2017-2018 Fellowships

AUCD Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit Logo

2016-2017 Diversity Fellowship Programs

List of awarded Centers:

Arizona (AZ)

California (CA)

Colorado (CO)

District of Columbia

Georgia (GA)

Illinois (IL)

Maryland (MD)

Massachusetts (MA)

Michigan (MI)

Ohio (OH)

Tennessee (TN)

Utah (UT)

West Virginia (WV)

AZ – Sonoran University Center for Excellence in Disabilities, The University of Arizona

The University of Arizona Sonoran University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (SUCEDD) will host 3 students in 2017-2018 in a Diversity Fellowship program. Fellows will receive training and leadership skills in the disability field, while creating SUCEDD programming and conducting outreach to underserved communities regarding the long-term individual and social effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The project goals are two-fold:

  1. To provide fellows with a structured leadership experience while creating the framework for a sustainable SUCEDD Diversity Fellowship program; and
  2. To partner with American Indian communities in building mutual knowledge about TBI services and supports.

The SUCEDD’s existing certificate curriculum will provide formal disability education, thus augmenting structured mentoring and leadership development. Fellows’ capstone projects will center on addressing Native community-identified needs for TBI information and resources. Throughout the year, SUCEDD faculty will document the program and process in order to create a plan for sustaining the Diversity Fellowship into the future.

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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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CO – JFK Partners, University of Colorado, Denver School of Medicine

JFK Partners prepares fellows from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to create systems change on behalf of persons from diverse backgrounds who have intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Diversity Fellows will select one of two training tracks consistent with previous preparation and individual goals: a) Health Professional Diversity Fellowship or b) Advocacy (self- and/or family-advocacy) Diversity Fellowship. JFK Partners is committed to the recruitment of culturally and ethnically diverse individuals. Bilingual Spanish-speaking applicants, and other qualified applicants, are encouraged to apply.

During the 2017-18 academic year, JFK Partners faculty will mentor and train five culturally/linguistically diverse Fellows in selected coursework from the interdisciplinary core UCEDD/LEND curriculum, consistent with level of prior preparation, culminating in a community-based Capstone Project. Practicum experiences and completion of the Capstone Project will be dependent upon training goals. Recruitment of one Diversity Fellow for 2018-19 was initiated in fall 2017.

Goal: JFK Partners will expand their Diversity Fellows Program which prepares trainees from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to create systems change on behalf of persons from diverse backgrounds who have intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families.

Objectives are to:

  • Recruit Diversity Fellows to be trained during 2017-18 and at least one Diversity Fellow recruited for 2018-19;
  • Offer a formal curriculum that enables Diversity Fellows in health professions and advocacy tracks to attain training goals;
  • Supervise Diversity Fellows in a Capstone Project; and,
  • Engage Diversity Fellows in dissemination and networking activities with Colorado and national colleagues for the exchange of information, knowledge, and strategies that support AIDD diversity objectives.

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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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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 a University of Georgia graduate student from underrepresented/culturally diverse groups. The student will be newly recruited to IHDD, funded through a graduate assistantship. She/he will attend the AUCD conference and will be linked with AUCD, the UCEDD network, and other Diversity Fellows nationally. In addition, she/he will participate in IHDD events and will be mentored by IHDD faculty from diverse backgrounds and by the more advanced Diversity Fellow from the previous cohort.

The Diversity fellow will enroll in one graduate level IHDD course(s) focusing on the social construction of disability and disability history. They will also be exposed to curriculum materials related to the intersection between race/culture and disability, and developing cultural competence. They will have increased knowledge and skills related to implementing culturally competent practices in working with people with disabilities, developing culturally and linguistically competent materials, disability studies content, and IPSE programs. The fellow will increase her/his knowledge of issues diverse people with disabilities face and will gain research and leadership skills.

The Fellow will complete a capstone project which will include piloting, revising, and disseminating a peer mentor training curriculum (developed by the fellow in previous cohort), for students with intellectual disabilities from underrepresented groups in IPSE programs. The Fellow will engage with IPSE programs in Georgia and beyond while piloting and revising 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 continue our Diversity Fellowship Program at the UIC UCEDD, the Institute for Disability and Human Development (IDHD). This program will sponsor up to four fellows who identify with at least one of the following categories defined by AIDD:

  1. Individuals from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds
  2. Individuals with limited English proficiency
  3. Individuals from underserved geographic areas (rural or urban)
  4. Different disabilities; and,
  5. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender.
To accomplish this goal, the IDHD will:
  • Identify four fellows who meet the diversity criteria defined above 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 of a diversity related capstone project
    • Participating in a management immersion experience in which fellow 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

