LEND Fellowship

About the LEND Fellowship 

The LEND program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is a one-year interdisciplinary fellowship supported by a grant from the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Its mission is twofold: to support the development of exemplary expertise, skills and competence in the care of children with neurodevelopmental and related disorders, including children from medically underserved populations; and to instill the qualities that promote interpersonal leadership in the service of improving the quality of life and outcomes for these children and their families.

LEND is a fellowship for professionals who are completing or recently completed an advanced degree in healthcare fields associated with maternal and child health, family members who care for children with neurodevelopmental or related conditions, or an individual who has experienced a disability or chronic condition in their own life, and who is looking to expand their knowledge and experience with leadership.

The history, expertise and compassion that make Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia unique are also what makes it the best place for medical trainees.

Funded or unfunded long-term positions

To be eligible for funding support, the candidate must be a U.S. citizen or holder of a permanent visa, and not currently receiving federal funding support from any other source.

Long-term trainees are formally registered as LEND fellows. By completion of their training, they will have 300 or more contact hours and will have completed the entire LEND curriculum (clinical and didactic). These criteria apply regardless of LEND funding.

For example, First-Year Pediatric Fellows sometimes receive funding from Children's Hospital rather than LEND. They are still considered LEND trainees, as long as they participate in the LEND curriculum throughout the course of the fellowship year. Similarly, other Disciplines may have one or more of their trainees participate in LEND on an unfunded basis.

All trainees are required to fulfill all program obligations within coursework, community, family and research components throughout the training year

The long-term LEND Fellowship involves a Core Curriculum with didactic courses and experiential activities aimed to promote leadership development.  Courses include a comprehensive overview of developmental disabilities, an overview of autism spectrum disorders, distinctive family issues, public policy, interdisciplinary case conferences, a research course and more. Experiential training components include the Community Collaboration Program, Family Collaboration Program, and a Mentored Research Project.

Within each experiential program, LEND fellows can select from a range of options in which they participate. For example, Community Collaboration projects range from those focused on youth with chronic health or developmental conditions’ transition to adulthood; working with maternal-child homeless shelters, providing consultation to an Early Head Start program or working to improve access to healthcare for children placed in foster care.

Family Collaboration experiences might involve home visits with a family of a child with an acquired brain injury or genetic condition, involvement with a parent support group, or working with parent advocates. LEND fellows can develop their own research project or work with LEND faculty on a project. Based on these choices, each LEND fellow develops an Individualized Training Plan (ITP) with their own discipline director and a LEND Mentor to fulfill LEND requirements

Medium-term positions

Intermediate trainees may or may not be funded by LEND. By completion of their training, these fellows will have between 150 and 299 contact hours, and may not have completed the entire LEND curriculum (clinical and didactic).

Short-term positions

Short term trainees may or may not be funded by LEND. By completion of their training, these fellows will have between 40 and 149 contact hours and most likely will not have completed the entire LEND curriculum.

Trainees meeting this description can be further categorized as trainees from other institutions who rotate through one of the LEND Core Disciplines:

  • Physical and Occupational Therapy students' one-month rotation through these respective departments
  • Psychology trainees participating in the Pediatric School Psychology Program
  • Medical residents completing the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics rotation

Training requirements

LEND Fellows develop an Individualized Training Plan with their discipline director and their LEND Mentor, and document evidence of achievement of training objectives. This commitment requires that the fellow spend a minimum of 6-8 hours per week participating in LEND related activities (attendance at Core Curriculum courses is included within this time frame):

  • Attend weekly classes and complete course assignments
  • Fulfill Community Collaboration Program responsibilities
  • Fulfill Research Program responsibilities
  • Produce a poster or give an oral presentation at the LEND Leadership Symposium and Poster Day in late May

Core curriculum

The fellowship involves a Core Curriculum, which includes both didactic classes and experiential programs. In addition to weekly classes, LEND includes projects and experiences in Community Collaboration, Family Collaboration, Research, and optional Interdisciplinary Clinical Experiences.

