Focused on the rural Blue Ridge and Appalachian region of Virginia and bordering states, Blue Ridge LEND positions training as an effective strategy to expand the field’s workforce, advocate for best practices and innovations, and increase capacity for vital services.
UVA and MBU bring to Blue Ridge LEND proven experience in preparing students across multiple disciplines to work together in the field of childhood neurodevelopmental disabilities.
Micah Mazurek, clinical psychologist and Novartis U.S. Foundation Professor of Education at the UVA School of Education and Human Development, and Dr. Beth Ellen Davis, developmental and behavioral pediatrician and professor at the UVA School of Medicine, will serve as co-directors of the Blue Ridge LEND.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the potential for this new program to improve the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities across our region,” Mazurek said. “The Blue Ridge LEND will equip the next generation of leaders and professionals from across disciplines with the skills they need to advance the field and improve systems of care.”
After receiving the grant earlier this summer, work on Blue Ridge LEND training initiatives officially began on August 1 and will be funded for five years.
“The brand new Blue Ridge LEND joins a strong network of established LENDs across the country, to support children with disabilities through enhanced collaboration, discovery, dissemination, consultation and advocacy,” said Davis. “Its program is tremendously fortunate to include so many enthusiastic, experienced faculty at UVA and MBU, to ensure its success for years to come.”
Lisa Shoaf, dean of Mary Baldwin’s Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, worked with physical therapy student trainees in the VCU LEND program as a faculty member there before coming to MBU in 2012.
“The new Blue Ridge LEND partnership brings together the talents and expertise of both universities right at the heart of our mission — preparing students to work with professionals in multiple healthcare fields and provide care here in our community,” Shoaf said.