Academic Programs

The Shriver Center offers a number of educational programs that prepare future leaders and clinicians to carry out the important mission of improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Based on decades of research and community-based experience, our expert faculty has designed the following certificate programs, which can serve as the foundation for graduate degrees:

Behavioral Intervention in Autism

Through an innovative collaboration with the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Department of Psychology, the Shriver Center has developed an award-winning online graduate-level Behavioral Intervention in Autism Certificate program. Students may pursue either of the following two program options:

  • The Behavioral Intervention in Autism Graduate Certificate, for those interested in learning more about behavioral intervention in autism
  • The Behavioral Intervention in Autism Graduate Certificate with Preparation for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Exam, for those interested in becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst

After completion of the certificate program, there is an option to obtain a graduate degree through UMass Lowell by taking additional courses.

For more information, contact Shriver Center Interim Director Charles Hamad at 774.455.6562 or

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND)

The Shriver Center’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program provides graduate-level interdisciplinary training as well as services and care to improve the health of infants, children, and adolescents with disabilities. Our LEND program has two tracks:

  • The Advanced Leadership Fellowship program, for clinicians and individuals who are committed to enhancing the lives of people with IDD and their families The program’s curriculum helps Fellows develop the skills needed toprepares Fellows to take leadership roles in designing provide quality systems of care, services, and supports to this populationfor people with IDD and their families. LEND Fellows have the opportunity to earn credits toward a master’s degree in public administration (MPA) in disability & health policy from Suffolk University.
  • The Leadership in Clinical Care program, for individuals pursuing a masters or’s or doctoral degrees or post-doctoral certification degree in such disciplines as developmental-behavioral pediatrics, psychology, social work, and education The program provides trainees in-depth training on evidence-based screening, diagnostic, and intervention approaches with children with a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders and to delivering culturally competent, family-centered careexposes students to issues related to developmental disabilities and special health care needs. Training is carried out at our affiliated clinics within UMass Medical School as well as with our partners at the Tufts Medical Center and Boston Medical Center.

After completion of the certificate program, there is an option to obtain a graduate degree through Suffolk University by taking additional courses.

For more information, contact us.

Pathways to Inclusive Health Care (PIHC) 

Health disparities prevent the full integration of individuals with disabilities into society.  The unprecedented rate of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual/ developmental disabilities (IDD) aging into adult services accentuates these health disparities due, in part, to a healthcare workforce that lacks adequate training and experience caring for those with ASD/IDD.  Modeled after Teach for America, Pathways to Inclusive Health Care (PIHC) will create a pipeline of healthcare professionals motivated and equipped to provide quality healthcare to this population. 

Pathways to Inclusive Health Care is housed within the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMass Medical School.  The Shriver Center has been a pioneer in IDD research for over 4 decades, and our goal is to make PIHC one of the most innovative, disruptive and scalable programs in the nation to train future healthcare professionals to work with disabled populations.  Targeting pre-medical, dental, nurse practitioner and other pre-health professions students, PIHC seeks to recruit recent college graduates (called Scholars) to a year-long program to work as paraprofessionals with individuals with ASD/IDD in practicum sites, such as day habilitation programs, Chapter 766 schools, and integrated classrooms.  The scholars will pursue a certificate program in a related field through weekly seminars and field trips.  Additionally, each scholar will be paired with a mentor to guide the Scholar through the graduate school admissions process. 

The next cohort of PIHC Scholars will commence in September, 2020. You must have a bachelor’s degree by June 2020.  If you are interested in becoming a healthcare professional who will make a difference in closing the health equity gap for those with ASD/IDD and other disabilities,  Pathways to Inclusive Health Care might be the right gap year program for you.          

For more information on  Pathways to Inclusive Health Care , please contact:

Pathways to Inclusive Health Care Scholarship Program
Attn: Susan Swanson, MA, CCC-SLP
PIHC Program Coordinator
Shriver Center/University of Massachusetts Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655
TEL:  (774)-455-6552
FAX: (774)-445-6565

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