NJLENDAN N UAL R E P O RT2020 - 2021

5 YEARS OF NJLEND FY17 - FY21NJLEND is New Jersey’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilitiesprogram, housed at The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities and part of a nationalnetwork of LEND programs. New Jersey’s LEND program was initially funded in 2016 toaddress what has been consistently reported as the highest prevalence of Autism SpectrumDisorders (ASD) in the nation. NJLEND prepares future and practicing health professionalsto work collaboratively to meet the needs of children and young adults with ASD and otherdevelopmental disabilities through pre-service training, continuing education, and consultationand technical assistance to improve systems of care. This snapshot provides an overview ofNJLEND in its first 5 years.PRE-SERVICE TRAINING OF FUTURE PROFESSIONALS64Since 2016, 67 Long-Term Trainees in 8 disciplines havecompleted more than 300 hours of NJLEND training OGYCONTINUING EDUCATIONSince 2016, NJLENDhas reached 2,909people through47 continuingeducationopportunitiesfor practicingmaternal and childhealth professionalsand families.21210MEDICINE1NURSINGMedium-Term Trainees in11 disciplines completedbetween 40 and 299 hoursof NJLEND training7127PUBLICHEALTHSOCIAL WORKShort-Term Trainees in 4disciplines completed up to40 hours of NJLEND trainingTECHNICAL ASSISTANCESince 2016, NJLEND faculty provided364 hours of technical assistance toimprove systems of care, including: NJ FamilyCare Autism Stakeholder ExecutivePlanning Committee NJ Medical Assistance Advisory Committee Community of Care Consortium Infant Child Health Committee Governor’s Council on the Prevention ofDevelopmental DisabilitiesNJLEND ANNUAL REPORT 2020 - 2021

LETTER FROMTHE DIRECTORFriends,As we send you this 2020-2021 Annual Report, we celebrateour fifth year as New Jersey’s Leadership Education inNeurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities program - NJLEND.The NJLEND fellows in this year’s leadership cohort you will meet in this report combineeducational background and lived experience. As individuals and as a group they are dedicatedto improving opportunities for people with autism, related disabilities, other vulnerabilities,and needs for support. Meeting only virtually due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID19 pandemic, this interdisciplinary group has come together, sharing their experience, andsupporting each other as they have learned together. Since NJLEND’s initial funding in 2016 toaddress New Jersey’s highest reported prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the nation,we have trained 67 fellows, each of whom has completed the rigorous 300 hours of the NJLENDprogram. Genetic Counseling and Public Health have been added as disciplines, broadening theinterdisciplinary nature of the program. The Alumni updates highlight the impact NJLEND hashad in expanding services.The families who open their homes to mentor each LEND fellow and the medical students ofRobert Wood Johnson Medical School are at the heart of NJLEND. Our deep appreciation for theirgrace and grit in embracing the challenges of virtual visits to continue to educate our students.Heartfelt thanks to all our faculty, guest lecturers, and community partners and collaborators.With gratitude and wishes for good health,Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhDProfessor of Pediatrics and Family Medicine and Community HealthDirector, NJLENDTHE BOGGS CENTER ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES3

NJLEND CLASS OF 2020-2021Angie Alberti, MEd, BSN, RNNJLEND Nursing FellowAngie Alberti is a nursing PhD candidate at Rutgers University. Froma young age, Angie has been exploring the interconnections of mind,body, and spirit in promoting wellbeing and longevity. She received herbachelor’s degree in sports management and her master’s degree inexercise psychology, both at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Shespent the early part of her professional career in healthcare consultingwhere she helped companies design and measure the effectiveness of employee wellness andchronic condition management programs. She entered the nursing profession as a second careerstudent then spent time at home building her family and is now researching mental health andquality of life issues of family caregivers of children with disabilities.Sharon Artz, PsyDNJLEND Family FellowSharon Artz is a mom, community advocate, and a consultant for transitionrelated issues in an educational law firm. Originally trained as a clinicalpsychologist, Sharon chose to be a stay-at-home mother for her threeamazing sons, two of whom have autism. Her journey as a disability parentand advocate eventually led her to The Boggs Center to further developher advocacy skills in Partners in Policymaking and NJLEND. In her freetime, Sharon loves to travel, read, and knit.Samantha Breitbart, BSN, RNNJLEND Nursing FellowSamantha is a DNP student in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program atRutgers University. Her research focus is on Pediatric Obesity treatment.She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Rutgers University in2016 and has experience working with children as a Registered Nurse inboth the Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care settings. Her past personaland professional experiences have led her to pursue a career in workingwith children who have developmental disabilities. Additionally, Samantha has a strong interestin pediatric obesity prevention and disability policy.4NJLEND ANNUAL REPORT 2020 - 2021

