effectively with policy makers—elected representatives, government officials, or the public at large. Each fellow will select an activity from a variety of options to gain more experience in advocating on behalf of achievement of MCHB competencies and core objectives. Fellows can select topics associated with their respective community projects or work with a public interest organization mentor on other compelling issues.

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