Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 431–442 | Cite as

Incorporating Life Course Theory and Social Determinants of Health into the LEND Curriculum

  • Karen Edwards
  • Patricia O. Towle
  • Barbara Levitz


The goal of this paper is to describe strategies for revising LEND curricula to incorporate a stronger focus on life course theory and social determinants of health (LCT/SDOH). The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) includes a central focus on LCT/SDOH and states that a goal of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) training is to “Prepare and empower MCH leaders to promote health equity…and reduce disparities in health and health care.” Two LEND programs engaged in a comprehensive process to strengthen LCT/SDOH in their curricula that included choosing content and themes and developing instructional strategies congruent with MCH Leadership Competencies and with the learning needs of LEND trainees. We describe: key elements of LCT/SDOH; the relationship of these to children with disabilities and to the MCH Leadership Competencies; LCT/SDOH resources for the LEND curriculum; a collaborative curriculum revision process for faculty; and LCT/SDOH content and themes for the LEND Curriculum and strategies for incorporating them. We present the results of our work in a format that may be used by other LEND programs undertaking curriculum revision to incorporate LCT/SDOH.


Life course theory Social determinants of health LEND program curriculum Developmental disabilities MCH leadership competencies 



We acknowledge the contribution Lisa Katz, MSW, core LEND faculty in social work and other members of the core LEND faculty at our programs who contributed their expertise and creativity in carrying out our curriculum revision. This effort was supported in part through Grants (Numbers HRSA-11-036 and HRSA-06-048) from the Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Edwards
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Patricia O. Towle
    • 3
  • Barbara Levitz
    • 3
  1. 1.Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program, University Center for Excellence in Developmental DisabilitiesUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Division of Developmental and Behavioral PediatricsCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program (in affiliation with New York Medical College)Westchester Institute for Human DevelopmentValhallaUSA

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