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Spring 2017


The Boggs Center Celebrates Graduation of the Inaugural 2016-2017 NJLEND Cohort


NJLEND Fellows


2016-2017 Inaugural NJLEND Fellows: Deepa Srinivasavaradan, BS; Jeannette Mejias; Mason R. Shepherd, MA; Mikala Hanson, PsyM, BCBA; Rachel Patusco, MS, RD, CSP; Ronide P. Noelizaire, BA; Sapna Kakwani, BSN, RN; Spandana Nallapati, MD; Stacey Callahan, BA; and Boggs Center Interdisciplinary Trainee, Aleta Murphy


On May 5, 2017, the inaugural cohort of fellows graduated from The Boggs Center’s New Jersey Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (NJLEND) program. The NJLEND Maternal and Child Health Leadership Symposium was held at Children’s Specialized Hospital, New Brunswick, and featured a keynote address from Sue Swenson, MBA, Vice President, Inclusion International and former Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, US Department of Education. Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhD, Executive Director of The Boggs Center and NJLEND Director, and Christopher J. Haines, DO, MBA, FAAP, FACEP, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Children’s Specialized Hospital, welcomed attendees from the Rutgers community, NJ’s state Title V program, the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), and other state and community organizations. The highlight of the symposium was the NJLEND Leadership Project Poster Presentation, during which each fellow presented about his/her leadership project conducted throughout their time in the program.

To learn more about the 2016-2017 Inaugural NJLEND Fellows and Faculty Mentors, their experiences throughout the NJLEND year, and the impact of the NJLEND program, please view the NJLEND MCH Leadership Symposium Program and the following video featuring the 2016-2017 cohort: NJLEND Graduation 2016-2017

2,000 Participants Learn About Disabilities Through The Boggs Center’s
Disability Trivia Prize Wheel Booth at Rutgers Day

Rutgers Day 2017On April 29, 2017, The Boggs Center participated in Rutgers Day, an annual, family-oriented open house held on the New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden Campuses to highlight the University’s programs as well as the valuable contributions Rutgers makes to those in New Jersey and beyond. This year’s event was attended by a record 103,000 statewide. The Boggs Center coordinated a Disability Trivia Prize Wheel booth on the Busch Campus in Piscataway. 2,000 people learned about disabilities through a family-friendly trivia game that addressed topics including important public policies, person first language, and common myths.

Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhD and NJLEND Fellows Attend Autism Roundtable Discussion hosted by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez

Deborah Spitalnik, Deepa Srinivasavaradan, and Stacey CallahanDeborah M. Spitalnik, PhD, Director of The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, New Jersey’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (NJLEND), attended an Autism Roundtable Discussion hosted by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in Newark on April 12, 2017. The event, held in recognition of Autism Awareness month, brought together New Jersey leaders, experts, and parent advocates to discuss pressing issues confronting the autism community. Attendees provided input on the importance of Medicaid as a source of funding for long term supports and services, the need to protect research and training programs funded through the Autism CARES Act, and equal access to health care for children with autism. Deepa Srinivasavaradan, NJLEND Family Fellow, and Stacey Callahan, NJLEND Social Work Fellow (pictured with Dr. Spitalnik) were also in attendance.

Eric Courchesne, PhD to Present Autism Research: Prenatal Beginnings to Early Childhood Clinical Outcome at April 20 Developmental Disabilities Lecture Series


Developmental Disabilities Lecture SeriesIn recognition of Autism Awareness Month, the April 20 session of the Developmental Disabilities Lecture Series will focus on autism research. Eric Courchesne, PhD, Professor and Co-Director, Autism Center of Excellence at the University of California San Diego, will present "Autism Research: Prenatal Beginnings to Early Childhood Clinical Outcome" from 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM at the APA Hotel Woodbridge, Iselin, NJ. View details and register online



The Boggs Center Welcomes Rachel Anderson

Rachel AndersonRachel Anderson recently joined The Boggs Center as a member of the Project Support Team. She provides administrative support to the Employment and Aging, Grief, and Loss training courses as well as the Facing the Future conference and Developmental Disabilities Lecture Series. She also provides technical assistance for the College of Direct Support (CDS).  Ms. Anderson earned her BFA from the University of Maine at Farmington.

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