The LEND Program Benefits Banner First-Year Training for ASD and ND Professionals |

Michelle Ballan

Leadership Training in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disorders from Stony Brook University (TO LEND) is a multidisciplinary training program designed to improve the care of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or other neurodevelopmental disorders (ND), and it has had a remarkable first year.

“The inaugural year of the LEND program is marked by outsized success with over 100 trainees prepared for effective interdisciplinary education, practice and policy to advance systems of care for people with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families,” said Michelle Ballan, director of the LEND center and program, professor and associate dean of research in the School of Social Welfare, and professor of family, population, and preventive medicine. “The sustainability and growth of the program over the next few years will lead to a network of autism professionals trained in many disciplines.”

“The LEND program has blossomed beyond our wildest expectations in its first year,” said Matthew Lerner, associate professor of psychology, psychiatry and pediatrics and co-director of LEND. “We have trained over 100 interns in more than a dozen disciplines, including academic, professional, policy-oriented, clinical, family and self-advocacy. More importantly, however, we have planted the very first seeds of an interdisciplinary community dedicated to improving the lives of people with neurodevelopmental disorders here on Long Island.

The LEND program is open to undergraduates, graduates, postgraduates, and professionals in fields related to supporting people with ASD/ND, as well as family members and self-advocates who identify as being part of the ASD/ND community, and prepares interns to be leaders in their fields by advancing the clinical, policy, advocacy, and research knowledge and skills necessary to effect positive change at all levels, from individual to systems.

LEND aims to train 10 long-term trainees (LTT), at least 80 medium-term trainees (MTT) and at least 215 short-term trainees (STT) per year. Registration is for one academic year (more than 300 hours per year) for LTT, (40 – 299 hours) for MTT and (less than 40 hours) for STT. LTTs earn a stipend for attending LEND, while MTTs and STTs receive all training at no cost.

Matthew Lerner
Matthew Lerner

Current participants will showcase their work at Stony Brook’s LEND Research Exhibition on May 9 and graduate from the LEND program on May 23. To date, the program has trained 12 LTTs, 17 MTTs and over 80 STTs.

Stony Brook University was the first institution on Long Island to receive a federal grant specifically designed for this training. The LEND grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Maternal and Child Health, and provided to the SUNY Research Foundation with Dr. Ballan as researcher principal, is $2.2 million over five years. grant that is in effect until June 2026. It is designed to provide training and resources to people with ASD/ND, their families and clinicians, as well as researchers and policy makers through the creation of a center regional.

The trainees found the program invaluable.

“I wanted to get involved with LEND to improve my ability to understand the needs and lived experiences of families of children with ASD/ND,” said Jenny Andersson, director of the Center for Family and Community Engagement at the Center for community inclusion. at Long Island University and mother of a daughter with Down syndrome. “My background is strong in the educational impact, but I had very little knowledge of the medical aspect and care. Through the LEND didactics and conversations within our group, I can confidently say that I have a much deeper understanding of the needs of our community, how to support families, and most importantly, the people I serve.

“Being welcomed into the diverse LEND family with a deep immersion in the meaningful LEND program grounded my upbringing and personal journey as a lifelong learner on the strong principles that LEND stands for at its core – understanding, empathy , equity, partnership and initiative,” said Pallavi Tatpudy, MD, second-year resident physician in psychiatry at the Stony Brook Adult Psychiatry Residency Program. “I can confidently say that LEND has enabled me to live out my commitment to progress and expansion so that I can be a more complete, mindful, introspective, collaborative and interdisciplinary psychiatric intern and, most importantly, a human.”

Isaac Rodriguez is a first-year doctoral student in the public health program completing the LEND program, which he says taught him how to strategically interact with clinicians from other disciplines to inform an interdisciplinary approach to autism care. “Furthermore, LEND allowed me to hear directly from the lived experiences of self-advocates and family members of autistic and other neurodiverse people,” he said. “I learned to appreciate the heterogeneity of family experience. No two difficult circumstances between families are identical and warrant individualized attention, the promotion of self-determination, and a co-designed plan of care.

The next LEND program will run from August 30, 2022 to May 30, 2023. The application deadline for Long-Term Trainees (LTT) is May 15, 2022. MTT and STT applications for 2022 will open in June.

To apply, go to the website of the School of Social Assistance and follow the steps to submit the request.

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