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San Diego Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (San Diego LEND)

We are now accepting applications for Medium Term Trainees for the 2021-2022 training year. 

Apply Now: San Diego LEND Application

    San Diego LEND is the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) training program in San Diego, CA. The program is funded by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and administered through the UC San Diego Altman Clinical Translational Research Institute Dissemination and Implementation Science Center and the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center in collaboration with San Diego State University and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.

    The purpose of the San Diego LEND program is to provide interdisciplinary and leadership training to graduate and post graduate trainees, practicing professionals, family members, and self-advocates focused on promoting equity in access to evidence-based services for individuals with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disorders (ASD/DD). It brings together faculty and trainees from public universities (UC San Diego, San Diego State University), a pediatric healthcare system (Rady Children's Hospital- San Diego), and government and community-based agencies from the San Diego and Imperial County communities. The program leverages multi-institutional collaborations and expertise in dissemination and implementation science, evidence-based practices, community-academic partnerships, and culturally responsive care models to increase the capacity and diversity of the workforce trained to meet the needs of individuals with ASD/DD.

    What makes San Diego LEND unique? 

  • San Diego LEND faculty have expertise applying implementation science, the scientific study of methods and strategies to promote the use of evidence-based practice and research by practitioners and policymakers, across community service systems caring for individuals with ASD/DD. 
  • We offer specialized training in implementation leadership, which is strategic leadership focused on supporting the use and sustainment of evidence-based practices. 
  • We leverage strong community partnerships and multi-institutional collaboration offering opportunities to use the strengths and expertise of both academic institutions and community partners to target service disparities and promote equity in access to evidence-based ASD/DD services.
  • We strive to provide interdisciplinary training that is responsive to the unique characteristics of our border community of San Diego and Imperial Counties with the goal of improving service and clinical outcomes for our residents.
  • Why become a LEND trainee?

    Benefits to being a San Diego LEND trainee include:

  • Training from LEND faculty with expertise in implementation science and community partnerships across service systems  
  • Opportunity to participate in innovative training and ongoing seminars focused on Implementation Leadership to promote equitable access to evidence-based care for individuals with ASD/DD
  • Targeted training in culturally responsive care for under resourced communities
  • Opportunity to provide technical assistance/consultation and produce policy briefs to improve the system of care for individuals with ASD/DD 
  • One-to-one faculty mentoring with core faculty members including mentored completion of the Individualized Development Training Plan and a Community Action Project 
  • Unique chance to learn with faculty and colleagues across disciplines
  • Individualized program scheduling to accommodate working professionals and community members
  • Stipend payment (for some trainees)

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    Who is elegible to be a LEND trainee?

    (1) graduate and post graduate trainees enrolled in one of the core disciplines

    (2) practicing professionals in one of the core disciplines

    The core disciplines include:

    • child and family development
    • clinical psychology 
    • school psychology
    • genetics/genetics counseling
    • neurology
    • pediatrics/developmental behavioral pediatrics
    • psychiatry
    • public health
    • special education/education
    • speech/language pathology  
    * If you are a trainee or practicing professional working in a discipline not represented in this list but you are interested in participating as a LEND trainee, please contact to discuss training options. 

    (3) family members of autistic or neurodiverse individuals  

    (4) autistic or neurodiverse self-advocates

    Family members and self-advocates are critical contributors to San Diego LEND. Family and self-advocate trainees participating as Long-Term Trainees can complete the 300 required hours over 1 or 2 years depending on their needs; LEND faculty will work closely with trainees to individualize training schedules as needed. 

    Training those from underrepresented groups or geographic areas within San Diego and Imperial counties is a very high priority. 

    Long-Term Trainees

    San Diego LEND will enroll 9 Long-Term Trainees annually. Long-Term Trainees will participate in 300+ hours in the San Diego LEND program during the training year.  Long-Term Trainees will engage in weekly didactic training, clinical and community practicum experiences, and complete a Community Action Project. Supplemental funding will be provided for up to nine Long-Term Trainees annually.

    What are the training requirements for Long-Term Trainees?

