Kentucky LEND to Train Providers to Serve Children With Neurodevelopmental Disabilities

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 1, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) will be leading an effort to improve capacity of health care to serve children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families throughout Kentucky. The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) is a five-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The LEND provides long-term, graduate-level training and interdisciplinary services. This program will support students from different disciplines.

Goals of the Kentucky LEND are to:

  • provide a unique emphasis on persons with multiple identities, their mental health and the perspectives of self-advocates;
  • increase the clinical expertise and leadership skills of practicing Kentucky professionals and families; and
  • increase collaboration with universities, agencies and statewide health and employment initiatives across Kentucky that train students and professionals to serve children and youth with autism and other developmental disabilities.

HDI is working with multiple departments and colleges at UK, including the College of Medicine, College of Health Sciences and College of Education. Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville faculty are also represented in this work. Kathy Sheppard-Jones will serve as the principal investigator and Caroline Gooden will be the LEND director.

“With this grant, we have the opportunity to model good partnerships, improve health care inequities and continue to build inclusive communities,” Sheppard-Jones said.

Kentucky joins a network of 52 existing LENDs around the country. Student applications will be accepted beginning in July for nine traineeships that will begin in the Fall 2021 semester. To learn more, visit

This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $448,575 with 0% financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, visit

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