New applications for the  2024-25 MNLEND cohort are now closed. Applications for the 2025-26 cohort will open October 15, 2024.


The MNLEND program welcomes Fellows from a variety of different professional, academic, and experiential backgrounds. MNLEND accepts Fellows from University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus academic disciplines, including Social Work, Public Health Administration, Maternal and Child Health, Special Education, Educational Psychology, Child Psychology, School Psychology, Nutrition, Genetic Counseling, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Occupational Therapy, Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology, Physical Therapy, and Pediatric Dentistry. Additional disciplines are welcome to apply.

MNLEND also warmly invites Fellows who are active community members in experientially-based fields, such as Community Advocacy, Family Advocacy, and Self Advocacy, and/or are working professionals in disability-related fields and/or graduate students enrolled in universities other than the University of Minnesota. A strong background and/or interest in systems change, as well as in disability, are expected to be shown in any application.

Applicants from under-represented racial, ethnic, or linguistic or under-resourced communities are strongly encouraged to apply to MNLEND.

Applicants for the MNLEND program must be US citizens or documented US permanent residents who can supply proof of residency. This restriction is required by our funder - the U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau - which is a federal government agency. International guests are welcome to apply but they cannot be awarded stipends.

Applications for the MNLEND program are accepted online. For alternative or accessible format options, contact BiKé Ojomo:

The next 2025-26 cohort, upon acceptance, will require active weekly participation from late August 2025 through mid-May 2026. 

Equal Opportunity Statement: The University of Minnesota shall provide equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Applicants from under-represented racial, ethnic, or linguistic or under-resourced communities are strongly encouraged to apply to MNLEND.

Questions regarding MNLEND applications? Contact BiKé Ojomo at

What type of Fellowship Should You Consider?

There are four types of MNLEND applications. Read below descriptions carefully and then select the application type that matches your situation the best.

Predoctoral Fellowship - Predoctoral fellowships are for graduate students enrolled at the University of Minnesota full-time. [Note: If you are a graduate student at a non-UMN program, then apply for a community fellowship - see below]. Predoctoral fellows are expected to complete a total of 320 hours minimum during MNLEND training.

Community Fellowship - Community fellowships are designed for self- and community-based disability advocates, family advocates, graduate students at non-UMN institutions, and/or working professionals/practitioners who have a strong interest in disability actively engaged in their communities. Community fellows are expected to complete a total of 320 hours minimum during MNLEND training.

Postdoctoral Fellowship - Postdoctoral fellowships are for UMN-based applicants who have completed their doctoral-level degree and are now working within a UMN-based center or department, or who have a specific research center in mind for continuing their research on the UMN Twin Cities campus. Reaching out to UMN research centers early on and gauging their interest in hosting you is encouraged prior to application, and a letter of support from a UMN Center would greatly strengthen your application.

Part-time postdoctoral fellowships are also possible in collaboration with an applicant’s respective University of Minnesota home department/center. Being housed at The University of Minnesota’s Institute of Community Integration may be a possibility for exceptionally strong postdoctoral candidates who can demonstrate extensive disability-related research experience. The MNLEND postdoctoral position is considered a full-time research and/or clinical position of 1,788 hours, and stipends are based on NIH postdoctoral standards available at Part-time postdoc positions are prorated both in stipend and hours based on NIH rates.

Medium Term Trainee (Unpaid) - Part-time Medium Term Trainees (MTT) can apply to join some aspects of the training program, such as select Thursday sessions, without needing to commit to fulfilling all of the MNLEND program requirements and hours. This trainee level is unpaid, but it can provide more flexible training for students and community members too busy to join full-time. What MTT can participate in is worked out in consultation with the program coordinator. At the end of a successful completion of their MTT year, MTT will receive an MTT participation certificate. MTTs typically complete between 75-299 hours.

Training Schedule

The MNLEND year officially spans from July 1 until June 30; however, active in-person training begins late August each year and runs through mid-May. Following an intensive two-day orientation and training in August, fellows are expected to attend weekly Thursday sessions from 8:30 am-12:30 pm, from early September through mid-May.

Fellow Requirements

  • Attend Late August two-day orientation and introduction to person- and family-centered thinking training
  • Attend Weekly Thursday mornings sessions, following the UMN academic calendar (Early September to Mid May)
  • Complete weekly assigned online training materials and written reflections
  • Complete Disability Policy and Services Competency Training
  • Complete Clinical observations at the M Health Autism/NDD Clinics and other available clinics
  • Join Families and Youth as Teachers experience
  • Complete a LEND project

For the MNLEND Application, you will need to:

  1. Update your résumé or CV to upload in PDF format into the application system.
  2. Locate two references who can attest in letter format to your professional and/or academic abilities and readiness for leadership training in MNLEND and let them know your preferred deadline. After you submit your reference information, both references will receive an automatic email from MNLEND using the email address you provided, with a one-time-use link they use to upload their letter of reference. They will need to upload their letter in PDF or Word.doc format by the deadline you selected.
  3. Draft a double-spaced Letter of Interest (LOI) (11-12 font size; 1 inch margins, single or double-spaced; 3-page max.) to be uploaded in PDF format. Your letter must address these points succinctly: Points to Cover in LOI (PDF).
  4. FOR PREDOC AND POSTDOC APPLICANTS ONLY: Obtain copies of your complete and in-progress university transcripts and upload them into the application system as one single PDF format, with the most recent transcript at top. If you are new to your graduate program, or just applied, upload your full undergraduate transcript and a list of in-progress courses.
    Unofficial copies of transcripts are acceptable, and again all transcripts should be combined into one scanned PDF document for uploading into the application system.