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Center for Disabilities announces Eric Kurtz, Ph.D. as the new LEND director

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The Center for Disabilities has named Dr. Eric Kurtz as the new Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) director. He succeeds Dr. Joanne Van Osdel, who retired in July.

The South Dakota LEND program is housed within the Center for Disabilities at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. There are currently 43 LEND programs in 37 states. LEND provides long-term graduate level specialized training which 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. The South Dakota LEND Program is supported by a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

Kurtz has previously served as the Center’s Clinical Operations director, Autism Spectrum Disorders Program director, Discipline Head for Autism and Related Disorders with LEND, and is assistant professor of pediatrics. He has several years of clinical experience providing specialized psychological services in clinical, school, and forensic settings.

A photo of Kurtz is available for download at

“LEND graduates are aware of a broader, inter-connected health care dynamic, and understand the need for family-oriented, culturally sensitive and interdisciplinary services,” said Kurtz. “I look forward to this new opportunity to lead the LEND program and work to prepare the next generation of healthcare and related service professionals.”

For more information about the Center for Disabilities and LEND, go to


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


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.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News