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Misson of the UAB MCHB LEND Program

The Mission of the UAB Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) interdisciplinary training program, located at Civitan-Sparks Clinics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is to improve the well being and quality of life of individuals and families affected by developmental disabilities. To accomplish this Mission, Civitan-Sparks Clinics is committed to the expansion of knowledge about human development as it relates to neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and the translation of that knowledge into exemplary programs providing service and education. Central among these activities is the training of new leaders who will build capacity within the service delivery systems for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families and provide leadership to create effective changes within these systems. This comprehensive interdisciplinary training ultimately promotes the well being of children with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and their families in Alabama, the Southeast, and the Nation. The UAB MCH LEND is one of 52 LEND programs in 44 US states.

Using a comprehensive and coordinated interdisciplinary approach, the UAB LEND program provides high quality clinical leadership training to graduate students from all relevant disciplines that provide services to children with or at-risk for neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families. The UAB LEND program is clinic and community-based, family-focused, and oriented to the development of a firm understanding of cultural and subcultural issues.

Broadly defined areas of training include:

  • disciplinary and interdisciplinary clinical competency;
  • leadership preparation related to clinical services, the service delivery system, technical assistance, and continuing education;
  • knowledge of the Healthy Year 2010 Objectives and the Bright Futures Guidelines related to neurodevelopmental disabilities;
  • and an understanding of relevant research issues.

Additionally, the project provides needed outreach training to professionals, paraprofessionals, and families throughout the state and region using a variety of educational strategies.  For more information, see the MCH LEND factsheet.

Administrative Structure

Sarah o"kelley, PhD, is Director of the UAB LEND program, as well as the Alabama UCEDD at UAB. She coordinates activities of the UAB LEND with Associate Director Justin Schwartz, MD, and a leadership team consisting of training, diversity and inclusion coordinators. The UAB LEND works collaboratively through directors of the UAB Civitan-Sparks Clinics and the Civitan International Research Center (CIRC), the UAB Provost, and works cooperatively with members of the Policy Advisory Committee in the administration of the program. Dr. O'Kelley is a liaison with the chairpersons of the academic departments in which CIRC and Civitan-Sparks Clinics faculty maintain academic appointments.  

The UAB LEND Director reviews and provides initial approval of all projects and programs to be conducted in the facility and is responsible for the allocation of personnel, space, and equipment in support of the UAB LEND program.

The UAB LEND receives important input from the UCEDD Consumer Advisory Committee. This committee reviews the activities of the UCEDD and provides guidance with respect to meeting the state and regional needs in service care delivery, technical assistance, information dissemination, and, especially, in the adequate numbers and distributions of providers.

Civitan-Sparks Clinics faculty provide the primary training for the students and trainees enrolled in the UAB LEND training program. In order to maximize efficiency and ensure quality, the faculty and staff are organized into disciplines with responsibility for setting and implementing the disciplinary and interdisciplinary goals and objectives. Faculty members have academic appointments in UAB departments where they also teach and carry out various departmental responsibilities

MCH Collaborative Network

The MCH LEND program also works in collaboration with five other MCH training programs at UAB and in the state of Alabama through the Alabama MCH Leadership Network. The purpose of the Alabama MCH Leadership Network is to provide a network for the promotion of shared MCH training, technical assistance and research at UAB. UAB is unique in that it has five MCHB interdisciplinary training grants on campus, and works closely with the MCH Pipeline Training Program at Alabama State University. The Network provides a vehicle for sharing continuing education and technical assistance efforts, enhancing interdisciplinary graduate and post-graduate leadership training, expanding information dissemination, advocacy through partnerships with the MCH community, collaborative research and grants support, and enhanced trainee recruitment.