2016-2017 Fellowships

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2016-2017 Diversity Fellowship Programs

List of funded Centers:

Arizona (AZ)

California: UCLA (CA)

California: USC (CA)

Connecticut (CT)

District of Columbia

Florida (FL)

Georgia: GSU (GA)

Georgia: UGA (GA)

Illinois (IL)

Missouri (MO)

New Mexico (NM)

North Dakota (ND)

Rhode Island (RI)

South Dakota (SD)

Texas (TX)

Virginia (VA)

West Virginia (WV)

AZ – Institute for Human Development, Northern Arizona University

The Institute for Human Development’s (IHD) goal is to develop a lasting and sustainable Diversity Fellowship program to increase the number of underrepresented ethnic scholars in the field of developmental disabilities at Northern Arizona University. Each year, the project will recruit one fellow from an ethnically diverse background to participate in specific leadership activities and to actively participate in one of a number of research and/or community service projects offered through the IHD. The program will collaborate with key academic departments on campus, a state DD network partner and the Arizona LEND (AzLEND) program at the University of Arizona. The goal is to support the fellow the first year and have them participate in the AzLEND program their second year in order to increase their knowledge and skills in the area of leadership, cultural competency and networking across disability related organizations.

The objectives identified to meet the projects goals include:

  • Develop a plan to recruit, train and support a Fellow each year
  • Develop specific leadership knowledge and skills through targeted leadership training events and ongoing interdisciplinary leadership activities
  • Closely interact with local, state and national agencies involved with implementing programs for persons with disabilities in rural, underserved, diverse communities
  • Develop research skills related to specific project at the IHD designed to positively affect a community, organization and/or program
  • Develop advanced leadership and clinical knowledge and skills by participating in LEND training in the second year

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CA – Tarjan Center at UCLA, University of California Los Angeles

The Tarjan Center at the University of California Los Angeles will work closely with its partner, the UCLA Center for Child Anxiety Resilience Education & Support (CARES) to recruit and retain culturally and linguistically diverse trainees to participate in a Diversity Fellowship experience serving the historically underserved Hispanic and African American community of Watts in South Los Angeles. Trainees will implement health and education interventions for diverse children and parents and engage community stakeholders in their creation, implementation and sustainability. With this award, the Centers will provide a training, outreach, research, and leadership experience to achieve the following: 1) Recruit up to 3 culturally and linguistically diverse post-graduate and undergraduate Fellows. 2) Provide leadership tools to help Fellows increase their understanding of the values, processes, and strategies that shape culturally competent individual and organizational practices. 3) Guide Fellows through the completion of a Capstone Project with new resources, practices, or recommended policies to strengthen families and build inclusiveness in underserved diverse communities. 4) Harness the networks of participating agencies to enable Fellows to share and exchange information with the Tarjan Center, UCLA, local partners and broader community, and national network of UCEDDs about their experience, ideas and recommendations for promoting diversity and cultural competence.

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CA – USC UCEDD at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California

The goal of the USC UCEDD Diversity Fellowship program is to train and graduate one long-term Fellow (300+ hrs) who is a member of a racial/ethnic group currently underrepresented in the developmental disabilities field (preferably Hispanic), who has the knowledge, skills and competence to influence policy and practice at a systems level on behalf of underserved individuals with or at risk for intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). The Diversity Fellow will receive formal training on I/DD and systems which serve this population through participation in the CA-LEND long-term training program and will spend half of these hours in the field learning about the roles of each of the DD network partners in CA, and how they promote systemic change, individually and collectively. Funding from this program, will allow the fellow to have field experiences in LA and Sacramento, CA’s capitol, to understand and experience how legislation is crafted and passed to inform public policy for individuals with I/DD and how laws are then implemented at the local level. In addition, the Diversity Fellow will develop skills to analyze the nature of facilitating factors that promote laws effectively at the local level and barriers that prevent this process.

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CT – UConn Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service (UCEDD) is sponsoring a Diversity Fellowship for students from traditionally underrepresented groups who have experienced disparities in training opportunities at Institutions of Higher Education and UCEDDs. The fellowship is also partnering with the University of Connecticut Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CT LEND) training program. The Diversity Fellowship has two main goals.

