DETROIT – Wayne State University recently received a $2.6 million, five-year grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau which is part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to continue the Michigan Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (MI-LEND). The purpose of MI-LEND is to provide statewide interdisciplinary leadership training for emerging leaders with the goal of improving the health of infants, children, and adolescents with, or at risk for, neurodevelopmental disabilities and other related health care needs.
MI-LEND is a consortium of eight universities including Wayne State University, Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Northern Michigan University, University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Western Michigan University, and the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed); all eight partners contribute faculty and trainees to MI-LEND.
The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute (MI-DDI) at Wayne State leads the consortium with Sharon Milberger, Sc.D., MI-DDI Director, also serving as the MI-LEND Director. Jane Turner, M.D., General Pediatrician and Professor Emerita in the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development at Michigan State University, is Co-Director. MI-LEND leaders work in collaboration with members of Michigan’s Title V program, including Children’s Special Health Care Services, the Governor’s Autism Council, the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other key statewide disability/advocacy organizations.
MI-LEND will continue to address the complex needs of those with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, by increasing the number of graduate, doctoral, and postdoctoral students prepared to address their needs. In addition, individuals with disabilities and family members are also trained to become more effective leaders and advocates for themselves, their families, and others in the community. Through these efforts, MI-LEND training will increase the number of providers available to diagnose and treat infants, children, and adolescents with disabilities. To date, over 3,600 emerging leaders representing 19 healthcare disciplines have been trained through MI-LEND.
An important component of MI-LEND is participation of family members and individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities in developing the curriculum and working with trainees to ensure a family-centered approach to care at all levels.
“This is great news for the state of Michigan, as this will reduce the gap between the needs of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and the quantity and quality of services,” said Milberger. “Our consortium is excited to continue our work together to expand graduate-level training for a wide variety of professional disciplines and ultimately achieve our shared mission of improving the health of children across Michigan.”
The 2021 MI-LEND grant renewal was also made possible by strong support from several state-level and national leaders. In addition to the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MIAAP), MI-LEND received letters of support from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, United States Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The 2021-2022 MI-LEND year began September 1st and includes 17 trainees from multiple disciplines and lived experiences. They represent multiple universities and organizations from across Michigan.
MI-DDI’s mission is to contribute to the development of inclusive communities and quality of life for people with disabilities and their families through a culturally-sensitive statewide program of training and education, community support and services, research, and information development and sharing.