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Current Center News

The Boggs Center Celebrates the Graduation of the 2020-2021 NJLEND Fellows at the 5th Annual Maternal and Child Health Leadership Symposium

NJLEND Class of 2020-2021 photo collageOn May 7th, 2021, The Boggs Center celebrated the graduation of the 2020-2021 NJLEND Fellows at the New Jersey Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (NJLEND) program’s 5th annual Maternal and Child Health Leadership Symposium. Held virtually this year in response to COVID-19, the event featured a keynote address, “The Meaning of Resilience: Building Self-Healing Communities,” by Dave Ellis, Founding Executive Director, The Office of Resilience, New Jersey Department of Children and Families, and was attended by those from the Rutgers community, New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families and Department of Health, SPAN Parent Advocacy Network, and other state and community organizations. There were brief video presentations by each of the 20 graduating NJLEND Fellows sharing their personal definitions of leadership, the culmination of the year-long Defining Leadership: Charting Your Trajectory Learning Exercise.

NJLEND Fellows presented their Leadership Project Posters at a separate virtual session on Friday, April 30, sharing the culmination of their year-long projects with each other and the NJLEND Faculty.

Congratulations to the 2020-2021 NJLEND Fellows and Boggs Center Interdisciplinary Trainees: Alexandra Gil, MA; Alexis M. Morgan, BS; Ana Carolina Ford, BSN, RN; Angela Otto-Ryan, BSN, RN, CBC; Angela Alberti, MEd, BSN, RN; Brie Marisa Latini; Isabella Massaro, BA; John Palatucci, MPA; Karen Stanfar MPH, RDN, LD; Kelly McGrath BA, CSW, LSW; Lena Qasem, BSN, RN; Michelle Shulman-Repole, MSN, MPH, APN, CPNP-PC; Nadejda Tomarev, MD; Norna P. Jules, BS; Odeilis Dominguez, MD; Samantha Breitbart, BSN, RN; Sharon Plafker Artz, PsyD; Stephanie L. Michael, BA, IMH-E; Susan Colacello; Tara Palamarik; Ariana Gover-Chamlou; Dillon Reitmeyer, MSW; Morgan Neumann; and Marina Khrizman, DO.

Part of a national network, The Boggs Center’s NJLEND program provides graduate-level interdisciplinary training aimed at preparing the next generation of health and allied health leaders to address the needs of children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), related developmental disabilities, and other maternal and child health populations. Funding for LEND programs is authorized by the Autism CARES Act and is administered through the federal Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

To learn more about the NJLEND program, view the NJLEND 2020-2021 Annual Report.

 

New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Now Accepting ApplicationsNJ Partners in Policymaking graphic

New Jersey Partners in Policymaking is a leadership development and advocacy education program foradults with developmental disabilities (over age 21) and family members of young children and transitionage youth available through collaboration between The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, and Disability Rights New Jersey. The goal of this program is to prepare the next generation of disability advocates to work toward meaningful change in our state.

The 2021-2022 Partners in Policymaking sessions are currently scheduled to takeplace using a hybrid model that combines virtual learning through the use of online technology and potentially in-person training sessions. While we hope to be able to meet in person in January, the situation will be monitored and accommodations to continue with virtual learning will be made as needed.

New Jersey Partners in Policymaking is committed to building a diverse group of participants that is reflective of the needs, geography, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds of New Jersey. The Partners program is now accepting applications from people with developmental disabilities and family members for the class of 2021-2022.

Download the application to learn more about the program and how to apply

Applications must be received by June 25, 2021. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by July 30, 2021.

Visit the NJ Partners in Policymaking page on The Boggs Center's web site for additional information.


New Video: Considerations for Individuals at COVID-19 Vaccination Sites

 

New Jersey Department of Human ServicesL Considerations for Individuals with Disabilities at COVID-19 Vaccination SitesThe New Jersey Department of Human Services and The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities produced a webinar for COVID-19 vaccination sites with considerations for individuals with disabilities. The webinar serves as a guide to help ensure COVID-19 vaccines are accessible to all New Jerseyans, including individuals with disabilities. Together, by ensuring accommodations, we can help promote a healthier New Jersey for everyone.   View the Video

 

The Boggs Center Celebrates Graduation of New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Class of 2020-2021

 

NJ Partners in Policymaking Class of 2020-2021

On April 17, 2021, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities hosted a virtual graduation ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Class of 2020-2021.

New Jersey Partners in Policymaking is a leadership development and advocacy education program for adults with developmental disabilities and family members available through The Boggs Center with funding from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities. This year's graduates included 11 self-advocates and 14 parents prepared to work toward meaningful change in our state.