The first goal is to provide a nine-month learning experience to three or more senior undergraduate trainees who are from culturally, racially, and linguistically diverse backgrounds and who are majoring in Human Services at Goodwin College. Fellows participate in weekly LEND didactic training sessions, observe a wide range of community settings serving children and youth with disabilities, contribute to a team research project, attend advocacy and leadership meetings, complete an individual community based capstone project, and receive mentoring and support. The students also participate in Partners in Policy making and the UCEDD Consumer Advisory Council and staff meetings, as well as training and research projects at the UCEDD. A main outcome of the fellowship is the completion of a career plan that includes graduate school in a discipline related to a career path in disabilities.

The second goal is to implement a leadership curriculum with 14 youth with differing disabilities who are the board of CT Kids Are Self Advocates (KASA), which is an affiliate of the National Family Voices organization. This fellowship will consist of 4 didactic all day meetings during the school year and a group capstone project. Each member will also attend at least one UCEDD staff meeting and at least one consumer advisory council meeting. The outcome will be the presentation of the capstone project at a legislative forum.

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District of Columbia – Georgetown UCEDD, Georgetown University

Georgetown University UCEDD will recruit, retain, and prepare one fellow from a racial/ethnically diverse background to assume leadership in early intervention for children and families from high risk urban areas experiencing health disparities due to background, disability, and social risk status. The fellow will receive didactic, service provision, and leadership training through:

  • Earning the GU Certificate in Early Intervention;
  • Mentoring to provide interdisciplinary team based service in community based early intervention;
  • Completing a community-based leadership capstone project focusing on the intersection of disability, diversity, disparity, and cultural competence;
  • Participating in the CLC Diversity Leadership Academy.

The fellow will engage with local, regional, and national networks of providers, advocates, program administrators, and government officials to exchange information, knowledge, and strategies that support AIDD diversity objectives. The goal is to develop a Diversity Fellowship program that prepares professionals to deliver evidenced based, culturally and linguistically competent early intervention to children and families in high risk urban areas. The objectives are to:

  • Recruit one trainee from a racial or ethnically diverse background;
  • Train her to provide contemporary early intervention;
  • Mentor her to become a leader in the field of developmental disabilities by completing a capstone project, participating in the Diversity Leadership Academy and other events.

The anticipated outcome is that children with developmental disabilities and/or delays and their families in high risk urban areas will receive services from a highly trained, culturally and linguistically competent interventionist who also will influence policy and practice in early intervention. The expected product includes service guidelines focusing on diversity, disparities, and cultural and linguistic competence.

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FL- Mailman Center for Child Development, University of Miami

The Mailman Center for Child Development in collaboration with the University of Miami’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (ODMA) will, in the course of this one-year project, build on our work in cultural competency training for future healthcare professionals. The goal of this project is to support the recruitment and retention of one diversity fellow from a diverse background to participate in a fellowship experience with opportunities to create systemic change through a capstone project. The objectives are to:

  1. Evaluate cultural competency practices in Mailman Center UCEDD training;
  2. Evaluate cultural competency practices in the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM) medical education;
  3. Implement cultural competency training for 100 Mailman UCEDD trainees, 200 medical students, and 100 residents; and
  4. Disseminate cultural competency curriculum through a national forum.

Anticipated outcomes include:

  1. UCEDD trainees, medical students, and residents who complete the cultural competency training will report increased knowledge about health disparities at the intersection of disability and other minority status;
  2. UCEDD trainees, medical students, and residents who complete the cultural competency training will report improved attitudes regarding diversity and inclusion; and
  3. UCEDD trainees, medical students, and residents who complete the cultural competency training will rate the training experience “Good” or higher.

The expected products are cultural competency training materials (i.e., online modules, tailored workshops) that can be used by other UCEDDs, residency training programs, and medical schools in the network.

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GA – Center for Leadership in Disability, Georgia State University

The goal of this initiative is for the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD/UCEDD) to partner with key Hispanic stakeholders in Georgia to build a coalition and increase knowledge and awareness about services and supports for Hispanic individuals with disabilities and their families. The objectives are:

  1. Maintain a local consortium of organizations that provide services and supports to Hispanic families;
  2. Create a web-based resource list of Spanish-speaking service providers in Metro Atlanta; and
  3. Convene a national workgroup of UCEDD faculty/staff/trainees who support Hispanic families across the US.

Anticipated outcomes include:

  1. Maintain a consortium in Atlanta, GA with representatives from Hispanic-serving organizations who wish to increase knowledge and awareness of disability services and supports within Hispanic communities;
  2. Develop a web-based list of Spanish-speaking service providers; and
  3. Establish a national work group of UCEDD members who are supporting Hispanic individuals with disabilities and their families.