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MD – Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities, Kennedy Krieger Institute

The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute (MCDD) recruited a diversity fellow in partnership with the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The fellowship complements a number of efforts underway at MCDD to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities across the lifespan from varied racial and ethnic minority backgrounds and their families enjoy increased and meaningful opportunities to access and use community services. During the course of the fellowship, the fellow will work with a statewide advocacy group of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, People On the Go of Maryland (POG), to develop initial goals around diversity, cultural competency, and inclusion. The fellow will work with regional and local groups of under-represented minorities in disability advocacy to identify and prioritize group needs. Other work includes assisting self-advocates with improving the quality of their member data, and working with POG and MCDD to develop a plan for a multi-year approach to improving diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency within the self-advocacy network.

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MA – Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Institute for Community Inclusion, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at the Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), will partner with a Community Based Organization (CBO), the Somali Development Center (SDC), to recruit one SDC Diversity Fellow for a year-long intensive training program and Capstone project on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and cultural issues. The goal of the SDC Diversity Fellowship is to increase awareness, knowledge and understanding of I/DD in the population served by the SDC and facilitate access to services and supports. The objectives are:

  1. To recruit, select and train one long-term SDC Diversity Fellow from this culturally and linguistically diverse background including individuals with disability;
  2. To implement a comprehensive training program (to include participation in LEND) for the trainee resulting in specific knowledge, leadership competencies and skills concerning I/DD;
  3. To apply, practice and share collaborative community strategies, methods, and activities; and
  4. To disseminate knowledge that promotes inclusion and diversified leadership within CBOs and the DD network.
Anticipated outcomes include:
  1. Greater knowledge of I/DD and understanding of access to services for the US Somali families and caregivers;
  2. The development of an ongoing presence in the SDC concerning I/DD;
  3. A deepening of the SDC and UCEDD /ICI/BCH partnership; and
  4. An increase in knowledge for the SDC Diversity Fellow to have impact on the DD network.
The Capstone project is expected to include culturally sensitive outreach materials for I/DD awareness and a final written summary report outlining the process and outcomes of the community collaboration with recommendations for policy.

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MI – Developmental Disabilities Institute, Wayne State University

The goal of the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute (MI DDI) Diversity Fellowship Project is to support one long-term Fellow who is a member of a racial/ethnic group currently underrepresented in the intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) field (preferably Arab American) to increase his/her knowledge and skills in the area of leadership, cultural competency and networking across disability related organizations. The Diversity Fellow will receive formal interdisciplinary leadership training on I/DD and systems which serve this population through participation in the MI-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 Michigan, and how they promote systemic change, individually and collectively.

Four objectives support this goal:

  1. Develop a plan to recruit, train and support a Diversity Fellow each year;
  2. Develop specific leadership knowledge and skills through targeted interdisciplinary training events and activities;
  3. Guide completion of a Capstone Project designed to positively affect a community, organization and/or program with new resources, practices, or recommended policies to strengthen families and build inclusiveness in underserved diverse communities; and
  4. Create cross collaboration with the Michigan DD Network’s Community of Practice and Disparities Leadership Committee’s work to enable the Fellow to share and exchange information with MI DDI, 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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OH – Nisonger Center, The Ohio State University

This program will support the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act's (DD Act) goal to bring larger numbers of racial and ethnic minorities into pre-service training and complete community training to address the growing needs of an increasingly diverse population. The project will enroll Somali Community Health Workers (SCHW) into an integrated curriculum of coursework, interdisciplinary clinical training, and completion of a capstone project. The goals of the project are to increase diversity at the UCEDD and to address health disparities among Somali children with ASD/DD. Outcomes will be measured through collection of NIRS data on trainee diversity and via qualitative data regarding attitudes/beliefs and practices of Spmali mothers regarding ASD/DD. Additional trainee data will be collected using the Individualized Learning Plans and the Cultural Competency Self-Assessment and dissemination metrics of activities and products will be collected and reported in NIRS.

