Navigating Change: Building our Future Together

Dear Colleagues,

It is with pleasure that we invite you to explore our annual report on the activities of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) during calendar 2016. In this year’s report, we highlight essays from leaders in our network who are helping to drive change in different areas that deeply affect the lives of children and adults with disabilities and their families across the lifespan.

One of the great strengths of our network is its breadth and diversity of expertise. With 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), 52 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) programs, and 14 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRCs), the AUCD network includes members in every state and territory of the United States. For every issue faced by someone with intellectual and developmental disabilities, there is someone at an AUCD member center researching, teaching, or working on that topic in collaboration with people with disabilities and family members.

2016 has been a very good year for the Association. We were delighted that the Maternal and Child Health Bureau chose to expand the LEND footprint from 43 to 52 programs, an important investment in bringing this critical workforce development program to more States and territories. LEND and UCEDD trainees and early career professionals are the future of the network, especially as we work to link traditional disciplines with family and self-advocate trainees. To boost these efforts we have been able to bring on a new staff person to lead us in expanding our engagement with and support of these future leaders in the disability field.

Partnerships are key to driving change and building our future, and this year AUCD partnered with the Institute for Community Inclusion (a UCEDD) at the University of Massachusetts in Boston to successfully compete for funding from the US State Department to support an international inclusive education fellowship program that will involve multiple centers across the network hosting fellows from around the world. AUCD secured a grant from the Walmart Foundation to support nutrition ambassadors who will promote healthy eating in the disability community through our centers in Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Oklahoma. AUCD also partnered with the Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement at Drake University to plan the first ever Harkin International Disability Employment Summit, taking place in Washington, DC, and bringing together 150 leaders from 31 countries and multiple sectors to help accelerate progress in the area of competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities across the globe.

It is our great honor and privilege to work with the members of the AUCD network, people with disabilities, and their families to create inclusive, supportive communities. We look forward to working with you to improve opportunities for our members and all those we serve in 2017 and beyond.

 

Celia S. Feinstein                                Andrew Imparato
Board President                                  Executive Director