Va-LEND Welcomes New Co-Training Directors

Jacqueline Robinson Brock and Meera R. Mehtaji have joined Va-LEND as the new Training Co-Directors for the program.  They will be bringing their complementary skills into the Training Director position which they will share. Va-LEND is in the process of implementing its revised curriculum that incorporates increased universal design and student engaged learning with a more diverse group of trainees. Jacqueline (Jackie) holds BSW and MSW degrees, and a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in

Meera J. Mehtaji, Jackie Robinson Brock

Meera R. Mehtaji, Jackie Robinson Brock

Non-Profit Management. She has worked for Virginia’s UCEDD (The Partnership for People with Disabilities) since 2012. There she serves as a Program Specialist in Early Childhood and Health which has provided the opportunity for her to direct or coordinate a number of grant funded projects.  Meera, a former Va-LEND trainee, is a Ph.D. candidate in Special Education and Disability Policy and is an instructor in the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University in addition to her Va-LEND responsibilities.  The impressive talents and experience of Meera and Jackie make them a powerful duo to implement the training component of the Va-LEND program.

Va-LEND Welcomes Second Generation Director

This past March, Jennifer Accardo, MD, officially stepped into her role as the new Virginia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (Va-LEND) Director, a job previously held by her father, Pasquale Accardo, MD. Dr. Accardo is a pediatrician board certified in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. She graduated from medical school at St. Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri and did her general pediatrics training at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. She developed an interest in sleep problems in children with disabilities, which she pursued via a sleep

Dr. Accardo

Jennifer Accardo, MD

medicine fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania. She also earned a Masters in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics. Dr. Accardo worked on the faculty of Kennedy Krieger Institute and then moved to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Fall 2016 to prepare a variety of trainees interested in learning more about developmental medicine. Although Dr. Accardo’s time at Va-LEND is just beginning, “She is actively participating as Va-LEND continues to grow and we are looking forward to great things achieved through her leadership”, said Beth Bader, PhD, Associate Director of Va-LEND.  “I look forward to collaborating with trainees, faculty, and AUCD colleagues”, said Dr. Accardo.

AUCD GALA Presentation of LEND Leadership Project a great success!

The Association of University Centers on Disability, (AUCD) our national organization, celebrated the anniversary of the Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act, now known as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by having an evening “Gala” in Washington on Wednesday evening, March  2nd

Zipporah Levi-Shackleford, a Va-LEND Trainee and Trainee Representative to the AUCD, Board of Directors  presented her Leadership Project and was asked to address participants and give closing thoughts to an audience of notable guests, AUCD representatives, family and friends.  Va-LEND recognizes her energy, leadership and many contributions to its program.