Susan ColacelloNJLEND Family FellowSusan Colacello is an accomplished education and inclusion specialistfocused on creating accessible, equitable and empowering opportunitiesfor students of all abilities to learn, lead, and grow to their full potential.She is passionate about the power and potential of youth of all abilities tobe the changemakers in building more inclusive schools and communities.Colacello is currently the Director of School and Community Partnershipsat Special Olympics New Jersey where she’s led the design and implementation of SpecialOlympics Unified Champion Schools initiative. In that role, she’s provided grants, training andresources to over 150 schools, K-12, to build socially inclusive schools through Unified Sportsand inclusive youth leadership activities. She is the Co-Author of “Learn. Practice. Play. UNIFIEDGuide to Inclusive Physical Education and Sports Activities” and has produced classroomresources on topics ranging from the environment and science, the arts, global studies anddisability awareness. Colacello is writer, speaker, and convener dedicated to cultivating strategicpartnerships to promote awareness and recognize of the rights and gifts of people withdisabilities. As the parent of a young man with Down Syndrome, she is a steadfast advocate forpeople with disabilities and their families. She currently sits on the New Jersey Department ofEducation Special Education Advisory Committee.Odeilis Dominguez, MDNJLEND Medicine FellowOdeilis Dominguez is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Sheis currently a fellow for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics atChildren’s Specialized Hospital and RWJMS. She attended medical school inthe Dominican Republic and graduated from Instituto Tecnologico de SantoDomingo. Dr. Dominguez graduated from pediatric residency at LincolnMedical and Medical Health Center in New York in June 2020.Ana Carolina Ford, BSN, RNNJLEND Nursing FellowAna Carolina Ford is a student in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) program at Rutgers School of Nursing.She was born in Brazil and moved to the U.S. with her family at the ageof ten. To help a friend with English, she enrolled along with her in anursing assistant program. Through this experience, she discovered herpassion for helping people through nursing. Following this experience,she enrolled in and completed her Associate of Science in Nursing in 2010 from Advent HealthUniversity, formerly Florida Hospital College, being the first in her family to graduate college.After obtained her registered nurse license, she worked as an Emergency and Trauma nurse ina level 1 trauma center in Connecticut while going back to school to complete her Bachelor ofScience in Nursing. Over the past ten years, she has expanded her nursing experience by servingas a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and then atPenn Medicine as both a Labor and Delivery and a NICU nurse. She is a two-time DAISY awardhonoree and volunteers helping children and families of immigrant communities in the U.S. andBrazil. Ana’s career goals are to inspire all children to live their best healthy and intentionallives and advocate for their needs.THE BOGGS CENTER ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES5