    If selected, trainees will be required to complete a minimum of 300 training hours and will complete the following activities: 

  • Weekly LEND seminars running September-May (Wednesdays 9am-12:30pm)
  • 2-day Implementation Leadership Workshop ( Friday January 21 from 12pm-4pm and Saturday January 22 from 10am-4pm) 
  • A clinical placement in the Rady Children's Hospital Autism Discovery Institute Multi-Disciplinary Team (Thursdays 8:30-1:30pm) 
  • A community placement (days and times TBA) 
  • Mentored completion of a Community Action Project 
  • Provision of consultation and technical assistance to local, state, and national public agencies, Title V programs, professional organizations, and community advocacy organizations along with LEND faculty
  • Monthly mentorship meetings with LEND faculty and mentored completion of the Individualized Development Plan
  • Project presentation at the "Expo" an interactive continuing education conference designed to showcase trainee Community Action Projects (May 18, 2022)

  • * See LEND Training section below for detailed description of training activities. 

    Medium-Term Trainees

    San Diego LEND will enroll 25 Medium-Term Trainees annually. Medium-Term Trainees will fall into two tiers: those who complete 40–149 hours of training, and those who complete 150–299 hours (i.e. advanced medium-term). Medium-Term Trainees will engage in selected didactic or practicum experiences through LEND as part of a formal course of study.

    What are the training requirements for Advanced Medium-Term Trainees?

    If selected, trainees will complete the following activities:

    • A clinical placement in the Rady Children's Hospital clinical training sites (days and times TBA) 
    • A community placement (days and times TBA)
    • Monthly mentorship meetings with LEND faculty and mentored completion of the Individualized Development Plan
    What are the training requirements for Medium-Term Trainees?

        The LEND program offers individualized program scheduling to accommodate Medium Term Trainees. If selected, trainees will complete selected activities including: 

      • Participation in one module (around 5 lectures) of the weekly LEND seminar series (Wednesdays 9am-10:30 OR Wednesdays 11-12:30pm)
      • Opportunities for clinical observation rotation in the Rady Children's Hospital clinical sites (days and times to be individualized to trainee schedule) 
      • Opportunities for community observation rotation in the community practicum sites (days and times to be individualized to trainee schedule) 

      * See LEND Training section below for detailed description of training activities. 

LEND Training:

    San Diego LEND is a comprehensive leadership training program that runs September through May. The program provides interdisciplinary and person-, family- centered training through didactic, community, clinical, leadership, and research training experiences emphasizing the promotion of equitable access to evidence-based care. All training activities are designed to allow trainees to participate in experiences to promote culturally responsive care. LEND training activities conducted in Imperial County are a priority. 

    Training activities for the 2021-2022 year will be a combination of virtual and in person activities  in accordance with institutional and public health guidelines.

    LEND training includes (1) didactic trainings, (2) clinical placements, (3) community placements and (4) Community Action Projects. 

    Didactic Trainings

    Didactic training includes LEND seminars and continuing education activities.

    LEND Seminars

    San Diego LEND will provide didactic educational experiences for trainees through a weekly seminar series with content from an Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders curriculum and a Leadership curriculum; as well as an intensive two-day leadership training.

    Our weekly Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders seminar focuses on 6 core modules that address:

    1) Autism Spectrum Disorders/ Developmental Disabilities/Genetic Disorders
    2) Screening, Evaluation, and Diagnosis
    3) Service Systems, Access, and Disparities in Care
    4) Evidence-based Interventions 
    5) Promoting Equity in Care
    6) Person and Family Centered Care

    Our weekly Leadership seminar focuses on 6 core modules that address:

    1) Implementation Science and Improvement Science
    2) Understanding and Conducting Research
    3) Teaching and Training
    4) Addressing Disparities: Self, Others, and Community
    5) Skills for Leading and Supporting Others
    6) Effective Communication for Program and Policy Change 

  • The Leadership seminar will also include a monthly roundtable responding to community technical assistance requests and developing Evidence-Based Practice and Policy Briefs. 
    Our intensive 2-day workshop provides training in Implementation Leadership to promote equitable access to evidence-based care.

