LEND Faculty & Staff

Dianne McBrien photoDianne McBrien, MD, LEND Program Director

Email: dianne-mcbrien@uiowa.edu


I am a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, and the medical director of the Center for Disabilities and Development. I actually started my career in developmental and behavioral pediatrics as a LEND trainee, and now as program director, I am fortunate to help others access the rich educational experience that is LEND. It is a privilege to watch the trainees develop into leaders, and I always learn so much from them.


Lane Strathearn photoLane Strathearn, MBBS, FRACP, PhD, Co- LEND Director, Research

Email: lane-strathearn@uiowa.edu




Derrick Willis new photoDerrick Willis, MPA, Iowa UCEDD Director, Core Faculty for Diversity

Email: derrick-willis@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-678-8414

I am the Director of Iowa’s UCEDD, one of 67 Centers in the United States and Territories. I currently serve on the national Board for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), a 650 million dollar disability advocacy center. I love the pre-service approach of LEND and its focus on leadership and health disparities. Each year I help recruit trainees from diverse backgrounds and look forward to participating in LEND seminars.


Photo Von LehmdenKelly Von Lehmden, BBA, Interdisciplinary Training Manager and LEND Training Director

Email: kelly-vonlehmden@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-356-1172

I joined the LEND program in 2006. In my role, I design and implement the training curriculum and lead the policy experience for LEND. I consider it a privilege to work with the trainees and future leaders, and share the life experiences of being a parent of a daughter with a disability.


Julie Temple photoJulie Temple, MLS, LEND Interdisciplinary Training Coordinator

Email: julie-temple@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-353-8869

My role is to support the LEND faculty, staff and trainees. When I began working with the LEND program in 2015, I had little exposure to or knowledge of the disability world or about advocating for myself and others. But through LEND, I have had the opportunity to learn and grow alongside the trainees each year, which is one of the things I enjoy the most about my job! Something that I’ve experienced at CDD and in LEND is that no matter how much or little you think you know about a topic, there is always more you can learn.


Iowa LEND Core Faculty & Staff


Emily Andrews photoEmily Andrews, AuD, CCC-A, Core Faculty for Audiology

Email: emily-andrews@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-384-6894


Michael Baca new photoMichael Baca, MHA, Core Faculty for Healthcare Administration

Email: michael-baca@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-356-0768

In my role as Administrator for the Center for Disabilities and Development, I plan, direct and evaluate all administrative and clinical functions within our department, and further develop and guide the strategic vision for our teams. What I enjoy most about the LEND program is the opportunity to mentor the MHA trainees in addition to learning from all other trainees from each discipline. As we aim to develop the next generation of leaders in health care delivery systems for individuals with developmental disabilities, it is fun to watch our trainees grow from day one through graduation.


Patti Bahr photoPatricia Bahr, MSE, ATP, RET, Core Faculty for Education

Email: patricia-bahr@uiow.edu

Phone number: (319) 356-4282

I have worked as a rehabilitation engineer for more than 30 years, matching technology to the needs of people with disabilities. I've had the pleasure of being the Education LEND core faculty since 2018, and am amazed at the topics and depth of training that LEND trainees receive. 


Diane Brenneman photoDiane Zaerr Brenneman, DMin, FPSS, Core Faculty for Family

Email: diane-brenneman@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-356-8637

I am a family member of children with disabilities and serve as a Family Navigator with the Division of Child and Community Health. In addition, I serve as the Division Training Coordinator. Our family training seeks to empower families of children and youth with special health care needs to be advocates and leaders in their families, communities and the system of care in our state and nation. I was a LEND trainee and really benefitted from the didactics and the trip to AUCD in Washington, D.C. I remember sitting with our group in Rep. Loebsack’s office, and when I told him I was a family navigator, he replied, “My mom could have used a family navigator when we were growing up!”


Deb Downey photoDebora A. Downey, PhD, CCC-SLP, Core Faculty for Speech-Language Pathology

Email: debora-downey@uiowa.edu

Phone number:  356-3437

I am a speech-language pathologist.

Learning is a passion of mine.

Educating others to allow them to live their best life is a goal of mine.

Nurturing other’s passion for learning and education is why I love LEND so much.

Dedication and drive are qualities I value.


Ed Esbeck photoEdward Esbeck, Self-Advocacy Coordinator, Core Faculty for Self-Advocacy

Email: edward-esbeck@uiowa.edu

Phone number: N/A

As a former self-advocate ILEND trainee, I was given the opportunity to go back to Uganda to see where I come from, learn about disabilities there, and see how I can help people with disabilities in other parts of the world by sharing my story and experiences. As a self-advocacy coordinator for Iowa’s UCEDD, I’ve learned to work with other organizations that serve people with disabilities in the community. ILEND helped me to grow my leadership and advocacy skills, and that’s why I love the LEND program. I also love working with and mentoring new self-advocate trainees to help them grow their own leadership and advocacy skills through LEND.


Mike Hoenig photoMichael Hoenig, MA, Core Faculty for Self-Advocacy

Email: michael-hoenig@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 563-349-3922

In addition to serving as Self-Advocacy Discipline Co-Director for LEND, I am privileged to work on projects related to disability and health, deinstitutionalization, and disability inclusion and awareness. I find being a part of LEND to be especially gratifying because I see members of each cohort grow throughout the year as they internalize the value of an interdisciplinary model. As a person who has lived with a disability since birth, I get excited each time I see a self-advocacy trainee reach a new milestone, whether that be presenting a case study, interacting with a non-disabled peer, or being hired by the UCEDD which hosts Iowa’s LEND program. I’ve often told the ILEND Program Coordinator, not entirely in jest, that once I retire, she’ll see my name in a future pool of self-advocacy trainee applicants!


Cheryll Jones, ARNP, CPNP, FAANP, ILEND Title V Coordinator for Community Based Experiences

Email:  cheryll-jones@uiowa.edu

Phone number:  641-682-8145

I provide evaluation, diagnosis and care coordination for children and youth with special heath care needs and their families. In my work, I have the privilege of working with Family Navigators who are so essential in providing services to our families. Working with LEND is a great opportunity to work with our future leaders in the area of disability services.  


Vanessa Kimm photoVanessa Kimm, DNP, ARNP, CPNP-PC, Core Faculty for Nursing

Email: vanessa-kimm@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-335-7043

I am faculty in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Iowa College of Nursing and also have a part-time practice in the Autism Center at the Stead Family Children's Hospital Center for Disabilities and Development. I successfully helped advocate for an insurance mandate to cover applied behavioral analysis therapy for Iowa children with autism as part of my DNP doctoral project. I am passionate about advocating for children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and love that the LEND program helps provide students with an interdisciplinary perspective on addressing the multifaceted needs of children with special needs, and providing compassionate and comprehensive support to their families.


Todd Kopelman photoTodd Kopelman, PhD, BCBA, Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Core Faculty for Psychology (Autism)

Email: todd-kopelman@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-356-2491

Clinical work focuses on the evaluation of children and adults suspected of having autism spectrum disorder, and evaluation and treatment of children and adults with developmental disorders who engage in challenging behaviors. I am a graduate of the LEND program and have found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. LEND provides students the background to work effectively with patients with developmental disorders and their families, to understand systems of care, and to advocate for change.


Katie Laubscher photoKatie Laubscher, PT, DPT, Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy, Core Faculty for Physical Therapy

Email: katie-laubscher@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-356-1173

I started my career after PT school as a LEND trainee at the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center at Oregon Health and Science University. That experience spurred my commitment to interdisciplinary teams, family-centered care, and simultaneous involvement in teaching, advocacy, and evidence-informed practice. I consider it an honor to be able to touch on all of these aspects in my current work – listening to and providing assessment and recommendations for a family with an infant with developmental concerns on one of our clinical teams, working with a family and other providers to justify and advocate for coverage of medically necessary adaptive equipment, or participating in clinical research with physical therapists around the country to help inform efficacy of potential medical treatments. With each of these activities, students at varying stages of learning work to absorb clinical knowledge, but also to understand and appreciate the perspective of patients and their families. My hope is that I can use my knowledge and experience to guide and empower children and their families to optimize engagement in life activities, as well as to help encourage a mode of collaborative practice for students preparing to work with children and their families.


Kecia Leary photoKecia Leary, DDS, MS, Associate Professor (Clinical) Pediatric Dentistry, Core Faculty for Pediatric Dentistry

Email: Kecia-Leary@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-335-8147

I am a former LEND trainee, and I never imagined I would get the chance to give back to a training program that provided so much to me in my clinical practice.  What I love about LEND is that it empowers providers to learn how to provide health care to all individuals. Our interactions with individual families help to break down barriers that many face, and encourage us (as health care providers, and more specifically, dentists) to be leaders within our profession and the community. We learn how important it is to advocate for oral health care for all children, not just provide care.


Jackie Nau photoJackie Nau, Parents as Mentors (PAM) Coordinator

Email: jackie-nau@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-270-6504

I am a part of the Core Faculty for ILEND and serve as the Parents as Mentors (PAM) program coordinator. I was introduced to LEND several years ago when my son with disabilities and our family were mentors for PAM and I have also spoken on many parent panels for the program. I enjoy matching the mentor families with our trainees and witnessing the relationships they develop and the lessons they learn. The trainees gain a level of compassion, empathy and advocacy for those with disabilities and their families that will make them the kind of leaders we can be proud of in our healthcare future!


Matt O'Brien photoMatthew O’Brien, PhD, BCBA-D, Core Faculty for Psychology and Research

Email: matthew-j-obrien@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319.384.9827

I am a psychologist and behavior analyst, involved in both clinical and research work in severe and challenging behavior. I am also involved in educating future healthcare providers on disability-related issues. I have benefitted greatly through my involvement in LEND, both as a trainee and now as a discipline director.


Marcy Rosenbaum photoMarcy Rosenbaum, PhD, LEND Program Evaluator

Email: marcy-rosenbaum@uiowa.edu

Phone number:319-335-8612

I am a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Faculty Development Consultant for the Office of Consultation and Research in Medical Education. My research and teaching focuses on evaluation of medical education, faculty development and clinician-patient communication. I have served as the evaluation consultant for ILEND since 2005. Every year I have the privilege of summarizing trainees’ evaluation of their experiences in the program.  Participants consistently report that the ILEND program is unique in providing interactive opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and exchange about developmental disabilities, leadership and advocacy. 


Will Story photoWilliam T. Story, PhD, MPH, Core Faculty for Public Health

Email: william-story@uiowa.edu

Phone number:  319-384-1514

My research focuses on better understanding household- and community-level factors that are critical to the improvement of maternal and child health outcomes among marginalized populations in a global context (including immigrants and refugees in the US) and translating that research into effective interventions and policies. My research currently focuses on three specific areas: (1) Families: Studying male involvement before, during, and after childbirth; (2) Communities: Examining the role of social capital as a resource that influences access to health care; and (3) Evaluation: Exploring the mechanisms through which maternal and child health outcomes are sustained in community-based health programs around the world. I love being involved in LEND because it helps students understand the interdisciplinary nature of healthcare, including the importance of addressing social determinants of health inequities.


Susan Van Cleve photoSusan N. Van Cleve, DNP, RN, CPNP-PC, PMHS, FAANP, FAAN, Core Faculty for Nursing

Email: susan-vancleve@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 412-848-6075

I am a Professor at the College of Nursing where I teach graduate nursing students. I am certified as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and a Pediatric Mental Health Specialist and maintain an integrated behavioral health practice in a private primary care site. The focus of my clinical and scholarly work is with children with disabilities and behavioral health disorders. LEND provides graduate students with incredible opportunities to learn about and work with children with disabilities and their families.


Judy Warth photoJudy Warth, BBA, CESP, Core Faculty for Community Partners, Employment, and Transition

Email: judith-warth@uiowa.edu

Phone number:  319-936-8290

My role is employment and transition.  My passion is helping people with disabilities grow into the lives they desire.  I love LEND for a thousand reasons, but my secondary (perhaps primary role) is supporting the self-advocacy team and all trainees in LEND to get the supports they need, and helping them develop passion and a vision of possibilities for people with disabilities to live, learn, work and play in the communities they choose.


Angeleah Whitlatch photoAngeleah Whitlatch, LMSW, Core Faculty for Social Work

Email: angeleah.whitlatch@uiowa.edu

Phone number: 319-353-6124

As a past LEND student, Iowa’s LEND program changed the trajectory of my education and gave the opportunity to learn from clinicians and professionals I wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to. This prepared me to join the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) as a Social Worker in 2015. I currently coordinate the Neurodevelopmental Evaluation Clinic (NDE) team, see patients for individual and group therapy, and provide Social Work coverage to clinicians across CDD.