A Quality Improvement Network for Interdisciplinary Training in Developmental Disabilities

Pediatrics. 2022 Dec 1;150(6):e2022058236. doi: 10.1542/peds.2022-058236.


Children with developmental disabilities (DD), such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), have complex health and developmental needs that require multiple service systems and interactions with various professionals across disciplines. The growing number of children and youth identified with ASD or DD, including anxiety and depression, has increased demand for services and need for highly qualified pediatric providers. Federally funded Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) programs across the United States address today's health care shortages by providing comprehensive, interdisciplinary training to providers from multiple pediatric disciplines who screen, diagnose, and treat those with ASD and DD. Each LEND program develops training methods independently, including quality improvement efforts. In 2014, LEND programs began designing and validating common measures to evaluate LEND training. The LEND Program Quality Improvement (LPQI) Network was established in 2016. Participating LEND programs in the LPQI Network administer validated trainee self-report and faculty-observation measures that address skills in key competency domains of Interdisciplinary or Interprofessional Team Building, Family-Professional Partnerships, and Policy. This study reports data from faculty and trainees from 22 LEND programs that participated in the LPQI Network across the 5-year data collection period. The main outcome of this study was the change in trainee knowledge, skills, and attitudes scores in key competency domains across programs. Overall, trainees made significant knowledge, skills, and attitude gains based on both self-report and faculty observation scores for all 3 competency domains. Data demonstrate the value of LEND programs and feasibility of a national quality improvement approach to evaluate interdisciplinary training and systems-level improvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / diagnosis
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / therapy
  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Developmental Disabilities / therapy
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Leadership
  • Quality Improvement
  • United States