Goals and objectives of the project are as follows:

  • Goal 1: to provide effective pre-service training to Somali Community Health Workers to identify and address barriers to early intervention among Somali Americans families in Central Ohio.
    • Objective 1.1: At least 2 pre-service diversity fellows will participate in an integrated curriculum to prepare them as ASD/DD cultural community health workers.
      • Objective 1.1.1: Diversity fellows will participate in core classes on Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Developmental Disabilities.
      • Objective 1.1.2: Diversity fellows will participate in 20 hours of interdisciplinary clinical training to learn about ASD/DD.
      • Objective 1.1.3: Diversity fellows will complete a capstone project related to ASD/DD to address barriers to care among the families they serve.
  • Goal 2: To disseminate evidence based information on autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities within the Somali community.
    • Objective 2.1: Diversity fellows will develop a bilingual ASD/DD educational/resource guide (both print and YouTube) of information and services for children with ASD/DD for distribution to Somali families in Central Ohio.
    • Objective 2.2: Somalian and the diversity fellows will distribute the ASD/DD educational materials to 10 Somali cultural sites in the Central Ohio community.
    • Objective 2.3: Post educational guides to Nisonger website and AUCD.

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TN – Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of Tennessee Health Science Center

The University of Tennessee Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities (BCDD), a University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), in partnership with the University of Memphis, a minority-serving institution, develops and implements a sustainable diversity fellowship to address disparities experienced by historically underrepresented communities in Memphis. Objectives include:

  1. Formalized participation of a doctoral level student of minority status with a personal experience of disability within the community and training operations of an urban UCEDD;
  2. As part of a capstone project, collaborate with local and statewide DD agencies to connect communities of color and disability not sufficiently represented within the UCEDD and DD Network;
  3. Develop knowledge and skills necessary to provide culturally competent, comprehensive, coordinated family-centered care for people with disabilities from a wide variety of backgrounds and family structures; and
  4. Help inform and expand the reach of family centered and culturally competent services for communities and groups historically underserved by the UCEDD.
Planned products include a new training pipeline with a minority-serving institution, increased diversity on the UCEDD’s Community Advisory Council, a new community partnership with an organization that serves adults with I/DD, new focus group data from a underserved community in Memphis, and a presentation/poster at a national conference.

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UT – Center for Persons with Disabilities, Utah State University

The proposed project focuses on increasing awareness of disability issues within Native American (NA)/American Indian (AI) populations in Utah and building disability leadership opportunities for people from this minority group. Utah is home to five NA/AI tribes (Ute, Paiute, Goshute, Shoshone, and Navajo) and other racial groups, who consistently demonstrate high need in the areas of education and health services. Partner agencies will help to contact and recruit affiliated members from their organizations as well as local support groups, Native American Student Council (NASC), school districts, and local health agencies such as the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake City (UIC-SLC) to help advertise, recruit, and identify NA/AI communities’ leaders and potential resources to be included into the project process. For example, our project partner, the Psychology Department at Utah State University (USU), has a long history of supporting and educating leaders who come from NA/AI backgrounds through its long standing (since 1986) American Indian Support Project (AISP), have already helped us to recruit a leader fellow who will work with the Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) project staff to collect data, prepare materials and information important to NA/AI families who have a family member with disabilities or who are at risk for disabilities. We will collect qualitative data (interviews, observations, and focus groups) from Utah NA/AI participants. This information will be analyzed, discussed, and processed by the project team before sharing through a series of collaborative, culturally appropriate, interactive presentations to both academic and NA/AI community audiences. The recruited fellow will become an active member of a network that will provide updated disability related health information to diverse NA/AI families and communities.

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WV – Center for Excellence in Disabilities, West Virginia University

The West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities (WVU CED) will expand its existing Diversity & Disability Fellowship Program (FY16 and FY17) by seeking to create the Health Professional Diversity and Disability Fellowship (HPDDF) Program. The HPDDF Program will increase fellows’ knowledge of disability services and supports and improve the workforce capacity of fellows to serve individuals with disabilities and their families. The fellowship’s focus on health professionals will reach a different student population who will work with individuals with disabilities in their healthcare careers. The goal of this program is to recruit fellows from diverse backgrounds and increase their knowledge of disability (e.g., etiology, impact), disability services, and health care considerations for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, we will improve the workforce capacity of fellows to serve individuals with disabilities and their families. We have adapted the existing fellowship curriculum to address our goals for health professions students. In the proposed funding period, we will complete the following objectives:

  1. Recruit two fellows from health professional programs who represent diversity groups;
  2. Complete proposed fellowship curriculum; and
  3. Disseminate the results and lessons learned from the fellowship.
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 the addition of content designed to increase cultural and linguistic competency to the WVU health science program curriculums. The expected products include materials used for recruiting, fellow orientation manual, curriculum framework, and evaluation survey tools.

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