LEND courses

The following topics are addressed in courses offered as seminars, didactic presentations and case-based interactive learning methods:

  • Overview of Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities
  • Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Transition to Adulthood for Youth with Disabilities
  • Leadership Skills: Interpersonal Influence and Conflict Resolution
  • Interdisciplinary Team Dynamics & Interdisciplinary Case Conferences
  • Public Policy and Children with Special Needs
  • Family-Professional Collaboration
  • Research in Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Related Conditions
  • Healthcare Administration and Children with Special Needs
  • Foundations for Culturally Competent Care
  • Feeding Disorders in Infants and Young Children
  • Assistive Technology

The LEND Faculty represents a broad range of healthcare professions and includes members with appointments in the University of Pennsylvania and its Schools of Medicine, Social Work, and Nursing, and Education, as well as individuals with leadership roles within Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Parents of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and related disorders, and adults with these conditions play an active role in the LEND program, serving as faculty and mentors to ensure fellows’ understanding of family-centered, culturally competent models of service provision. Guest speakers from The Disabilities Rights Network, The Education Law Center of Pennsylvania, the Institute on Disabilities of Temple University and other community-based organizations present regularly.

Community Collaboration Program

The LEND Program offers fellows opportunities to have short-term experiences or conduct in-depth Community Leadership Projects with several community-based or community engagement programs. LEND fellows conducting Community Leadership Projects can develop a project with community preceptors and LEND faculty from the following options. Additional options may also be available.

Research Program

The LEND Research Program includes an ongoing course and journal club. Fellows who are interested in taking the lead on a mentored research project can choose to conduct a Research Leadership Project.

Individualized Training Plan (ITP)

At the beginning of the fellowship year, each fellow develops an Individualized Training Plan in conjunction with his or her discipline director and their LEND Mentor. LEND Mentors include the LEND Director (Nathan Blum, M.D.), Associate Director (Judith Silver, Ph.D.) or, for LEND fellows on the Autism Track, the LEND Director of Autism Training (Judith Miller, Ph.D.). The ITP addresses LEND program goals and indicates how each fellow will complete fellowship requirements based on the range of options offered by the LEND curriculum. Each fellow’s ITP is reviewed and approved by the LEND Curriculum Committee. Over the course of the training year the fellow is expected to meet regularly with the LEND Mentor to discuss progress in achieving their goals. Progress is also reviewed and evaluated each semester by the Curriculum Committee, with Progress Reports sent to the fellow and Discipline Director.

How to apply

Application procedures differ by discipline. Please see below for application instructions for each discipline.

Applications are accepted between September and May of each year, and training starts in July.



  • Currently enrolled in a Clinical Doctorate (AuD) program in Audiology, with all requirements met for the degree with the exception of the fourth year externship.
  • High level of skill in various audiological assessment and treatment procedures pertaining to the pediatric population.
  • Fundamental research skills including a general understanding of research methodology, design, and statistics.

Application process

Applications are accepted until September 10. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and early submission is encouraged.

Please submit the following materials to Lyndsey Chiaia, Au.D., CCC-A.

  • One-page essay (Topic: Why are you seeking a pediatric-focused externship and what are your goals for this externship?
  • Letter of interest
  • Copy of undergraduate and graduate academic transcript (s)
  • Curriculum vitae (CV)


LEND fellows can be enrolled in graduate training at the Master's level or above.

Application process

Please submit the following materials to burtonb@email.chop.edu:

Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Pediatricians wishing to participate in the LEND program as long-term trainees must apply for a position in the three-year Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. For more information on this fellowship program and to apply, please visit the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship website.

Family Member

Potential applicants must be a parent of a child with a neurodevelopmental and/or related disability.

Application process

Please submit the following materials to Amy Kratchman, Family Consultant, LEND Family Collaboration, kratchmana@email.chop.edu:

  • Three letters of reference
  • Letter of interest

Genetic Counseling

Genetic Counseling LEND Fellows must be students of Arcadia University’s Genetic Counseling Master's program. To find more information on Program-Specific Admission Requirements, please visit Arcadia University’s website or contact Kathleen D. Valverde, MS, CGC, valverdk@arcadia.edu.

Healthcare Administration

LEND fellows can be enrolled in graduate training at the Master's level or above.

