December 26, 2016—(BRONX, NY)—The U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration has awarded Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System a $3.5 million, 5-year grant to support the Rose F. Kennedy Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (RFK LEND). The program trains approximately 1,000 specialized care professionals each year to provide exemplary, interdisciplinary care to children with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs).
Theodore Kastner, M.D., M.S.“Healthcare for patients with autism and other IDDs is particularly complex,” says Theodore Kastner, M.D., M.S., co-director of the Rose F. Kennedy Center and director of the RFK Center Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (RFK CERC), and principal investigator on the grant. “Learning how to effectively evaluate, diagnose, treat and advocate for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities requires collaboration not only with physicians and nurses, but social workers, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists, dentists, psychologists and special education practitioners—to name a few. At RFK CERC, the trainees receive the interdisciplinary training they need to deliver the best care to this vulnerable population—and become an invaluable resource for their caregivers and families.”
Lisa Shulman, M.D.Approximately one in 68 children in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Access to timely services is a significant problem for children with ASDs, particularly in underserved areas such the Bronx, where RFK CERC is located. Building a workforce comprised of providers trained in interdisciplinary practices is necessary to meet the needs of all children.
The RFK LEND addresses this demand by training specialized healthcare professionals at RFK CERC, which provides a diverse range of services to more than 7,000 patients and their families each year. More than 85 percent of the children seen at RFK CERC receive Medicaid and more than 90 percent are from racial and ethnic minority groups.
“At RFK CERC, the trainees receive the interdisciplinary training they need to deliver the best care to this vulnerable population—and become an invaluable resource for their caregivers and families.”– Theodore Kastner, M.D., M.S.
“RFK CERC is a unique program, not only for the integrated care we provide, but for the diverse population we serve,” says Lisa Shulman, M.D., director of infant and toddler services at RFK CERC, associate professor of pediatrics at Einstein and co-principal investigator on the grant. “Specialists trained at RFK CERC—including developmental and behavioral pediatricians, special care and general dentists, genetic counselors, psychiatrists, social workers and many more—learn how to optimize coordinated care in order to better support children and families. They can also use this knowledge to build similar programs in other parts of the city, state and country.”
The grant (T73MC00027) is titled “Interdisciplinary Leadership Training in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities.