The Partnership for People with Disabilities has secured a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau to provide an interdisciplinary education program to prepare health professionals for leadership and advocacy roles. The program was developed in collaboration with VCU Department of Pediatrics and the Title V Program, Virginia Department of Health. This leadership program is committed to the preparation of health professionals including post-graduate trainees, to assume leadership roles within the health care system to serve children with developmental and related disabilities and their families. This commitment is derived from a belief that to improve health care for children and their families a critical number of professionals must receive advanced training that is interdisciplinary, culturally appropriate, family-centered, and community-based.

Program Description

The interdisciplinary program provides a curriculum that includes didactic courses, interactive seminars, clinical and community based practica rotations, and planned advocacy and systems level public policy activities for a total of 12 credit hours. In addition, the program provides a family mentorship experience. The curriculum emphasizes all aspects of neurodevelopmental and related disabilities, the social environment (including ethnic and cultural issues), the interdisciplinary approach (systems of care), leadership (advocacy and public policy as well as administration) and research. Following completion of the program the trainees will be able to serve as leaders in the field of child health and neurodevelopmental disabilities.


Applicants for admission must be students currently enrolled in a master's program (or above) or graduates of such programs in the following disciplines:

Developmental Pediatrics
Genetic Counseling
Occupational Therapy
Pediatric Dentistry
Pediatric Physical Medicine + Rehabilitation
Physical Therapy
Public Health
Social Work
Special Education
Speech-Language Pathology

The admissions committee considers the following criteria in selecting trainees: demonstrated clinical experience in a chosen discipline, additional professional activities, grade point average, letters of reference, and a statement of the applicant's interest in pursuing interdisciplinary leadership training.

To apply to the program, please complete the Virginia LEND Application

Limited funds are available for tuition/stipend assistance for qualified applicants.


Program Director Joann Bodurtha, M.D., MPH 
(804) 628-4517
Training Director Donna Gilles, Ph.D.
(804) 828-8244
Assistant Director  Janet Willis, MPH, RD 
(804) 828-0073
Developmental Peds Pat Accardo
(804) 828-9602
Audiology  Frank M. Butts, Ph.D. 
(804) 272-6004
Family Specialist Rachel Valenti
(804) 828-0073
Family Specialist Elaine Ogburn
(804) 320-4514
Genetic Counseling Lauren Vanner-Nicely, MS
(804) 628-3509
Nursing Marie Chapin, RN, MS, CPNP
(804) 828-3978
Nutrition Laura Duncan, MPH, RD, CSP 
(804) 628-5153
Occupational Therapy Marie Anzalone, Sc.D., OTR, FAOTA
(804) 828-2219
Physical Therapy Stacey Dusing, PT, PhD
(804) 828-0234
Psychology Donald Oswald,  Ph.D. 
(804) 828-9900
Social Work Jaclyn Miller, Ph.D.,LCSW
(804) 828-0073
Special Education Kevin Sutherland, Ph. D
(804) 828-1305
Speech-Language Pathology Michael D. King, Ph.D. 
(804) 828-0073
Pediatric Dentistry Frank Farrington, D.D.S.
(804) 828-0073

For more Information about the interdisciplinary leadership program, contact
Janet Willis, MPH, RD, Assistant Director, at the following address:

Va-LEND Program
VMI Building, Room 320
1000 East Marshall Street
P.O. Box 980405
Richmond, VA 23298-0405
Phone: 804/828-0073
Fax: 804/828-0098

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