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With Funding Increase, UNH/Dartmouth Disabilities Program Expands

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The New Hampshire Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (NH-LEND) Program, a partnership of Dartmouth Medical School and the UNH Institute on Disability (IOD), has received a $4.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funding, a major increase from the program’s previous funding level, will support NH-LEND as it significantly expands trainee opportunities in New Hampshire and Maine. The five-year grant is the highest level of funding for such programs from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The increase in funding has already allowed the program to add to its faculty, double the number of trainees, and increase the trainee stipend, making the ten-month, 300-hour program a more accessible opportunity for professionals, students, and family members.

Additionally, the increase in funding is supporting a new partnership with the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies/University Center for Excellence on Disability at the University of Maine-Orono to include up to five UMaine trainees annually. Through the use of eLearning and videoconferencing technology at UNH, these trainees participate remotely in the weekly NH-LEND seminar. This new partnership ultimately will reach an area that is not currently served by a LEND training program, develop infrastructure, and address regional needs, particularly in rural underserved regions of Maine.

“We have a talented cohort of trainees from New Hampshire and Maine and 26 faculty members from three institutions,” says Betsy Humphreys, NH-LEND interdisciplinary training director. “We are very excited about this collaboration.”

NH-LEND provides graduate-level interdisciplinary training for students and professionals from diverse disciplines, including developmental pediatrics, early childhood education, family, nutrition, occupational therapy, social work, and speech-language pathology. The curriculum follows the academic calendar and includes coursework and experiences working with faculty at Dartmouth Medical School and UNH, as well as families, community partners, and legislators in New Hampshire and nationally. Program activities include leadership development, clinical training, continuing education/technical assistance, research, and cultural competency field work.

The New Hampshire LEND Program is supported by a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and administered by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. To learn more about the NH-LEND Program, visit www.mchlend.unh.edu.

The Institute on Disability at UNH (www.iod.unh.edu) was established in 1987 to provide a coherent university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to strengthen communities to ensure full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons.