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Fall 2017


Deborah Spitalnik, PhD Presents at Panel on JFK and Another Civil Rights Movement: People with Intellectual Disabilities

JFK100 booklet coverDeborah SpitalnikDeborah M. Spitalnik, PhD Professor of Pediatrics and Executive Director of The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities and NJLEND, presented as part of a panel on JFK and Another Civil Rights Movement: People with Intellectual Disabilities. The panel was convened on October 23, 2017 at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University as part of the series of events sponsored by The Kennedy Library in the centennial anniversary year of President John F. Kennedy’s birth to highlight his contributions in different areas of American life. Dr. Spitalnik’s presentation focused on how President Kennedy’s fact-finding panel changed the role of the federal government and people with intellectual disabilities.

View the video of the JFK and Another Civil Rights Movement: People with Intellectual Disabilities panel. Dr. Spitalnik’s remarks start at 16:49.

Somerlee Monaghan Honored with LDANJ Educator of the Year Award


Somerlee Monaghan


Somerlee Monaghan was honored with the Learning Disabilities Association of New Jersey Educator of the Year Award in Edison, New Jersey on October 21, 2017. Ms. Monaghan was recognized for inspiring educators about Person Centered Approaches and for her work supporting students with disabilities through the use of this practice. Highlighted were Ms. Monaghan’s efforts in providing transition support to all students, parents, and educators through her outreach and contributions at The Boggs Center, Eastern Regional Camden County High School, as well as through the Transition Coordinators’ Network of South Jersey.

Somerlee Monaghan, MS, is a Training and Consultation Specialist at The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities. Ms. Monaghan provides project training and assistance on the Person Centered Approaches in Schools and Transition (PCAST) project, working closely with schools, students, and families. Ms. Monaghan is certified in Person Centered Thinking and Person Centered Facilitation in Schools by the Learning Community for Person Centered Practices.

Prior to joining The Boggs Center, Ms. Monaghan worked as a speech and language pathologist for over ten years at Eastern Camden County Regional School District in Voorhees, New Jersey. She is a founding member and current co-chair of the Transition Coordinators’ Network of South Jersey, which serves as a community of practice to unite people with disabilities and those who support and care about them. Ms. Monaghan received a Bachelor of Science degree from Stockton University and a Master of Science degree from LaSalle University in the area of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences.


Boggs Center Faculty Receive Gubernatorial Appointments to State Councils


Carrie CoffieldCaroline N. Coffield, PhD, Director of Pre-service Training and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, has been appointed to the Governor's Council on the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities. The Governor’s Council on Prevention, guides the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Office for Prevention, and tracks and monitors changes in the incidence of developmental disabilities.


Margaret GilbrideMargaret Gilbride, JD, CT, Director of Transition, Employment, and Aging & Disability and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, was appointed by Governor Christie to the New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service. The Commission is hosted by the New Jersey Department of State, Office of Community Services. Its role is to guide and oversee New Jersey’s National Service programs.


Deborah SpitalnikDeborah M. Spitalnik, PhD, Executive Director and Professor of Pediatrics, has been re-appointed to the New Jersey Advisory Council on Traumatic Brain Injury, which advises the Department of Human Services of issues relevant to brain injury services. Dr. Spitalnik has also been re-appointed to the Medical Assistance Advisory Council (MAAC), which she Chairs. The MAAC advises the New Jersey Department of Human Services on the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and serves as a forum for stakeholder input.



Introducing the 2nd Cohort of the New Jersey Leadership Education
in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program


The Boggs Center’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities program second year began with an orientation on August 24th and 25th, 2017. The NJLEND program prepares graduate-level health and allied health fellows to provide high-quality, interdisciplinary, family-centered, culturally competent care addressing the complex needs of children with autism and related disabilities as well as other maternal and child health populations. Fellows participate in the weekly Didactic Seminar Series, as well as a range of experiential learning, leadership development, and clinical training opportunities. Children’s Specialized Hospital, with its extensive expertise and patient population with ASD and broad network of clinical services statewide, is the primary partner for clinical training aspects of the program. Rutgers’ Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center is also a clinical partner. The Division of Family Health Services, NJ’s Title V program and SPAN, the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network are our community partners.

NJLEND 2017-2018 CohortNJLEND represents a unique set of university, state, local, and family partnerships. The 2017-2018 NJLEND cohort includes 9 fellows, representing 5 academic disciplines from Rutgers and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, as well as family fellows who have children with disabilities. NJLEND provides fellows the opportunity to learn from experts in the field and receive support and mentoring from faculty in their respective discipline. NJLEND faculty come from 7 unique disciplines, including: Dentistry, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Nursing, Nutrition, Psychology, Social Work, and Family.

The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, a component of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Department of Pediatrics, is home to the NJ Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Training Program. NJLEND is funded through the Maternal and Child Health Bureau in the federal Health Resources and Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Services. Funding for LEND programs is authorized by the federal Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act [P.L. 113-157].

Visit the NJLEND page on The Boggs Center’s website to learn more.


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