URLEND trainee exchange: Alaska

June 21, 2016 by Kelly Smith

Through the Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program (URLEND), trainees  from  different  disciplines  are given the opportunity to attend  an exchange experience in another PacWest LEND program.  The  exchange  experience  includes  a  full  agenda  meeting  different leaders and touring a variety of organizations involved in the care of children and youth with special health care needs. These experiences  allow trainees to compare and contrast how different programs function in different geographic regions. It also allows trainees to meet strong leaders from different fields in different systems, states, and cultures, who are caring  for  children  with  special  health  care  needs  and  their  families. Financial support for these exchanges is provided by  LEND program sending the trainee.  Following is a photo journal by trainee Katie Ahlers about her experience.

Katie Alaska-1

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URLEND, IDASL trainees attend conference

October 24, 2012 by Sue Reeves

Trainees from two projects with the Center for Persons with Disabilities attended a major conference in Houston, Tex., last week without ever leaving home. The two-day conference, originating from Baylor Medical Center, focused on challenges and supports available to transition youth with significant medical issues from pediatric to adult care, said Dr. Judith Holt, co-director of the Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (URLEND) project. Significant medical issues, Holt said, could include chronic medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis or cardiac problems to developmental issues like autism.

“Attendance at the conference was not required, but the trainees can use the hours toward meeting their overall hour requirement,” Holt said. “It’s an example of the opportunities the trainees have here at the Center for Persons with Disabilities.”

According to Holt, only a few members of the 2012 cohort of 48 trainees attended portions of the conference in the CPD’s distance learning room, but many more viewed it from eight different URLEND sites in five states. Trainees from the CPD’s Interdisciplinary Disability Awareness and Service Learning (IDASL) project also attended.

URLEND trainees participated in the 13th annual conference by invitation, Holt said, and the program was able to utilize a single access code for all of the sites because the trainees were so spread out.

“I was really very impressed with it,” Holt said. “The speakers were excellent. It’s another opportunity for trainees in our programs to participate in high-level conferences on significant topics.”

URLEND trainees from a variety of disciplines are brought together with faculty and families of children with special health care needs to form an interdisciplinary learning cohort. Each long-term trainee participates in didactic (classroom) learning, leadership research, and clinical learning. Disciplines include pediatric medicine, genetics, and dentistry; psychology; social work; nursing; audiology; pediatric audiology; health administration; nutrition; special education; speech and language pathology; occupation therapy; and physical therapy.

IDASL provides opportunities for students, as well as individuals with disabilities and family members of children with disabilities, to become part of interdisciplinary teams. These teams, with faculty mentors, provide services and supports to children with disabilities and their families, as well as adults with disabilities.

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Continuing to improve health care for children with special needs

September 1, 2011 by cpehrson

URLEND training session

The Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) program has been refunded for the next five years, announced Dr. Judith Holt, co-director of the program.

URLEND is one of the 43 LEND programs across the nation that the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $28.3 million to for the improvement of the health of infants, children, adolescents and young adults with special health care needs.

LEND programs across the United States prepare trainees from a wide variety of professional disciplines to become leaders in the health care arena and develop interdisciplinary, family-friendly, integrated and culturally sensitive approaches to serving children with disabilities.

“The national competition is a tough one,” noted Dr. Holt.

As the URLEND enters its second decade of preparing competent health care leaders,  six new Lends are just beginning their journey.  The Utah Regional LEND has been funded since 2001 and is administered by the University of Utah’s Department of Pediatrics and the CPD.

This year there are a total of 31 new trainees participating in the URLEND training from the five states of ID, MT, ND, WY, and UT.

Since 2002, the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND), located at the University of Wyoming, has participated in the URLEND program, providing over 13 trainees through the years.

“Participation in URLEND provides our students with experience in interdisciplinary health care settings that serve children with special health care needs and their families.  Given our small population and the lack of an academic medical center, there are limited opportunities for Wyoming students to obtain clinical experience…” states William MacLean, Jr., URLEND Wyoming Distance Coordinator.

URLEND also provides a strong family-parent perspective and provides exposure to outstanding program faculty and a broad curriculum on topics relevant to neurodevelopmental disabilities.  “The focus on leadership education is vital to building infrastructure for our state,” MacLean summarizes.

Idaho students have also taken advantage of the URLEND’s focus on multidisciplinary services for children with special health care needs.  Since 2005 there have been ten URLEND trainees.

These trainees have “increased their knowledge and skills in working with diverse cultures and had opportunities to see how the medical home model can be of great benefit for children with disabilities, their families, as well as their health care team,” says URLEND Idaho Distance Coordinator, Gwen Mitchell.

For these Idaho trainees, “URLEND has provided connections and resources for service
care that extends beyond state lines. Living in a rural setting, URLEND has opened the door to many opportunities for service care for the people in Idaho that we may not have had without LEND training,” Mitchell continues.

URLEND faculty look forward to five more years of doing their part to shape future leaders in health care and to improve health care for children and families.

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High school youth get hands-on experiences at USU

June 30, 2011 by cpehrson

A group of high school students visited the USU campus this week and “had a blast!”

This was the observation of the group’s leader, Kristy Jones, who directs the Health Careers Opportunities Program (HCOP) at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

HCOP is a year-round program for high school students in the Ogden area that helps students from a variety of backgrounds prepare for college and eventually a career in medicine or health.  The students learn about different health-care careers, get hands-on learning opportunities, like doing dissections, and go on field trips to local health-care programs. In the process, they find out just how rewarding—and fun—college can be.

This is all done in the hopes that the students will choose a career in the health care field and continue on to get a college education.

The students who visited USU are part of the HCOP Summer Program, a competitive program that gives 30 students the opportunity to come to WSU for six weeks where they’ll learn even more about health-care careers, participate in classes and labs, go on field trips, like this one, and even earn minimum wage for the time spent in class.

While on the USU campus, the students visited the Communications Disorder and Deaf Education Department and observed hearing and hearing aid testing, and were given a tour of the department by URLEND faculty member, Vicki Simonsmeir.  They heard about the latest research on nutrition from registered dietician, Kelsey Rich, a member of the IDASL class at the CPD.  The highlight was their visit to CPD’s Utah Assistive Technology Lab, where  they learned about assistive technology apps for electronic devices, and got to help build slant chairs for supported seating.

The visit to USU came about as a result of a longstanding partnership between HCOP and the CPD’s Interdisciplinary Training Division directed by Dr. Judith Holt.



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Judith Holt receives USU’s Human Service Award

March 7, 2011 by cpehrson

Dr. Judith Holt, CPD’s Interdisciplinary Training Division director,  has been recognized by her colleagues at Utah State University with the 2011 Strong Human Service Award.

This Award was established by the former Dean of the Emma Eccles College of Education and Human Services, Dr. Carol Strong, as a means of recognizing outstanding achievements and contributions to the field of human services.

The Award honors a CEHS faculty member for significant and sustained leadership in human services, applying research to improve the lives of children or adults.  It also recognizes cross-college and interdisciplinary efforts.

For the past decade, Dr. Holt has been the Co-Director for the Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND), and is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Disability Awareness and Service Learning Project (IDASL). Dr. Holt is the Principle Investigator and Project Director for a variety of additional projects at the CPD that involve designing, implementing, and evaluating supports and services for children, youth, and adults with disabilities and their families.

The Strong Human Services Award follows on the heels of the Life Time Service Award that Dr. Holt was honored with at the Brain Injury Association of Utah’s Annual Conference in October of last year.

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