    Attendance: Long-Term Trainees are expected to attend LEND seminars weekly, while Medium-Term Trainees will be asked to participate in at least one weekly seminar module with the option to attend as many seminars as their schedules allow. The intensive workshop is required for Long-Term Trainees but open to all LEND participants.

    Continuing Education Activities 

    LEND trainees will be invited to participate in continuing education and professional development activities.  

    • The UCSD/Rady Children's Autism Research and Practice CME seminar is designed to (1) increase knowledge of the latest research and practice innovations related to the causes, assessment, treatment, or services for individuals with ASD; (2) identify applications of evidence-based diagnostics and treatment practices to routine care for individuals with ASD; and (3) understand approaches to navigate complex community services for ASD. The UCSD/Rady Children's Autism Research and Practice CME seminar is offered monthly. 

    • The Implementation Science Seminar (ISS) is a lecture and grant development series featuring local, national and international scholars conducting state-of-the-art D&I research. ISS typically includes an investigator presentation followed by interactive discussion where researchers of all levels can share feedback, ask questions, and discuss ideas.  

    • The Dissemination and Implementation (D&I) Journal Club & Works in Progress is a monthly learning community to discuss the latest in D&I literature, workshop new proposals, and learn from D&I experts. The D&I Journal Club and Works in Progress is held monthly on the 2nd Thursday of the month from 2-3:30pm.
    • The Introductory Clinical Workshop in the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2) will teach participants how to assess and diagnose ASD using the ADOS-2. The CME workshop is designed to (1) demonstrate a basic understanding of how to administer and score the ADOS 2; (2) explain issues in the clinical application of ADOS-2 results; and (3) describe use of ADOS-2 for operationalizing diagnostic criteria for ASD. The two-day CME workshop will be offered once each training year and LEND trainees and the professional community will be invited to attend. 

    • The "Expo" is an interactive continuing education conference designed to showcase trainee Community Action Projects. It will be organized through the UC San Diego Dissemination and Implementation Science Center. Trainees will present their projects with LEND faculty serving as conference discussants. The Expo will be held annually and LEND trainees and the broader community will be invited to attend. 

    Clinical Placements

    San Diego LEND clinical placements will occur at Rady Children’s Hospital- San Diego through the Autism Discovery Institute Multi-Disciplinary Team and other ASD/DD screening, assessment, and intervention programs and are designed to provide experience (for clinical trainees) and exposure (for non-clinical trainees) to state-of-the-art interdisciplinary care. Clinical placements are required for Long Term and Advanced Medium-Term Trainees and will be included for Medium Term Trainees based on trainee availability and individual training goals. 

    Examples of potential clinical placement include:

    ·John M. Sachs Family Clinic for Autism Spectrum Disorder
    ·Autism Discovery Institute
    ·Down Syndrome Center
    ·Developmental Evaluation Clinic
    ·KidSTART Center
    ·Alexa's Playful Learning Academy for Young Children (PLAYC)

    Community Placements

    San Diego LEND will provide community practicum training experiences at programs throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties providing, coordinating, or studying care for individuals with developmental disabilities. Community programs span multiple community service systems (e.g., early intervention, educational, mental health, rehabilitation and vocational) and disciplines. Placements include services for traditionally underserved communities. LEND trainees will work with the Training Director to match at a placement relevant to their experience and LEND training goals.

    Community Action Projects

    All Long-Term Trainees and advanced Medium-Term Trainees will complete a Community Action Project focused on research or quality improvement. The focus of a research or quality improvement project will take a strengths-based approach and meet the following criteria: (1) build on the strengths of a community to address an identified need, (2) evaluate an identified evidence-based or promising practice for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families, (3) consider application of an implementation or improvement science measure, method or framework, and (4) address a topic to promote health equity in access or receipt of high-quality assessment, navigation or treatment/intervention.

    Trainees will receive guidance from a Faculty Committee that will include their Primary LEND mentor and two additional LEND faculty members. The trainee’s Faculty Committee will be available to offer ongoing supervision and technical assistance to ensure satisfactory progress in achieving the project goals and targeted feedback on best practices for conducting community-engaged implementation and improvement science projects.

