A group photo of NH-ME LEND trainees and staff at the AUCD Conference in Washington, DC. They are sitting in chairs in a ballroom looking backwards at the camera.

In November, several NH-ME LEND graduates and faculty gathered in Washington, DC, to attend the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Annual Conference, "Health Equity: Serving the Whole Person." Our LEND program was well-represented at the conference with trainee and faculty presentations that focused on advancing health equity. 

Grayson Leichtman and faculty member Shelley Mulligan presented their poster "Program Evaluation of NH-ME ECHO: Supporting Children of the Opioid Epidemic Project Year 2," which evaluated the changes in service providers' knowledge, skills, attitudes, and use of evidence-based practices pre- and post-training in working with children with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and their families. Betsy Humphreys participated in a concurrent panel presentation with five other states to highlight the work of the ECHO-SCOPE national training initiative.

Shilo Goodhue presented her poster, "Collaboration to Empower Every Learner." She described her work with Empower the Learner (ETL) and Maine partners to modify a tool designed to empower students to recognize their strengths and learning challenges and express these to their educational team. The resulting outcome was an accessible tool which children and youth with significant disabilities can use successfully. 

Suzanne Austin's poster "Investigating Exclusionary School Discipline" described her work with the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities. She created an impact sheet to educate stakeholders on exclusionary discipline, inform them why it is a problem for students of color who experience disabilities, and document the increased risk of negative outcomes. 

Faculty member Marnie Morneault presented "Co-Creating Equity: Culturally Responsive Angolan New Mainer Pod Model Childcare for an Inclusive Healthy Community." This partnership spurred the creation of the Happy Little Paradise Childcare Cooperative whose goal is to address the need for equitable, inclusive childcare options for the New Mainer Angolan Community in Lewiston, ME. 

The trip to DC wrapped up with trainees and faculty from the Institute on Disability and the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies visiting New Hampshire and Maine congressional delegations on Capitol Hill. The Hill visits focused on raising awareness of disability-related issues in both states.