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Center for Disabilities staff trainees to be represented at national Disability Policy Seminar

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Sheri Gunderson from the Center for Disabilities at the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota and two trainees from the Center for Disabilities’ South Dakota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program will attend the Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C., April 23-25.

Gunderson, director of development and evaluation at the Center for Disabilities, and Stephanie Havelaar, Speech Language Pathology leadership trainee, from South Sioux City, Neb., and Paige Fossum, Social Work trainee, from Lennox, S.D., will have the opportunity to hear from leading public policy experts, disability advocates and Congressional staff members as they discuss current key policies important to the disability community. The seminar will culminate on Wednesday, April 25 with in-person visits to Congressional delegates on Capitol Hill.

A one-year program, South Dakota LEND offers specialized graduate-level training that focuses on the interdisciplinary training of professionals for leadership roles in the provision of health and related services to infants, children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and their families. A part of the leadership training is building the capacity of its pre-service trainees to guide public policy and health care practice at the state and federal level in areas that affect people with disabilities and their families. The South Dakota LEND Program is supported by a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information about the Center for Disabilities, please visit or find them on Facebook at


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News