Human Development Center


LEND Training Components

MCH Foundations

A week-long intensive introduction to the historical and theoretical underpinnings of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) programs, including:

  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Family-Centered Care
  • Cultural Competence
  • Interdisciplinary Teaming

These topics establish a framework for the Louisiana LEND program. MCH Foundations week is scheduled prior to the start of fall semester.

Young women looking at something next to landscape picture formed by collage

Seminars in MCH Topics and Leadership Development

Scholars learn about issues and best practices related to ASD/NDD and experience a variety of clinic- and community-based activities that provide deeper understanding and opportunities to observe and/or implement things learned in class


Family Mentoring Experience (FME)

Scholars are matched with mentor families of children with disabilities who provide them with opportunities to engage them with everyday life to gain understanding of the "lived experience." Scholars complete a service learning project for the family based on identified needs.

Disability: a disabled child smiling at the care assistant

Independent and Group Projects

These projects include Research activities related to ASD/NDD or other disabilities and a Leadership project related to disability services, policy, advocacy, research, or systems change.


Clinical and Field Experiences

Louisiana LEND assignments are embedded with clinical and community experiences designed to provide opportunities for application and reflection.


Policy and Advocacy

Scholars learn to connect with elected officials and local policymakers and educate the officeholders about issues surrounding the disability community at large.

HDC staff and LEND scholar interact with child in classroom who is looking at book

Paid Travel to Association for University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Conference

Each fall, LEND scholars attend the 3-day AUCD conference in Washington, D.C. to connect with the other programs in the AUCD network:

  • 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), receiving core funding from the Office on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (OIDD)
  • 60 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Programs receiving core funding from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)
  • 14 Intellectual and Developmental Disability Research Centers (IDDRC), receiving core funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD)
  • As well as countless self-advocates, family members and other support networks.

To learn more about what AUCD does, click here