March 13, 2009

Pediatric audiology training gets boost

Pediatric audiology training gets boost

Vanderbilt University is one of six programs selected nationally to receive additional funds to expand training for the treatment of infants and children with hearing disabilities through its Leadership Education in Neurodevelop-mental Disabilities (LEND) program, according to program director Terri Urbano, Ph.D.

The national LEND program, known locally as the Mid-Tennessee Interdisciplinary Instruction in Neurodevelopment Disabilities (MIND), teaches interdisciplinary graduate and postdoctoral trainees spanning 12 health professions to provide services to children with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

New funding, $65,000 annually over a three-year period, is made possible through a contract to the Association of University Centers on Disabilities from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the Human Resources and Services Administration

“This funding is of major importance to Tennessee because our state, like so many others, lacks enough trained professionals in pediatric Audiology to provide early identification and intervention of infants and children with hearing disabilities,” said Anne Marie Tharpe, Ph.D., Pediatric Audiology Project director.

Vanderbilt will now collaborate with other MCHB Audiology training programs across the country to provide continuing professional education, videoconferences and Web-based programs.

At the state level, the increase will expand continuing education programs offered to Tennessee Department of Health personnel and provide trainees with practical experiences in interdisciplinary research projects across several universities.

The funding allows Vanderbilt's MIND program to add five long-term and five intermediate trainees in Audiology each year for three years, with expanded emphasis on children with hearing loss.

Funding also provides for cultural and ethnic diversity training to be increased for MIND faculty and for additional trainees from diverse backgrounds to be recruited.

Specialty interdisciplinary training on child hearing issues will also be provided through Vanderbilt's Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment.

The Vanderbilt MIND Training Program is coordinated through the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Developmental Medicine and Cognition.

The program is implemented in collaboration with Belmont University, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee. The Tennessee Disability Coalition (Family Voices) and the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities are active partners.