link to: University of Minnesota

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities

Community Advisory Council

The Community Advisory Council (CAC): The CAC consists of 15 – 20 members who are selected from the community partners and the MCH Title V partners. The CAC brings their experience and training to ensure that perspectives of families, community providers, advocates, policy makers, agencies and caregivers are reflected in the curriculum and all MN LEND activities. The membership of the CAC represents consumer/family members, provider organizations, governmental agencies, advocacy agencies and professional associations. One parent member of the CAC also serves on the parent advisory board to the Autism Spectrum and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Program, providing a very meaningful bridge.

Current membership of the community partners advisory group include:
  • Carolyn Alshouse, Family Voices of Minnesota
  • Chris Bentley, Fraser Institute
  • Barb Dalbec, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Mariam Egal, Minnesota Department of Human Services, (former MN LEND Fellow)
  • Cynthia Hillyer, Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Derek Maness, Office for Diversity in Graduate Education, University of Minnesota
  • Kiana Johnson, Childhood-onset Lupus Education and Research Foundation (former MN LEND Fellow)
  • Julie Kenney, Parent, IPSII, Inc.
  • Diane Loeffler, MN House of Representatives
  • Steve Piekarski, Arc Greater Twin Cities
  • Trina Simons, Community Advocate, (former MN LEND Fellow)
  • Bonnie Jean Smith, Parent, Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • Ed Sootsman, Social Services Supervisor Hennepin County Disability Services
  • Dan Stewart, Minnesota Disability Law Center
  • Jonah Weinberg, Autism Society of Minnesota

The MN LEND ensures that this group includes 50% family members and people who represent diverse communities within MN. The role of this advisory group is to work with the Leadership Team and to provide input and feedback on the design and outcomes of the MN LEND training and technical assistance activities. It is an essential advisory committee to the Leadership Team and information and input from this group is used by the Leadership Team to design, implement and evaluate all MN LEND activities.

The MN LEND welcomes contributions from our community. Our CAC meets quarterly. If you are interested in participating in the MN LEND CAC please contact Beth Fondell at or 612-624-6830.

Kristen Andrew 2011-12 LEND Fellow

"LEND showed me first hand the power that an interdisciplinary team can have in providing care for an individual. LEND played a huge part in helping shape my morals, ethics, and values as a future care provider. Through family testimonies or professionals sharing experiences, I was able to see how much an interdisciplinary team can benefit an individual and their family both in critical moments, and throughout the lifespan."

Kristen Andrew 2011-12 LEND Fellow