LEND Fellows may come from all walks of life. Some are incoming or current graduate students across the University of Minnesota campuses. Some are post-doctoral candidates based within University of Minnesota departments or research centers. Many Fellows are people with disabilities/self-advocates, family allies/advocates, or community-based working professionals. 

MNLEND Fellows are selected for their outstanding skills, leadership potential, and lived experiences. They must show a commitment to developing themselves, via LEND, to become leaders who will work hard to improve the quality of life outcomes for children and adults with NDD and their families.

In partnership with 14+ University of Minnesota academic departments and research centers, MNLEND provides Fellows with an enriching 10-month weekly training to ensure collective growth of their leadership skills and knowledge. They will become able to work comfortably within interdisciplinary and collaborative settings, so as to promote systems, services, and policy improvement and to push collectively for systems change.

MNLEND awards approximately 30 fellowships a year. 

MNLEND training is delivered in a hybrid in-person and online format, yet solely online training is an option for Fellows who cannot attend in-person due to health, distance, work and/or family obligations.

Fellow Benefits

There are many benefits to being a LEND Fellow.

  • Opportunity to participate in a year of multidisciplinary clinical and community training experiences, with one-to-one mentoring
  • Unique chance to learn with a group of Fellows from many disciplines and diverse lived experiences about neurodevelopmental disabilities
  • Stipend payment 
  • Focused training on enhanced leadership skills and the U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau's twelve MCH competencies
  • Connections to LEND Fellows and faculty across the United States who share an interest in both neurodevelopmental disabilities and advocacy

Fellow Requirements & Opportunities

Below is a sampling of Fellow requirements and opportunities. 


  • Attend Late August two-day mandatory orientation and person- and family-centered thinking training
  • Participate in weekly thematic modular sessions on Thursdays, following the University academic calendar (Early September to Mid-May)
  • Take the Disability Policy and Services course (OLPD5356)* - This course is part of the Disability Policy and Services Certificate. The complete 12-credit certificate is optional for Fellows. *An alternative Policy & Advocacy training could be substituted for OLPD5356, if the class cannot be taken for tuition credit
  • Observe and learn at clinical sites, such as the University of Minnesota ASD/NDD Clinic and other campus and metro-area interdisciplinary clinics
  • Receive a Families as Teachers experience - Fellows take time to learn directly from families and self-advocates with disabilities
  • Take online self-paced training modules for supplemental learning and self-development
  • Join team-building activities, special events, conferences, and additional optional trainings
  • Complete an Individualized policy-, clinical-, community- and/or research-based project under direction and support of a MNLEND faculty-mentor

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