Alexandra Gil, MANJLEND Psychology FellowAlexandra is a doctoral candidate at Kean University in the School andClinical Psychology program in addition to completing the coursework foran applied behavior analysis certificate. Throughout her education, shehas worked with children 0-18 and their families in various capacities.She has completed practicum hours in the child study team in UnionSchool District, Mount Sinai Hospital Neuropsychology Center while alsoassisting with research in the Seaver Center, and Children’s Specialized Hospital. Currently, sheis completing her pre-doctoral internship at Fishbird Neuropsychology where she conductsneuropsychological evaluations of children with autism and other developmental disabilities,learning disabilities, and numerous other disorders. Alexandra has been working with individualswith ASD/DD for over seven years now and is dedicated to serving that population. Being aNewark, NJ resident, she is interested in ensuring that the underserved population is exposed toopportunities that would enhance their daily lives. She is currently an adjunct faculty memberat Kean University and Caldwell University. In addition, Alexandra also serves as the socialadvocacy chair and 2020 Diversity Delegate for the NJ Psychological Association amongstvarious other positions. Aside from her professional life, she plays soccer, rides a motorcycle,sings, loves board games and is a Grey’s Anatomy and Friends fanatic. Alexandra is delighted tobe a part of the NJLEND program and is excited to see this what this year brings!Norna Jules, BSNJLEND Psychology FellowNorna is a Psychology Fellow in her second year of studies in theClinical Psychology Doctoral Program at the Graduate School of AppliedProfessional Psychology. She is a first-generation Haitian-American fromElizabeth, NJ. She achieved a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and aMinor in Philosophy from Delaware State University, a Historically BlackUniversity in Delaware. Norna began her career in Autism by providingbehavioral therapy as a Registered Behavior Technician and found that there is a great needfor accessible and affordable services for low-socioeconomic communities, black families, andfamilies of color. Thus, she developed an interest in learning how to create and implementtreatment programs for marginalized communities. Norna’s interests include the assessment andtreatment of various neurodevelopmental disorders.Brie LatiniNJLEND Family FellowBrie Latini lives in Marlton, NJ with her husband Pete, an ER Nurse, andtheir 10-year old son, PJ, a fifth grade student. PJ, who was diagnosedwith Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of two, is the catalyst forher journey into advocacy. A Parent Partner with Camden County FamilySupport Organization since 2016, Brie provides peer support for familiesof children with mental health struggles, behavioral concerns, anddevelopmental disabilities. She hopes to carry her passion for positive behavior supportsand inclusive education into meaningful change in policy and procedures for children withdisabilities. In 2016, Brie was a featured storyteller in the live stage show “Listen To YourMother,” and shares her writings on her blog A Breezy Life at ANNUAL REPORT 2020 - 2021

Isabella Massaro, BANJLEND Psychology FellowIsabella is a PsyD student at Rutgers Graduate School of Applied andProfessional Psychology. She graduated from Rutgers School of Arts andSciences in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She currentlyworks in a specialized school that caters to individuals on the Autismspectrum with intellectual disabilities. Isabella’s research interests are inthe area of skill acquisition and program development for individuals withASD. She hopes to become a consultant for public schools in order to developbetter programs for their students with more challenging disabilities.Kelly McGrath, BA, CSW, LSWNJLEND Social Work FellowKelly McGrath earned her BASW with a minor in Sociology from RutgersUniversity in May 2020, and is currently pursuing her MSW at Rutgerswith a May 2021 expected graduation date. After a decade in Hoteland Restaurant Management, Kelly moved to Social Work to better helpothers. Since childhood she has been committed to serving those withintellectual disabilities. She would often join her dad while he providedrecreational therapy through group outings to this population. Since shifting her career, Kellyhas gained experience in applied behavior analysis therapy, recreation therapy, respite care,yoga/movement therapies, and education in one-on-one and group settings for those withintellectual disabilities. She has career aspirations to provide mental health therapy to thosewith intellectual and developmental disabilities.Stephanie Michael, BA, IMH-ENJLEND Social Work FellowStephanie Michael is a Rutgers School of Social Work student pursuingher Master of Social Work. Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree inJournalism from Baruch College, The City University of New York. She isthe NJ Positive Behavior Support in Schools Data and Program Coordinatorat The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities. Prior to joining TheBoggs Center, she provided training and technical assistance at PreventChild Abuse – New Jersey, supporting the agency’s child abuse prevention education programs,increasing community involvement in child abuse prevention, and providing primary preventionfor professionals, paraprofessionals, and parents. She hopes to use her role as a professionalsocial worker to support children and families, particularly in the areas of reducing disparities inpublic education and promoting mental health.THE BOGGS CENTER ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES7

