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California Leadership Education in

Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CA-LEND)

at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Trainee Liaison: Enya Meng, MPH

Sofia Martinez, LCSW


Contact Information:


Project Director:

Douglas L. Vanderbilt, MD, MS

University of Southern California at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

4650 Sunset Boulevard, Mail Stop #53

Los Angeles, CA  90027

Phone: (323) 361-3570

FAX: (323) 361-8305





Program Profile:




Located in the heart of Los Angeles, the California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CA-LEND) Training Program is the only LEND program in California, and one of the oldest LEND programs in the United States. Since 1966, we have been training leaders, educating community providers, conducting research, and promoting systems change for children with or at risk of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (NDD) including those with Autism Spectrum Disorders.




Our mission is to create an interdisciplinary learning community where leaders in Maternal and Child Health, especially in California, prepare to serve children with, or at risk for, neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families, with a life course perspective, through family-centered, culturally responsive, coordinated, comprehensive, developmentally appropriate clinical care, teaching, research, and systems change.




CA-LEND is a comprehensive 32 week training program that runs September through May. Our curriculum consists of seven modules that cover:

  • Genetic Disorders

  • Neurological and Neuromotor Disabilities

  • Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Intellectual and Learning Disabilities

  • Chronic Illness and Special Health Care Needs

  • Vision, Hearing, Speech and Language Disorders


Learning modalities include seminars, clinical cases, small group exercises, presentation skill development, interdisciplinary team modeling, service system engagement, family-based experiences, policy and advocacy work, research methodology, self-reflective leadership training, and clinical exposure. The long-term training culminates in a Leadership Project in an area of interest with a tangible policy, research or community education product. Trainees receiving a certificate of completion will have achieved competency in the following domains:

  • Ethical and Professional Conduct

  • Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities

  • Interdisciplinary Team Building

  • Health Care Systems and Communities

  • Public Policy

  • Critical Thinking

  • Leadership

  • Family Centered and Culturally Competent Care

  • Communication, Teaching, and Mentoring

  • Discipline Specific Skills


CA-LEND trainees are a diverse group of graduate, post graduate, postdoctoral and family support leaders. We select academically prepared applicants who have leadership potential, outstanding experience and commitment to improving the quality of life for children with neuro-developmental disabilities and special health care needs. Each discipline brings a unique and important perspective in providing a comprehensive approach to complex problems. Interdisciplinary teams collaborate with families to improve the health and development of children, perform cutting edge research, and advocate for improved systems of care.




CA-LEND faculty and trainees collaborate on research endeavors to advance the provision of highest-quality interdisciplinary care and promote the health and well-being of children with developmental disabilities and their families.


Past and current projects include:

  • Health Related Accommodations of Adolescents and Emerging Adults with Spina Bifida Enrolled in the Health Care Transition Program, Movin' On Up

  • Promoting Telehealth:  Creating a Zika- based Learning Community

  • Systematic Review on Physical Therapy issues

  • Comprehensive LEND Track Evaluation of Trainees

  • Self  Advocacy as a Discipline

  • School Lunch Program

  • Equity in Access to Part C Early Start Program

  • Family Voices CA – Health Summit

  • MCHB Leadership Training Network

  • Dissemination of LTSAE materials to underserved populations through a state Autism training network

  • Parent-Provider Collaboration:  Curriculum for S/L Pathologists

  • Advocating for Oral Health

  • Interdisciplinary Training Model for Practice in a Behavioral Health Clinic; An Evidence Based Practice Guide

  • Developmental Disabilities Training Curriculum for Parents

  • Implementing International Dysphagic diet

  • Disability and the Juvenile Justice System

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