Faculty and Staff:

    San Diego LEND Faculty

    The San Diego LEND faculty represent different academic disciplines and include individuals from diverse backgrounds.

    San Diego LEND Directors

    Program Director: Lauren Brookman-Frazee, PhD, BCBA-D
    Co-Director: Jessica Suhrheinrich, PhD
    Training and Evaluation Director: Colby Chlebowski, PhD

    Core Faculty

    San Diego LEND core faculty consists of Faculty Coordinators, Discipline Leads, and Course Instructors. 

    Faculty Coordinators

    Community Training: Mary Baker-Ericzén, PhD (SDSU; CASRC) & Kelsey Dickson, PhD (SDSU; CASRC)
    Clinical Training: Themba Carr, PhD (RCHSD)
    Equity Implementation Research & Practice: Paul Luelmo, PhD (SDSU) & Nicole Stadnick, PhD, MPH (UCSD; CASRC)

    Discipline Leads 

    Family: Rachel Haine-Schlagel, PhD (SDSU; CASRC)
    Genetics/Genetic Counseling: Kristen Wigby, MD (UCSD; RCHSD)
    Medicine/Adult: Mary Baker-Ericzén, PhD (SDSU; CASRC)
    Medicine/Pediatrics: Lauren Gist, MD, MPH (UCSD; RCHSD)
    Psychology: Lauren Brookman-Frazee, PhD, BCBA-D (UCSD; RCHSD)
    Public Health Policy: Nicole Stadnick, PhD, MPH (UCSD; CASRC)
    Self-Advocacy: Mary Baker-Ericzén, PhD (SDSU; CASRC)
    Special Education/ Education: Jessica Suhrheinrich, PhD (SDSU; CASRC)
    Speech Language Pathology: Sonja Pruitt-Lord, PhD, CCC-SLP (SDSU)

    San Diego LEND administrative coordinator: Maia Feliu  

How to Apply:

    Application Process

    We are still accepting applications for Medium Term Trainees for the 2021-2022 Training Year (initial training year starts September 2021).

    Applications for Long Term Trainees and Advanced Medium-Term Trainees for the 2021-2022 Training Year are currently closed. 

    Training individuals from underrepresented groups or geographic areas within San Diego and Imperial counties is a very high priority. Graduate or post-graduate participants, family members, and self-advocates are welcome to apply. Medium Term Trainee are only required to submit one letter of reference in their application. Please find application instructions here.

    All applicants must complete the San Diego LEND application  

    Additional required application materials for graduate/post-graduate or practicing professional applicants include:

    1. Resume/CV
    2. Two letters of references (using the LEND reference form)  
    3. A statement of interest that addresses applicant's interest in promoting equitable access to evidence-based care, applicant's leadership strengths and goals in the field of ASD/DD, and skills and competencies applicant is interested in developing during San Diego LEND training. Please limit statement of interest to one page. 

    Additional required application materials for family member applicants include:

    1. One letter of reference (using the LEND reference form)  
    2. One page statement describing your experiences as a family member of a neurodiverse individual. Please include any leadership, community, or advocacy interest or experiences related to ASD/DD that you may have. 


    Additional required application materials for self-advocate applicants include:

    1. One letter of reference (using the LEND reference form)  
    2. One page statement describing your experiences as a neurodiverse Self-Advocate. Please include any leadership, community, or advocacy experiences, which can include experiences advocating for yourself.


    Maia Feliu, LEND Administrative Coordinator, will be available to support applicants though the submission of application materials. She can be contacted at or T: (858) 966-7703 ext. 244805. 

    Family member applicants can contact Rachel Haine-Schlagel, PhD, the Family Discipline lead, for assistance and support for all aspects of the application process. She can be contacted at

    Self-advocate applicants can contact Mary Baker Ericzen, Ph.D., the Self-Advocate Discipline lead, for assistance and support for all aspects of the application process. She can be contacted at

    Applications will be reviewed by the Training Director and the San Diego LEND faculty team. Applicants meeting initial requirements will be contacted for a semi-structured interview with one or more core faculty members. Final decisions will be communicated to the applicant via email.

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