Alexis Morgan, BSNJLEND Genetic Counseling FellowAlexis is a genetic counseling student in the Rutgers Genetic CounselingMasters’ Program. She earned her BS in Biology from Wilkes University inPA with a minor in Neuroscience. Upon her completion of undergraduatestudies, she worked as a genetic counseling assistant in cancer geneticsand research in population health screening for genetic conditions. Herexperience observing in a neurodevelopmental clinic piqued her interestin pursuing pediatric and neurogenetics. She hopes to help educate fellow health care providersabout genetic resources as well as learn more about other disciplines to serve as a betteradvocate for her patients and their families.Angela Otto-Ryan, BSN, RN, CBCNJLEND Nursing FellowAngela is a student at Rutgers School of Nursing enrolled in the PrimaryCare Pediatric Nurse Practitioner DNP program. After completing herfirst bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Texas Woman’s Universityshe decided to live abroad for a year in the Dominican Republic. Duringher time there, Angela volunteered at local hospitals and clinics whereshe witnessed the health disparities experienced among marginalizedpopulations. These experiences inspired her to return to school to attain a nursing educationto aid in combating the inequities experienced among at-risk groups. Angela received herSecond-Degree BS in Nursing at Rutgers University in 2016 and has since worked solely withthe pediatric population. Angela has a strong interest in serving and advocating for medicallyunderserved maternal and child populations. In addition to being a wife, mother to a two-yearold girl, and pursuing her Doctor in Nursing Practice, Angela spends her free time playing withher two rescue dogs, doing Zumba, and baking healthy treats.Tara PalamarikNJLEND Family FellowTara is a Family Fellow and graduate of NJ Partners in Policymaking,where her advocacy project was a parent guide to transition. Tara’s sonPatrick graduated from the education system this summer, and is planningto attend a day program with supported employment. Tara has beeninvolved in supporting the autism community for many years throughorganizations such as Eden Autism Services and Autism New Jersey,volunteering at their office and Annual Conference. She has contributed to the Associationfor Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) newsletter, and has facilitated support groups at theJFK Pediatric Rehab. She was recently elected to the Eden Board of Trustees. Tara is a formeraerospace engineer at Lockheed Martin, performing Mission Design for communications andscience spacecraft. She has a BS in Engineering Mechanics from Columbia University andattended graduate school at Princeton University.8NJLEND ANNUAL REPORT 2020 - 2021

John Palatucci, MPANJLEND Public Health FellowJohn is a third-year PhD student at Rutgers School of Public Health, wherehe is focusing on mental health services research. He holds a bachelor’sdegree in mathematics and economics from American University (DC), andan MPA in healthcare administration from Rutgers School of Public Affairsand Administration. After completing his undergraduate degree, he wasan AmeriCorps volunteer in Washington, DC where he tutored elementarystudents from the Congress Heights neighborhood. His research focuses onmaternal and child mental health services affecting underserved populations.Lena Qasem, BSN, RNNJLEND Nursing FellowLena is a registered nurse and a DNP student at Rutgers School of Nursing.She received a BSN from William Paterson University in 2016. She workedas an RN at a pediatric primary care office for one year. She currentlyworks at Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, NJ. She decided tocontinue her career to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. She currentlylives with her family and loves to volunteer during her free time.Michelle Shulman-Repole, MSN, MPH, APN, CPNP-PCNJLEND Nursing FellowMichelle Shulman-Repole is Children’s Specialized Hospital’s (CSH)Developmental Behavioral Nursing Fellow for 2020, and a recent graduateof Seton Hall’s CPNP-PC program. She graduated from DownstateSchool of Nursing with a BSN in 1988 and has a diverse pediatricnursing background. Michelle has worked as a PICU nurse at New YorkPresbyterian/Weil Cornell Medical Center, a general pediatric nurse andmanager at Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC, and served as an adjunct faculty member at theNYU School of Nursing. After moving to NJ, Michelle worked as a pediatric nurse in a varietyof settings, including Monmouth Medical Center’s pediatric unit, Pine Grove Day Camp, LaceySchool District, Delta T Group, and a busy pediatric office. She instructed students at OceanCounty College and worked for the Monmouth County Health Department under a federal grantto research lead toxicity in children under the age of 5 due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy inlow socioeconomic Mexican communities. During her education at Seton Hall, Michelle rotatedthrough CSH in Toms River. Having two young adults who have received exceptional care at CSHalong with her unparalleled student experience launched her desire to apply as a DNP fellowat CSH.THE BOGGS CENTER ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES9

Karen Stanfar, MPH, RDN, LDNJLEND Nutrition FellowKaren is a registered and licensed dietitian nutritionist practicing privatelyin Cleveland, Ohio where she focuses upon the primary, secondary, andtertiary prevention of nutrition related chronic disease in c