The expected products are a website with local Hispanic service providers, four local consortium meetings, and two national UCEDD workgroup meetings.

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GA – Institute on Human Development and Disability, University of Georgia

The goal of the Institute on Human Development and Disability’s (IHDD) Diversity Fellowship is to support two University of Georgia graduate students from underrepresented/culturally diverse groups. One student will be newly recruited to IHDD, funded through a graduate assistantship. The second student, a current IHDD trainee who is an advanced doctoral student, will serve as a mentor to the newly-recruited student. Both Diversity Fellows will attend the AUCD conference and will be linked with AUCD, the UCEDD network, and other Diversity Fellows nationally.

The newly recruited Fellow will work within IHDD’s Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (IPSE) program, Destination Dawgs. The Fellow will complete a capstone project which will include research, development, and dissemination of materials on culturally competent supports, including a peer mentor training curriculum for students with intellectual and developmental (I/DD) disabilities from underrepresented groups in IPSE programs. This Diversity Fellow will enroll in two graduate level IHDD courses focusing on the social construction of disability, disability history, and the intersection between race/culture and disability. In addition, she will participate in IHDD events and will be mentored by IHDD faculty from diverse backgrounds and by the more advanced Diversity Fellow. Mentorship will focus on principles of culturally competent practice, strategies for developing culturally and linguistically competent materials, disability studies content, and IPSE programs. The Fellow will increase her knowledge of issues diverse people with disabilities face and will gain research and leadership skills.

The Fellow’s capstone project will result in a peer mentoring curriculum to support students with I/DD from underserved groups in IPSE programs. The Fellow will engage with IPSE programs in GA and beyond while developing the capstone project. When completed, the IPSE peer mentor curriculum will be disseminated to IPSE programs in Georgia, to the Georgia IPSE Consortium, to other UCEDDs, and to Think College, the national coordinating center for IPSE. The aim of the curriculum is to provide IPSE programs nationally with a tool to assist in recruiting and supporting underrepresented students.

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IL – University of Illinois UCE, University of Illinois at Chicago

The main goal of this proposal is to create a Diversity Fellowship Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago UCEDD, the Institute for Disability and Human Development (IDHD). To accomplish this goal, the IDHD will:

  1. Identify two fellows who meet the diversity criteria defined above
  2. Implement a one year mentorship plan that will support the fellows in developing leadership skills through
    • Participating in didactic instruction through course work designed to provide content on disability, diversity, empowerment and leadership
    • Creating and implementing a diversity related capstone project
    • Participating in a management immersion experience in which fellows will work closely with the UCEDD Director and Associate Director
    • Learning about disability legislation and legislative policy skills
    • Participating in an AUCD coordinated national forum for knowledge exchange and transfer across the UCEDD network
  3. Develop a plan to sustain fellowship past the project period

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MO – UMKC Institute for Human Development, University of Missouri

The University of Missouri Kansas City Institute for Human Development (UMKC-IHD) will continue to grow and develop a Diversity and Disability Graduate Fellowship program at UMKC. The goal of this Fellowship is to broaden participation of individuals from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in the developmental disabilities field. In addition to recruiting two new fellows to participate in this program, the second year of this initiative will focus on the creation of a leadership component designed to further the development of the current Diversity Fellows. The program will be supported through partnership with other UMKC academic departments and campus organizations.

The objectives are to:

  1. Recruit two new Masters level trainees from diverse backgrounds into the Fellowship program,
  2. Provide training and mentoring during a year-long Fellowship,
  3. Support the Fellows to plan, implement, and publish the results of a capstone project focused on community-based organizations, policy, and/or programs,
  4. Exchange and transfer knowledge and lessons learned through participation in a national forum and other means, and
  5. Develop a leadership component and sustain and further grow the Fellowship program.

Anticipated outcomes for the Fellows include:

  1. Enhanced leadership competencies, and
  2. Demonstrated research to practice competencies.

Outcomes for UMKC-IHD include:

  1. Increased participation of trainees from diverse backgrounds,
  2. New resources secured for growing the Fellowship program and
  3. A sustained Fellowship that serves as a pipeline for diverse professionals in the DD field.

Expected products include published capstone projects from the Fellows (report and webinar) and a lessons learned publication from project faculty to be shared with other UCEDDs.

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NM – Center for Development and Disability, University of New Mexico

The Center for Development and Disability (CDD) aims to prepare self-advocates from the racially and ethnically diverse state of New Mexico to assume leadership roles in disability systems through the creation of a formal Diversity Fellowship.

