Fellows meet and interact with members of the leadership team on a weekly basis.
Amy Hewitt, PhD, MSW, is director of the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), A University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD): Dr. Hewitt serves on doctoral and master’s committees for students across a wide variety of academic and professional departments. Her responsibilities within the UCEDD include outcome and data reporting on the effectiveness of the UCEDD training program and post training leadership roles of ICI Fellows. She also directs several federal and state research, evaluation and demonstration projects in the area of direct support staff work-force development and community services. She has an extensive background and work history in intellectual and developmental disabilities and has worked in various positions over the past 29 years. Dr. Hewitt lives with an adult family member who has a diagnosis of autism and for whom she helps coordinate Consumer Directed Support Services through Minnesota’s Home and Community Based Waiver Services.
Andrew (Andy) Barnes, MD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he directs the fellowship program in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics. Dr. Barnes’s clinical work with children and families focuses on helping children gain mastery of their own mind-body interactions. Some of the ways that he helps children become more competent in this regard includes teaching them how to use biofeedback, mindfulness, and self-hypnosis to help themselves better regulate their own thoughts, feelings, and actions. Dr. Barnes’s research focuses on promoting resilience in children under stress, and on the interplay between behavior and biology. His current work focuses on the health and self-regulation of children growing up in homeless families. Dr. Barnes also enjoys teaching pediatric trainees about self-regulation and the fundamentals of early child development and behavior and helps direct professional trainings in pediatric clinical hypnosis. He frequently presents and teaches on these topics at local and national symposia and conferences.
Acting Research Director
Frank Symons, PhD, research emphasizes understanding the severe behavior problems of children and adults with special needs, primarily those with developmental disabilities and emotional or behavioral disorders. For these two groups, much of his research has focused on self-injurious behavior and classroom aggression, respectively. The majority of his research has been observationally based, theoretically grounded in behavioral principles, and driven by a commitment to meaningful, functional outcomes. He has two current specific areas of interest. One is the development, assessment, and treatment of problem behavior among children and adults with a range of neurodevelopmental and emotional/behavioral disorders. The other is the problem of pain among children and adults with significant cognitive impairments and associated developmental disabilities. Related areas of interest include observational research methods.
Jennifer Hall-Lande, PhD, is a Research Associate with the Institute on Community Integration (ICI). She is currently CDC’s Act Early Ambassador for Minnesota. Dr. Hall-Lande’s principal research and community outreach activities have been focused on screening, assessment, and interventions for children at risk for neurodevelopmental disabilities. Additional areas of focus have been ASD prevalence rates in diverse populations and policy issues around children and adult ASD waivers. Further, Hall-Lande has a focus on outreach to culturally and linguistically diverse communities with an end goal of increasing screening rates and reducing the age of diagnosis for children from culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Minnesota.
Program Director and Family Faculty-Mentor
Rebecca Dosch Brown provides day-to-day operational support to MNLEND faculty, staff and trainees. She coordinates data collection, required Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) reports, and the LEND grant renewal processes. Her work includes website management, clinical rotation coordination, curriculum and event planning, technical support, and coordination of the LEND application and awarding process. She also works as an editor of training curriculum for the Research and Training Center on Community Living at ICI. Rebecca came to her role after 20+ years in higher education as a lecturer, teacher trainer, editor, and adviser both overseas and stateside. She is currently enrolled as a PhD student in the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School in Public Policy, with a focus on disability policy and its intersection with race, class, and gender. Her teenage son is on the spectrum.
Family as Teachers Coordinator and Family Faculty-Mentor
Beth Fondell has been affiliated with MNLEND since its inception and provides leadership to the program by ensuring vibrant engagement from a Community Advisory Council comprised of parents, community leaders and self-advocates. In addition, Beth serves as the coordinator of the Families-as-Teachers component of the LEND program along with all activities associated with fostering competency in the area of public policy and systems advocacy. She is an instructor for the OLPD 5356 course called Disability Policy and Services where her 30 years of experience engaged in legislative advocacy to increase family support and community living options for children and adults with NDD provides substance to each student’s learning. After receiving her degree from the University of Minnesota and prior to joining the faculty there, Beth served as the director of policy and program development within The Arc and two other community-based organizations serving people with disabilities and their families. In providing oversight to the Families-as-Teachers experience through which MNLEND Fellows advance their knowledge and practice of family and youth-centered policy, programs and service delivery, Beth promotes the utilization of tools that reflect person and family-centered approaches. Her leadership spans career affiliations on several boards and committees with current roles focused on the work of the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living, AAIDD, Gillette Lifetime Specialty Clinic, and the AUCD LEND Family Discipline Network.
Community Coordinator and Community Faculty-Mentor
Macdonald M. Metzger, M.S. is DirectCourse Quality Coordinator at the Institute on Community Integration, Research and Training Center on Community Living, University of Minnesota. He provides quality assurance for the on-line College on Direct Support curricula. He supports the DirectCourse writing team to clarify roles and responsibilities; ensures that resources and structures are in place, authors are meeting their deadlines, and keeps a calendar of content development. He also serves as a writer and reviewer of College of Direct Support materials.
Macdonald has a Master's degree in Human Services, with a specialization in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. He has over five years of hands on experience providing quality services and supports to people with disabilities in residential, vocational, and community settings. His personal connection to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, underscored by the memory of his elder brother Amagashie, can be seen in every aspect of the passion, willingness and commitment he has shown towards advocating for programs and services that promote the quality of life for people with disability.
He has over ten years of work experience as a multi-media journalist. Previous employers include, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, MN Department of Human Services/MSOCS, Catholic Charities New York City, and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL Radio) as a Broadcast Journalist.
Macdonald has also consulted and volunteered for various local and international nonprofit organizations including the International Center for Transitional Justice (New York/Liberia Program), Afrobeat Radio (WBAI 99.5 FM New York), and KFAI 90.3 FM (Minneapolis).