Application process

Please submit the following materials to burtonb@email.chop.edu:


Ideal candidates for the nursing fellowship position are usually those who have completed a master's program in pediatric or family nursing or are post-masters or doctoral students who are interested in the fellowship as a way to develop specialization in working with children with developmental disabilities and chronic health conditions. Due to requirements of most nursing master's programs (which are full-time and include clinical rotations under the direction of a faculty supervisor), nurses are usually unable to do the fellowship as part of their master's degree program. Candidates are recruited from local graduate-level nursing programs including:

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Drexel University
  • Widener University
  • University of Delaware

Nursing fellows make a significant contribution to the LEND team by bringing their clinical skills in nursing assessment (physical and psychosocial) as well expertise in clinical critical thinking, which is a major part of their education. They can also offer expertise in patient-family education and care coordination that is also an integral part of their graduate training.

Application process

Please submit the following materials to Margaret Souders, PhD, CRNP, souders@email.chop.edu:


Positions for LEND candidates in the discipline of nutrition are available at two educational levels:

  • Pre-doctoral with a master's degree in nutrition or highly related field
  • Post-doctoral with a PhD in nutrition or highly related field

Application process

Please submit the following materials to Virginia Stallings, MD, stallingsv@email.chop.edu:

Candidates may be accepted any time during the year; however, July start dates are desirable. Positions are offered for one year, with the possibility of a one-year renewal. Rarely, a candidate will be considered for a training period of less than one year.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists wishing to participate in the LEND Program as long-term trainees must apply for a position in the one-year Pediatric Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Please visit the Pediatric Fellowship Program in Occupational Therapy website for more information.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapists wishing to participate in the LEND program as long-term trainees must apply for a position in the one-year Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. For more Information on this residency program, please see the Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency Program page.


Pre-doctoral psychology candidates wishing to participate in the LEND program as long-term trainees must apply for a position in the one-year predoctoral Psychology Internship Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Post-doctoral psychology candidates wishing to participate in the LEND program as long-term trainees are limited to those individuals accepted into a post-doctoral psychology fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with involvement in the LEND Program considered on an individual basis.


The applicant will be an individual who has experienced disability in their own life (beginning in childhood or adolescence) and who would like to expand their knowledge about disabilities in general and develop their leadership skills to help children, families and other individuals with disabilities. A bachelor’s degree is preferred.

Please submit the following documents to Bernadette Burton, LEND Program Manager: burtonb@email.chop.edu

  • Letter of interest
  • Resume
  • Two letters of reference

Social Work

LEND fellows can be enrolled in graduate training at the Master's level or above.

Application process

Please submit the following materials to Susannah M. Horner, LCSW, horners@email.chop.edu:

Special Education

Special Education LEND Fellows must be students of Temple University’s Special Education Program. To find more information on program-specific admission requirements, please visit Temple's website or contact Kathryn Burke, PhD at kburke@temple.edu.

Speech-Language Pathology

Applicants must have completed a Master’s degree program in Speech-Language Pathology and be eligible to begin the ASHA Clinical Fellowship.  The SLP LEND Fellow has 23% of his/her time devoted to LEND and 77% devoted to the Department of Speech-Language Pathology.

Application process

Please apply for the Clinical Fellowship through careers.chop.edu.  Applicants are encouraged to include their curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter in their application.

Other requirements

To carry out its mission, it is of critical importance for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to keep our patients, families and workforce safe and healthy and to support the health of our global community. In keeping with this, CHOP has mandated all workforce members (including trainees) on site at any CHOP location for any portion of their time be vaccinated for COVID-19 as a condition of employment.

This mandate also applies to workforce members or trainees performing work for CHOP at non-CHOP locations. Additionally, all workforce members based in or regularly scheduled to work at any New Jersey location are mandated to be both vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19, with booster timing consistent with applicable guidelines. The CHOP COVID-19 vaccine mandate is in alignment with applicable local, state and federal mandates. CHOP also requires all workforce members and trainees who work in patient care buildings or who provide patient care to receive an annual influenza vaccine. Employees may request exemption consideration for CHOP vaccine requirements for valid religious and medical reasons. Please note start dates may be delayed until candidates are fully immunized or valid exemption requests are reviewed. In addition, candidates other than those in positions with regularly scheduled hours in New Jersey, must attest to not using tobacco products.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, protected veteran status or any other protected category. CHOP is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor seeking priority referrals for protected veterans.

More information

Download our LEND brochure for more information about our fellowship program. For general inquiries, please contact program manager Bernadette Burton at 215-590-6336 or burtonb@email.chop.edu.

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