The Mailman Center for Child Development at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has received a federal grant totaling more than $3 million from the Administration for Community Living (ACL), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). . .
The Mailman Center is a nationally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) that serves people with developmental disabilities and children with special health needs through research, clinical service, professional training, parenting workshops, and advocacy. The new grant, which began July 1, 2022 and runs through June 30, 2027, represents ongoing federal funding for programs that began in 1967.
The Mailman Center will use the new grant for a variety of initiatives. Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D., director of the Mailman Center and principal investigator for this grant, explained the scope of the programs.
“This five-year award will support innovative initiatives related to the use of technology to address the needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities; developing a curriculum with a focus on social justice and equal opportunities related to disabilities; improved access to behavioral and mental health services for people with disabilities; and creating a curriculum to involve children, adolescents and adults with disabilities and their family members in all aspects of the research process,” he said.
More specifically, said Dr. Armstrong that the Mailman Center:
- Expanding and evaluating the use of technology – telemedicine, web-based interventions, artificial intelligence – in addressing the needs of people with disabilities,
- Developing an integrated curriculum in support of social justice and equity within the Mailman Center and with its community partners, such as those in Overtown, East Little Havana and the Northeast Corridor,
- Design and implement a research training program that encourages the involvement of people with disabilities and their families in all aspects of the research process, not just as participants, and
- Developing and evaluating innovative approaches to assessing and treating behavioral and mental health problems faced by people with disabilities.
The recent five-year UCEDD grant enabled the Mailman Center to provide disability education to 442 graduate trainees, 70% of whom were from underrepresented minorities; Provide training for 2,800 community professionals; providing clinical services to over 75,000 children and families; work with community partners to expand capacity at the community level for people with disabilities; create innovative programs to improve health access needs for children and adults with disabilities during COVID-19; and had $149 million in leveraged funding from research grants, training grants, contracts and philanthropy.
“The Mailman Center’s faculty, staff, trainees and community partners make possible our success with this grant and the impact it is having,” said Dr. Armstrong. “Each of them is deeply committed to ensuring that the Mailman Center’s vision of ‘improving lives through innovation, impact and connection’ is realized in everything we do.”
dr Armstrong has been the director of the Mailman Center since 1999. With a background in pediatric psychology, he enjoys an international reputation for his research on neurodevelopment in children with chronic diseases, particularly sickle cell disease, childhood cancer and HIV. He is also Professor and Executive Vice Chair of the Division of Pediatrics and Interim Director of the Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine.
The ACL is a federal agency that supports older adults, people with disabilities, their families and caregivers. It funds services and support organizations provided primarily by states and networks of community-based programs and invests in training, education, research and innovation. It also manages programs that provide health and wellness assistance, protect rights and prevent abuse, support consumers, and strengthen networks of community-based organizations.