LEND

Louisiana LEND is now accepting applications

Strong leadership influences change in systems like Healthcare, Education, and Public Policy. To become a better informed professional, you need interdisciplinary skills and community-based learning. To transform society as we know it, you must be an effective advocate and leader.

Apply to Louisiana LEND now to acquire these skills! Deadline to apply is April 25, 2022! Click the button below that best describes you.

Please know that LEND is a stipend program that financially compensates you for your time and participation. Registration and travel to the national AUCD conference in Washington, D.C. is also covered when participating in the program.

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HDC Spotlight: Courtney Bissonnette, RN, MSN

Ms. Courtney Bissonnette, RN, MSN recently began working at the Human Development Center (HDC) as a Health Specialist for HDC’s Early Head Start Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) project and a member of the core faculty of the Louisiana Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program. Before joining HDC as a Registered Nurse (RN) and Health Specialist, Courtney worked as an acute care pediatric nurse on pediatric medical surgical units for five-years. She also spent a year at a pediatric primary care clinic as a pediatric triage nurse. Courtney left the hospital setting and earned a Master of Science in Nursing Education, while simultaneously working full-time as a nurse at a childcare center that served young children with special needs. Courtney has a personal relationship with developmental disabilities. She is the mother of a child with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Courtney’s professional training and life experiences make her uniquely able to notice small details that can impact a family or child’s health, wellness, and quality of life. Courtney uses this lens in her daily work to make sure that faculty, staff, teachers, families and children possess the wellness tools they need to reach their full potential.

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Alumni Alert: Louisiana LEND scholars present capstone at ASHA 2021

LEND Alumni Alert graphic with screenshot of ASHA presentation

2020-2021 Louisiana LEND alumni Sloane Henry, B.S., Lillian Patton , MCD, CF-SLP , and Alix Moody, B.S. present capstone that supports interdisciplinary training at the 2021 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention. Titled “An Interdisciplinary Peer-led Educational Intervention to Improve Physician Assistant Student Knowledge of Speech-Language-Hearing Developmental Milestones,” the LEND scholars’ presentation is supported by LSUHSC Assistant Professors and Louisiana LEND faculty Leslie C. Lopez, Ph.D., CCC/SLP and Megan R. Guidry, Au.D., CCC-A.

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Alumni alert: Louisiana LEND scholars working at Families Helping Families of Acadiana

LEND Alumni Alert graphic with images of Nicole DeJean and Kristie Curtis

Families Helping Families of Acadiana (FHFOA) recently recognized its staff for their appointments to various boards, task forces, or committees and the completion of programs dedicated to supporting individuals with disabilities and special health care needs. HDC was proud to see two familiar faces in this group: current Louisiana LEND scholar Kristie Curtis and Louisiana LEND alum Nicole DeJean. Click this link to read the original FHFOA newsletter.

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Louisiana LEND’s Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Liz Gary to present on “Advocacy 101” at the Equal Pay Summit

Scales of justice

From the Office of the Governor, Office on Women’s Policy:

Please join us for a virtual Equal Pay Summit on November 16!

The gender wage gap has many causes and many possible solutions. This full-day Summit will explore the data and trends and look at opportunities to reduce the gap through individual action, employer action, and the passage of state, local and national policies.
Attend the full day or just the sessions that make the most sense for you!


WHAT: Virtual Equal Pay Summit

Hosted by the Governor’s Office on Women’s Policy in partnership with the Office of First Lady Donna Edwards and LSU Women’s Center


WHEN: Tuesday, November 16, 2021 from 9:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Read more on Liz Gary’s advocacy in her HDC Spotlight: HDC Spotlight on Liz Gary

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LEND scholar receives fellowship position at RWJF

Natasha Lee-Johnson, young black blonde woman in gray shirt, in front of a tree

2020-21 LEND scholar Natasha M. Lee-Johnson has been selected for a competitive fellowship from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) as a Health Policy Research Scholar. Natasha is currently a doctoral student in the School of Social Work at Louisiana State University. She is the first person in Louisiana to receive this prestigious RWJF fellowship. 

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Louisiana LEND in the news: 2020 LEND graduate Sara Lass leads initiative to support infant development

Sara Lass uses toy monkey to play with baby in Children’s Hospital Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

The capstone project for 2020 LEND graduate, Sara Lass, BSN, RN, is featured in Children Hospital New Orleans’ Nursing Annual Report. Lass addresses developmental delays in patients at Children’s Hospital Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) through her project “Supporting Infant Development in the CICU After Congenital Heart Repair: A Nursing-Led Initiative.”

“Development is delayed in most patients due to their hospitalization,” said Lass, who recognized a limited use of supportive modalities and equipment for care in these infants. “All high risk patients are referred to the early developmental intervention program Early Steps upon discharge. However, it was noted that valuable opportunities necessary to address development in the ICU and cardiac step-down setting were not being utilized.”

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Become a Family Mentor

The Louisiana Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program is now seeking family mentors for the 2021-22 cohort.

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HDC Spotlight: Liz Gary

Trainees in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program are generally knowledgeable about their respective disciplines. However, many don’t realize the ways in which public policies directly affect families and individuals with disabilities (IWD). As the Policy Coordinator for the Human Development Center and Louisiana LEND program, Liz Gary educates LEND trainees on policy and helps them feel comfortable connecting with elected officials and policymakers. Liz teaches trainees to remain neutral while educating elected officials and policymakers about the perspectives and priorities of the disability community. That is, LEND trainees do not directly advocate; rather, they provide elected officials and policymakers with the information related to how public policies and/or legislation may impact members of the disability community.

Liz Gary
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