Using online technology, Colleen McLaughlin, The Boggs Center's Associate Director and Partners Project Director, welcomed graduates and invited guests, and provided an introduction to the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking program. Mercedes Witowsky, Executive Director of the NJ Council of Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD) and Paul Blaustein, NJCDD chair, brought remarks about the impact of the Partners program and the important role graduates play in advocacy. Gwen Orlowski, Executive Director of Disability Rights NJ congratulated the class through a speech that celebrated advocacy and collaboration. Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhD, Executive Director of The Boggs Center, delivered messages of inspiration, hope, and a charge to action as part of the event. 

NJ Partners in Policymaking Graduation 2021


Through panel presentations, this year's graduates shared what they learned in the program and 
theirplans for advocacy after graduation. The event culminated with Jaime Zahid celebrating each graduate through a slide show that highlighted their success and advocacy action priority area.

To learn more about this year's graduates, their experiences over the past 8 months, and the impact of the Partners program, view the Graduation Panel Presentation Recording featuring the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Class of 2020-2021.

Congratulations to the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Class of 2020-2021:

Maria Anderson
Tammi Kaminski
Erin Putman
John Berardi
Amy Kiger
Ana Maria Rivera
Charlotte Borgersen
Steffen Klenk
Iris Rivera
Robert Chester
Gabriella Mariello
Tara Szymanek
Maria Chirelli
Johanne Mayer
Jill Tobin
Pamela Giacchi
Jorge Murphy
Carla Vicari
Milagros Gonzales
Stephen Odukoya
Anjali Viswanath
Lisa Hernandez
Nicole Parks
Joanna Wuehr


Alexis Yeatts

 


Interprofessional Group of NJLEND Faculty and Nutrition Fellow Write Article for Exceptional Parent Magazine

 

Exceptional Parent Oral Health An article on oral health and nutrition concerns for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) written by an interprofessional group of NJLEND Faculty and Nutrition Fellow was published in the February 2021 issue of Exceptional Parent Magazine. Jane Ziegler, DCN, RDN, LDN, NJLEND Nutrition Faculty, Evan Spivak, DDS, NJLEND Dental Faculty, and Karen Stanfar, MPH, RDN, LD, NJLEND Nutrition Fellow, authored “Oral Health and Nutrition Concerns in Autism Spectrum Disorders” to provide information about autism-related behaviors, dietary habits, medical comorbidities, and medication use which may contribute to oral health and nutrition concerns. The article promotes an interdisciplinary approach, involving both dentist and nutritionist, in the development of care plans that account for the specific needs of individuals with ASD and address any co-occurring conditions, medications, and associated behaviors. Interventions demonstrating the importance of adopting a coordinated and multi-specialist approach to care are also described in the article. This collaborative publication exemplifies NJLEND’s commitment to interdisciplinary leadership development for faculty and fellows.

 

5th Annual NJLEND Maternal and Child Health Leadership Symposium

Join us on Friday, May 7, 2021 for the 5th Annual New Jersey Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (NJLEND) Maternal & Child Health Leadership Symposium, a Community Education Event with recognition of 2020-2021 NJLEND Fellows.

Dave EllisThis online symposium will feature a keynote presentation by Dave Ellis, Founding Executive Director, The Office of Resilience, New Jersey Department of Children and Families, on The Meaning of Resilience: Building Self-Healing Communities. Dave Ellis is a national leader in providing trainings and facilitating conversations on the lasting impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and generational trauma.

There is no charge for this program. Space is limited and advanced registration is required.

Learn more and register for the 5th Annual NJLEND Maternal and Child Health Leadership Symposium

 


Building Resilience in Families with Young Children

 

Exceptional Parent guide coverThe Act Early COVID-19 Response teams are working to bolster the 4 steps of early identification of developmental delays and disabilities and to improve resiliency among families with young children during COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts. As one strategy to achieve these goals, the New Jersey team leads, Caroline Coffield (The Boggs Center) and Deepa Srinivasavaradan (CDC's Act Early Ambassador to NJ), along with Stephanie Michael (The Boggs Center/NJLEND Trainee), authored an article, Building Resilience: Resources to Help Families Grow from Challenging Times, featured in the 2021 Guide of Exceptional Parent magazine. This article, disseminated to a national audience of parents of children with disabilities, describes each protective factor of the Strengthening Families approach and provides resources to support for building resilience through crisis and change from sources including “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” materials, Zero to Three strategies and materials, and resources from the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center.

 

 

Rob Kimmel Elected President of NJAPSE

 

Rob KimmelRob Kimmel, MAT, BCBA, CESP, Training & Consultation Specialist for the Employment and Transition projects, was elected President of the New Jersey Association of People Supporting Employment First (NJAPSE) chapter. APSE is the only national organization with a focus exclusively on inclusive employment and career advancement opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

 

 

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources for the Developmental Disabilities Community

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus that spreads easily and can make people very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine protects against COVID-19, and is an important tool to help stop the pandemic. People with developmental disabilities, their families, and supporters play an important role in preventing COVID-19 by getting a vaccine.

