Developing Leaders for Maternal and Child Health
The goal of the Wisconsin Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program is to provide interdisciplinary and disciplinary leadership training for graduate students, post-graduates, community professionals, and family members to improve systems of care that promote the prevention of disabilities, and assure access to services for children with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and their families. This is accomplished through advanced disciplinary and interdisciplinary clinical and leadership training for trainees, and through continuing education, technical assistance, and consultation with community programs.
The content and training objectives for the WI LEND curriculum are organized into five program areas:
- Leadership Development
- Core Knowledge of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
- Clinical and Community Services
- Public Health Systems
Trainees in the WI LEND program build leadership competency by engaging in multiple training activities in these five program areas.
The MCH LEND Program: What's Involved?
The WI LEND 1st Year curriculum is a two-semester program divided into three learning units: Orientation, six Learning Modules, and Next Steps. Following a developmental process, learning units are structured to assist trainees develop competencies and advance toward leadership goals as documented in their Individualized Leadership Training Plan (ILTP).
- Learning Unit I: Orientation
Trainees review and reflect on the education and experiences that led to their decision to enroll in the Wisconsin LEND Program; complete a personal Leadership Assessment; and, with their mentor, develop an ILTP that will influence the activities chosen for their LEND participation.
- Learning Unit II: Modules 1-6
Trainees engage in Friday afternoon seminars and case-based learning in interdisciplinary teams; clinical and community work with an interdisciplinary team; the Family Mentor program; self study; and supervision/mentoring designed to help them meet their goals and attain the curriculum competencies. Specific sites and content for activities are selected to ensure that each trainee is engaged in ways that challenge and support them to develop their leadership skills and fulfill their training program requirements
- Learning Unit III: Next Steps
This is a time for reflection and transition. Trainees and faculty assess the degree to which the competencies specified in ILTPs were met and identify the steps trainees will take to meet their goal of assuming leadership positions to improve the lives of children with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and their families.
- Participation in Friday afternoon seminars and case-based learning modules
- Interdisciplinary clinical or community experiences
- Core research seminars and participation in a research project
- Family Mentor experience
- Leadership development workshops
A recommended (but not required) preparation for LEND trainees is completion of an introductory course in disability, taken either prior to entering the LEND program, or concurrently with the first semester. There are currently three such courses at UW-Madison: Rehab Psy & Spec Ed 660 "Critical Issues in Severe Disabilities," Social Work 644 "Issues in Developmental Disabilities," and Nursing 746 "Interdisciplinary Care of Children with Special Health Care Needs." Please indicate on your application if you have completed any of these, or a similar course at a different university.
Activities in the LEND program are designed to develop leadership skills through real life application. Students choose more in depth, intensive experiences in interdisciplinary clinical, community, family mentor, research, public policy, systems change, and/or may elect to engage in activities which are unique to their own leadership plans. In addition to these experiences, trainees and staff will engage together in 2-4 “Leadership Workshops” per year, which include mentored individual and group exercises to explore personal leadership styles, communication and negotiation skills, and team interactions.
Selection Process and Criteria for MCH LEND Trainees
Trainees selected to participate in the LEND Program must be:
(1) enrolled in the graduate program for one of the core disciplines (administration/health policy, audiology, genetic counseling, nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, pediatrics, physical therapy, psychology, social work, special education, and speech/language pathology) at the UW-Madison or at another campus; be a graduate of one of these programs; or be the parent of a child or an individual with developmental disabilities, and
(2) be able to participate fully in the curriculum. Potential trainees will submit an application form, a resume and will have a reference form completed by a faculty member or work supervisor. Applications will be screened and rank ordered for:
LEND faculty and training coordinators in each discipline screen the applications and conduct interdisciplinary interviews with applicants to assess their interpersonal skills and their potential for successfully completing the leadership training program. Stipends are awarded to support participation in the training program. Amounts vary, but the average stipend is $6000/year, paid over 2 semesters.
- career goals compatible with the competencies to be achieved through the program
- evidence of personal achievements relative to their discipline, health systems and/or children with disabilities and their families
- basic disciplinary knowledge and skills
- evidence of overall academic excellence if in a graduate program
- excellent communication skills.
Anne B. Harris, PhD
The Waisman Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1500 Highland Avenue, Room S101C
Madison, WI 53705‐2280