Goal: A cohort of self-advocates who completed the Diversity Fellowship will engage in making systemic change in community based activities, organizations, policy and/or programs in New Mexico and the nation.


  1. Recruit and enroll a self-advocate Diversity Fellow;
  2. The Diversity Fellow will complete a Capstone project that identifies leadership competencies and learning activities for the self-advocacy leadership curriculum;
  3. Develop and pilot methods for integrating self-advocates as full participants in community based activities;
  4. Disseminate the competencies and methods for supporting self-advocates as full participants; and
  5. Create a sustainability plan that includes the recruitment of 1-2 self-advocates who are racially or ethnically diverse for the Diversity Fellowship fall 2017 and a Capstone experience concerned with supports, systems, policies or programs impacting his/her life.

The Diversity Fellowship program will partner with NM LEND which will provide the fellows with access to both interdisciplinary practice and leadership training.

Outcome: A sustainable Diversity Fellowship at the CDD will be created with community partners by recruiting a self-advocate from a diverse background to participate in a fellowship who will implement a Capstone Project to build a cohort of self-advocates in New Mexico.

Products: Leadership competencies, curriculum activities/strategies, and methods to support racially/ethnically diverse self-advocates in leadership roles will be exchanged with the NM Council on Developmental Disabilities (DDPC) and with the AUCD network supporting the AIDD diversity objectives.

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ND – North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities, Minot State University

The North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD) at Minot State University aims to increase workforce development and service impact through the hiring of a Native American Diversity Fellow to act as a cultural broker, to facilitate engagement between NDCPD staff and Tribal members, and increase access to center projects through development of culturally and linguistically sensitive products and materials. To accomplish this, the Fellow and his mentoring team will create a measurable Individual Cultural Competence Leadership Plan (ICCLP), which will include various training and mentorship opportunities. This plan will also include the design and implementation of a capstone project focused on encouraging Native American high school youth to enter disability degree programs. Future funding and supports will be established to sustain the diversity fellowship into subsequent years. Participation in an AUCD supported national forum will promote networking and exchange of ideas. The outcome of this project is “to shape NDCPD’s 5-year plan to focus on serving underserved and unserved populations across the state.” This outcome will be measured by pre post satisfaction surveys, progress on the ICCLP, along with the collection of participant feedback. The project findings will be generalizable to most entities serving Native American, American Indian, Indigenous, First Nation, and Aboriginal people.

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RI – Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities, Rhode Island College

The goal of the project is “To recruit two long term trainees from culturally and/or linguistically diverse populations, to provide them with didactic and experiential learning that prepares them for a career in a disability related field and to match each trainee with a mentor who will assist the trainee in his/her year of study and in the beginning of his/her professional career.”

The project has six major components:

  1. Active outreach through an extensive network of college and community organizations that represent culturally and linguistically diverse populations;
  2. Selection of trainees using flexible multi-faceted selection criteria;
  3. Matriculation into a graduate curriculum and advisement by both discipline faculty and Sherlock Center faculty;
  4. Completion of the core UCEDD curriculum;
  5. Network sharing both with the Sherlock Center and with the AUCD network by participating in the trainee network and either the AUCD annual meeting or the Disability Policy Seminar; and
  6. Mentor Support from a professional active with one of the community organizations described in the narrative.
The short term outcome is the recruitment and preparation of two diversity fellows. The long term outcome will be a deepened relationship with community organizations as the source both for future trainees and for continuing engagement with diverse populations in Rhode Island.

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SD – Center for Disabilities, University of South Dakota

The purpose of the National Training Initiatives (NTI) Diversity Fellowship is to expand a culturally responsive training approach involving the recruitment, retention, and integration of fellows from Native American tribal communities within the USD Center for Disabilities (SD UCEDD/LEND) and South Dakota DD Network (SDDDN). This unique project’s goal is to implement and expand the collaborative-experiential-immersion (CEI) learning approach for a minimum of one fellow recruited via partnership with tribal elders and educators from:

  • Sinte Gleska University, a tribal higher education institution of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe,
  • Sitting Bull College, a tribal college on Standing Rock Reservation sited in both North and South Dakota, and
  • Oglala Lakota College, with one urban and nine rural sites on Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota.