The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities has developed two new resources to provide information about COVID-19 vaccines and help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities understand what to expect. Available in English and Spanish.

COVID-19 Vaccine Facts for the Developmental Disabilities Community-CoverCOVID-19 Vaccine Facts for the Developmental Disabilities Community provides information about COVID-19 vaccines, including:
• When, where, and how to get the vaccine
• What to expect when getting the vaccine
• What to expect after getting the vaccine
• How to continue to stay safe before and after getting the COVID-19 vaccine


Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine: A Social Story for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities-Cover Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine: A Social Story for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
helps readers understand why it’s important to get a COVID-19 vaccine and what to expect before, during, and after vaccination. Direct Support Professionals, family members, and other supporters can use this social story to prepare people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for getting a COVID-19 vaccine by printing or sharing on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.


View COVID-19 Vaccine Resources for the Developmental Disabilities Community


Registration is Open for the Spring 2021 Developmental Disabilities Lecture Series

 

Developmental Disabilities Lecture Series Spring 2021The Boggs Center’s Developmental Disabilities Lecture Series is a community and continuing education program provided for professionals, policymakers, individuals with disabilities, and family members to enhance their knowledge and skills in innovative approaches and state of the art practices for people with developmental disabilities. The Spring 2021 Developmental Disabilities Lecture Series features national experts on autism and transition, disability advocacy, job development, and mental health needs.

 

  • Preparing Families to Support Youth on the Autism Spectrum as They Transition to Adulthood
    Presented by Julie Lounds Taylor l Friday, April 16, 2021 l 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM l Webinar
  • Nothing About Us Without Us: Centering Disabled People in Disability Advocacy
    Presented by Emily Ladau, BA l Friday, April 23, 2021 l 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    l Webinar
  • Beyond Traditional Job Development: The Art of Creating Opportunity
    Presented by Denise Bissonnette, MEd l Friday, May 14, 2021 l 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM l Webinar

  • Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
    Presented by Andrea Witwer, PhD l Friday, May 21, 2021 l 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM l Webinar

 

The webinars are free of charge. Space is limited and advanced registration is required.
Learn more and register for the Developmental Disabilities Lecture Series

 

The Boggs Center’s “Year at a Glance” Provides Snapshot of Work in FY2020

Boggs Center Year at a Glance FY 2020 coverAs New Jersey’s federally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program, The Boggs Center promotes inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of community life through community and student training, technical assistance, research, and informational materials. The Boggs Center’s “Year at a Glance” report provides a snapshot of the Center’s work in Fiscal Year 2020.

View The Boggs Center’s “Year at a Glance” report for FY2020

For a more detailed look at the Center’s efforts to fulfill its mission as New Jersey’s federally designated UCEDD and LEND program during FY2020, including new activities and programmatic adaptations in response to COVID-19, view The Boggs Center’s Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2020.

 

The Boggs Center Shares Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2020

Boggs Center FY20 Annual Report coverEach year as I write to share the contributions of The Boggs Center and our collaborations with all of you, I appreciate what we have been able to accomplish together and also am always aware of how much more there is to be done. Looking back on the past year has, for all of us, been a very different and difficult experience. Little in any of our collective experience has prepared us for the loss and disruption in every family and community, things that have been experienced even more devastatingly in the lives of people with disabilities, their families, and the supporters and systems that work on their behalf.

From July 2019 up to early March, we continued to provide the educational programs, technical assistance to communities and systems, research and information that have been the hallmark of our partnerships and mission. In March, with the onslaught of the pandemic, all our lives changed.

This report reflects the dedication and efforts of everyone at The Boggs Center in the ways that, as individuals and as an organization, we have worked to convert our programs and activities in virtual and remote formats that continue to support the disability community while keeping everyone safe. We are gratified to have so many people attend the DD Lecture Series virtually, utilize our new "Just in Time Webinar Series" and to have been able to teach our fellows, students, and community trainings remotely. Developing and curating resources on COVID-19 targeted to people with disabilities, their families, and caregivers has been one of our highest priorities. We are gratified that we have been able to involve medical students from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in these processes.

In listening sessions with our federal DD Act partners, Disability Rights New Jersey and the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, the expressions of concern in the community, as well as our Consumer Advisory Council, have guided our actions and direction. Please let us know what other things would support our community.

In the disability community, we have always been aware of how interdependent we all are. Our collective efforts to support public health and safety measures, as all our efforts at The Boggs Center, are devoted to enhancing the common good. For all those who have lost loved ones, are struggling with illness, separation from services and economic loss, our hearts are with you.

We strive for ways to support our community now in the amidst of the pandemic and looking ahead to the time when we can be in each other's presence and continue to create support and opportunities for people with disabilities, families, and those who work on their behalf.

With warm good wishes,

Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics and Family Medicine and Community Health
Executive Director, The Boggs Center and NJLEND

View The Boggs Center's Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2020

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