LEND Boston

The LEND program at Boston Children's Hospital is in its second year of a five-year award. We offer interdisciplinary training to a new cohort of LEND fellows each year. We sponsor 20 - 25 Fellows representing 14 disciplines as well as those with family/lived experience of disability. Fellows participate in a series of didactic seminars and courses each Friday from September through May. Course work focuses on interdisciplinary evaluations, Life Course perspective and public health, cultural humility and anti-racism, family-centered care and the medical home. Additional seminars are devoted to clinical discussions, evidence-based research, Autism Spectrum Disorder, management/conflict resolution, and disability policy.

Fellows participate in community visits to families (one visit per semester, in person or on zoom). Most fellows affiliate with a community-based organization (CBO) that offer services to diverse populations throughout the Boston area. These include the Haitian-American Public Health Initiative (HAPHI), Somali Development Center, Family Nurturing, Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education, Somali Parent Advocacy Center for Education (SPACE), Children's Communication Center/Beverly School for the Deaf, Foundación Cambiando El Mundo De Personas Con Discapacidad (CEMDPCD), and Mass Act Early. This year, with placements in our Autism Spectrum Center and Zander Translational Neuroscience Center/Intellectual and Developmental Disability Research Center, we have added two new opportunities for Fellows to participate in the movement to create a more Autism-Friendly Hospital at Boston Children’s and to provide input into how research on intellectual and developmental disability is conducted and communicated. Fellows additionally participate as discussants in hosting Title V program directors.

Other fellows who are Pediatric Audiology Externs, Developmental Behavioral Pediatric (DBP) Fellows, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (NDD) Fellows, postdoctoral psychology fellows, and occupational and physical therapy (OT/PT) residents focus much of their attention on their clinical work. Non-clinical fellows also have the opportunity to observe multidisciplinary assessment clinics at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Near the end of the year (usually in March), fellows go to Washington DC for the annual Disability Policy Seminar that includes visits to Capitol Hill with their elected Representatives and Senators. The end-of-year convocation will be in May 2023.

2023-2024 LEND Fellows

Lend Fellows for 2023-24

1st row: Lesa Antoine, Lexi Burian, Sydney Closs, Kristen Connors, Cynthia Conti
2nd row: Haluwa Doherty, Eithne Egan, Karina Jirik, Jillian Lawlor, Elizabeth Ninan
3rd row: Jevon Okundaye, Amy Peters, Yonatan Quezada, Heather Satterwhite, Janine Savage
4th row: Sarah Scharlin Ben Hamoo, Lisa A. Sims, Sarah Soffer, Chloe Song, Elizabeth Strager
5th row: Gwendolyn Strickland, Lindsey Sweet, Rachel Takes, Valeska Toledo, Allison Wong


LEND Faculty in the news

Congratulations to Dr. Munir! LEND faculty, Dr. Kerim Munir, received an award at the 2023 AUCD Conference in Washington, DC. Former LEND Director, David Helm, presented the award to Kerim Munir. Dr. Munir was recognized for his extensive and impactful international work in support of individuals with disabilities.

Dr. Kerim Munir speaking at AUCD conference

Dr. Munir speaking at AUCD conference.

David Helm presenting award to Kerim Munir at AUCD conference

Dr. Helm presenting an award to Dr. Munir at AUCD conference.

Kerim Munir (second from left) joined his colleagues, (L-R) Amy Szarkowski, Gyasi Burks-Abbott, Cindy Thomas and David Helm for photo after receiving his award.

Kerim Munir (second from left) joined his colleagues, (L-R) Amy Szarkowski, Gyasi Burks-Abbott, Cindy Thomas and David Helm for photo after receiving his award.

Dr. Amy Szarkowski was the Invited Keynote Presenter at the national Language First conference, which emphasizes the need for language exposure and access for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). Language First brings together researchers, clinicians, educators, DHH professionals, and family members. Dr. Szarkowski's presentation, "Promoting Pragmatics in Children and Youth who are DHH, including those with disabilities," highlighted the need for fostering language that promotes social interations and relationships with others.

Dr. Amy Szarkowski speaking at the national Language First conference

Dr. Amy Szarkowski speaking at the national Language First conference.