The objectives include successful recruitment of fellows via tribal elders, development of strategic networks facilitating knowledge and use of SDDDN programs, didactic immersion of fellows within the SDDDN and SDDDN members within tribal communities and educational institutions, development and implementation of strategies to facilitate contributions of fellows to the SDDDN which support new methods of communication and programmatic adaptations and modifications to support increased patronage of services by persons with developmental disabilities within tribal communities. Dissemination of the influential stories and information garnered from the unique experiences of fellows and network members is also central to this endeavor. Materials and products will reflect storytelling as a traditional conduit for the transmission of knowledge and wisdom within Native American communities. Products will convey the multiple stories of fellows and SDDDN members through oral, written, and video formats.

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TX – Center on Disability and Development, Texas A&M University

The Center on Disability and Development (CDD) at Texas A&M University (TAMU) recognizes the importance of growing leaders in the field of developmental disabilities who are prepared to deliver culturally competent services and who are themselves representative of diverse backgrounds. In the previous year, we successfully recruited two graduate fellows through a grant from the Administration on Community Living, and another through funds from our Center. Based on our positive experience with these Fellows, our LTD2 project will expand our focus and commitment to enhance diversity both at our Center and through the AUCD network. The goal of the LTD2 Fellows Program is to produce a formal cultural competence fellowship that supports Fellows from diverse backgrounds. The project will include five objectives:

Objective 1: To recruit three qualified graduate students from diverse backgrounds into a fellowship program at the Center on Disability and Development
Objective 2: To provide interdisciplinary training and experiences that build cultural competence.
Objective 3: To provide produce products that will be disseminated throughout the AUCD network and other professional outlets.
Objective 4: To continue to provide fellowships past the project period.
Objective 5: To effectively manage the project and oversee project activities.

LTD2 recruits fellows from across graduate departments from the diverse graduate student body at Texas A&M University. The intent is not only to seek out diverse candidates, but to recruit Fellows from a range of disciplines so that training is highly interdisciplinary. Fellows attend biweekly cultural competence and diversity training supervised by the CDD’s Interdisciplinary Training Director in the Fall of 2016, and by the CDD director in the Spring of 2017. Fellows work weekly on projects that will build cultural competence alongside of a CDD-affiliated faculty member. Fellows will be encouraged to create products as part of their project with their mentoring faculty member. As a common culminating experience, all students will submit a proposal to present their project/product at the 2017 AUCD Conference. Interactions with other trainees in the AUCD network will be highly encouraged and opportunities to disseminate information through the network will be sought throughout the length of the project.

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VA –Partnership for People with Disabilities, Virginia Commonwealth University

The Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University will establish a Diversity Fellowship Program to support at least one diverse doctoral student each year to be immersed in diversity issues related to disability and who will become a part of a national cohort for knowledge exchange. The goal in year one is to increase focus, attention, and awareness on existing and emerging concerns and practices in disability and cultural and linguistic diversity. The capstone project will be focused on the UCEDDs cultural broker model used by its Center for Family Involvement. Long term Outcomes include: diverse perspectives inform and enhance UCEDD network programs; and staffing at the UCEDD reflect the greater diversity of our communities. Products that will be developed (and available in multiple languages and formats) include: descriptive information about the Diversity Fellowship Program, recruitment information, reports based on capstone project, and fact sheets/briefs/posters to share with Partnership staff members and partners that highlight diversity issues and promising practices.

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WV – Center for Excellence in Disabilities, West Virginia University

The Center for Excellence in Disabilities (CED) at West Virginia University (WVU) will sustain and expand a diversity fellowship experience that supports trainees from diverse backgrounds as defined by AIDD. The goal of this project is to increase fellows’ knowledge of disability services and available service supports in the local area and throughout the state. Additionally, we want to improve the workforce capacity of trainees to serve individuals with disabilities and their families. Based on the successful implementation of the Diversity & Disability Fellowship last year, we have adapted the curriculum to better meet these goals.

We will meet these goals through the completion of the following project objectives:

  1. Recruit up to six graduate students from diverse backgrounds to complete the Diversity & Disability Fellowship during the 2016-2017 academic year,
  2. Create a second year fellowship curriculum that expands on the knowledge learned during year one of the fellowship and is designed to improve disability services in West Virginia,
  3. Evaluate the project impact on level of knowledge gained by fellows and fellow satisfaction, and
  4. Facilitate assessment of cultural and linguistic competency of the CED.
Anticipated outcomes include increased professional knowledge and experience serving individuals with disabilities and their families, a new curriculum that could serve as a model for other UCEDDs wanting to replicate projects, and implementing initiatives designed to increase cultural and linguistic competency of CED staff and programming. The expected products include material used for recruiting, fellow orientation manual, curriculum framework, and evaluation survey tool.

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