Advanced Leadership Fellowship Program

This Fellowship program is designed for clinicians, self-advocates, individuals with disabilities, family members, and other professionals working in disability-related fields who wish to develop or further sharpen their leadership skills.

Fellows are taught to rethink the ways in which healthcare, education, and social services are delivered, and the goals and quality of these services. They are taught how to analyze policy, the way in which policy affects and influences services and practice, and how to devise new policies to address service and systems gaps and inequities. The program equips Fellows with the knowledge and skills to bring about change within institutions, organizations, and communities.

Program Components

  • LEND Core Curriculum
  • Masters in Public Administration (MPA) in Disability & Health Policy option through Suffolk University
  • Stipends

Applicant Qualifications

  • A graduate degree in a clinical or disability-related discipline or
  • Individuals without a graduate degree may participate in the program if they enroll in the MPA degree program offered in conjunction with Suffolk University. One (1) Fellowship slot per year can be given to a non-traditional student who may not have earned an undergraduate degree but who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in the field and would benefit from LEND training
  • Clinical and/or relevant experience with individuals with disabilities and their families
  • Evidence of leadership experience and leadership potential
  • Commitment to improving the status of people with disabilities and their families
  • Strong academic record
  • Ability to commit the time necessary to complete the program successfully


We are now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 academic year through the online LEND application system.

Applications are reviewed and processed through SurveyMonkey Apply. (To review SurveyMonkey Apply policies, see:

Applications for the next year will open in mid-January; the deadline to submit applications for the 2024-25 academic year is May 17, 2024.

Advanced Leadership Fellowship Courses

Fellows attend the program 1-2 days per week over 9 months, from September to June. The “Core Curriculum” occurs on Fridays and is required of all Fellows participating in the program; it is composed of eight (8) courses/seminars.

Fellows who are earning a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA) in Disability and Health Policy from Suffolk University take additional courses on Saturdays.

Fellows accepted into the program who are U.S. citizens or have permanent resident status (green card) are eligible for a stipend,  Stipends are used in one of two ways:

  1. Fellows receive a stipend of $12,000 for participation in the LEND Program Core Curriculum on Fridays.


  1. For Fellows participating in the Suffolk University Masters in Public Administration (MPA) program, the stipend will be applied towards tuition. Suffolk also provides a scholarship toward tuition costs, as well as four tuition-waivered courses.

LEND Core Curriculum (Fridays at UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester, MA)

Required 30-hour courses and seminars:

The United States Health System
Fellows are introduced to the major health issues/institutions in the United States with focus on home health services, Medicaid/Medicare, managed care, medical home, integrated service delivery systems, and other health care changes. Students connect health care system issues with issues related to public policy, and the concerns of people with disabilities who are unserved and underserved.

Legal Environment of Healthcare, Disability and Public Policy

This course provides an evaluation of the legal processes, public policy and social issues that affect persons with developmental disabilities and their families. Fellows examine aspects of public policy/practice in the lives of families and children with developmental disabilities, including the evolution and current definitions of disability, developmental disability and intellectual disability; legislation that has provided for civil rights in public access, employment, education and health; the issues that people with disabilities feel are most important at the current time; and the factors that came together to achieve success in the past.

Disability and Public Policy-Expanding Access
This course is a continuation of the Public Service Law course; it provides an opportunity to evaluate/understand many aspects of public policy and social issues that affect the lives of persons with developmental disabilities and their families, including local, regional, state, and national forces and trends, the principles of self-determination and maximum participation of persons with disabilities in planning, and implementation.

Family and Community Perspectives 
This seminar provides Fellows with an opportunity to participate in, observe, and learn about the day-to-day concerns of children or adults with disabilities and their families. Through guest lectures, video discussions, readings, and a field experience visiting a host family, Fellows learn how programs and policies affect individuals/families, identify the gaps that exist in programs and service systems, and understand what individuals and families require to be successful.

Leadership in an Interconnected World

This course is designed as an interactive, participatory seminar designed to engage Fellows in study, discussion, and reflection about leadership, with a focus on their own leadership development. The course employs a variety of learning methods, including readings, brief lectures, discussions, guest speakers, and reflective and experiential/interactive exercises.

Strategic Grant Writing and Management

In this course, fellows will have the opportunity to explore an issue of their choosing that addresses an important need in the maternal-child health or disability fields with the goal of developing a project idea that addresses that need and writing a grant proposal to fund the project.   The course includes a series of activities, assignments, and individual coaching to build fellows’ skills in the planning and writing of a grant.

Self-Directed Literature Review Mini-Course

A literature review gathers relevant information and existing research on a topic, as well as identifies gaps in knowledge that may identify areas for future projects. Literature reviews are a critical component of many research projects, systems change initiatives, and grant proposals.  This course will introduce fellows to tools to identify scholarly research on  a topic of their choosing. Fellows will review the current published literature on their chosen topic, apply critical thinking skills to integrate, and synthesize write about what is known about the topic,

Additional Courses for MPA Candidates (Saturdays at  Suffolk University, Boston, MA)

Foundations of Public Organizational Administration 
This course provides an overview of the field of public administration; the structure, functions, and processes of government organizations at various levels—federal, state, regional, and local—are examined. Fellows explore the historical trends and political rationale for the present operations of the public sector. A review of research methods, techniques, and tools will be carried out, including identification of information sources and communication formats.

Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation 
Fellows explore how public programs and policies can be made more responsive, efficient, and effective through the use of social science research techniques and measurement of programmatic outcomes. The course consists of lectures on identified topics, texts and supplemental readings on program evaluation (analysis of existing programs), and policy analysis (analysis of prospective programs) techniques and issues.

Quantitative Analysis 
Fellows build upon the basic statistics and research designs established in Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation. The focus is on using social science research to determine how public programs and policies can be made more responsive, efficient and effective. The primary goal of the course is for students to understand the value of data and statistical analyses as well as the potential weakness, confounding factors, and difficulties in determining causality.

Non-Profit Management in the Community
Fellows learn to recognize organizational constituencies, analyze their often conflicting importance/opinions and learn to make the appropriate action decisions which result in maintenance of good community relations and mission achievement for non-profit and other public service organizations.