Online Program

Growing our own in Alaska: Strengthening interdisciplinary leadership to improve services for children with autism and their families

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 12:45 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Virginia Miller, DrPH MS MPH, Department of Health Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
Karen Ward, EdD, Center for Human Development, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
Access to services for infants, children and adolescents with autism and other developmental disabilities in Alaska is seriously challenged by shortages across the professional workforce. Alaska shares this problem with other rural states, but the challenges are magnified by the diversity of populations and their dispersion across the vast landmass. With funding from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources Services Administration, DHHS, the Alaska LEND Without Walls (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities) aims to improve the health of children who have, or are at risk for developing, autism and other developmental disabilities by preparing professionals from nine disciplines to assume interdisciplinary leadership roles. A pivotal program component is a leadership/research project conducted by teams of trainees from different disciplines. Projects in 2012 involved a myriad of topics across the life course. Selected examples include: friendships and dating among youth who experience autism; a community needs assessment related to a transitional camp for children with autism entering school; resiliency among families with children who experience developmental disabilities; school-based identification of autism; the CAPTA system for service referral; and parent/caregiver trainings in rural communities. The goal is to develop a uniquely Alaskan model with interdisciplinary, community-based, family-centered teams to coordinate leadership training and culturally competent service delivery. Key elements to reducing health disparities entail using telehealth for service delivery, building on existing community services, employing distance delivered educational strategies and developing capacity to bring services, personnel, and community and continuing education to local communities.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the key components to the Alaska LEND Program List the unique challenges in Alaska to delivering services to children who experience developmental disabilities Discuss the leadership/research projects conducted in the Alaska LEND Program

Keyword(s): Disability, Access to Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as Training Director for the Alaska LEND without Walls Program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.