URLEND was initially funded in 2001 as the first LEND program with long-term trainees across multiple states.  It was established and is maintained as a partnership between the University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and Utah State University, Institute for Disability Research, Policy, and Practice. In 2018, Utah State University added the newly founded Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Clinical Excellence as partner.  

Additional partners are found in each state through the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service (UCEDD) and Family to Family agencies, along with Brigham Young University and Idaho State University.  There are almost 40 URLEND faculty and staff throughout these states, including self-advocates, family members, and professionals with autism expertise.  

LENDs grew from the 1950s efforts of what is now known as the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) to identify children with disabilities as a Title V program priority.  They are funded under the 2006 Combating Autism Act.  

LEND programs share common themes 

Advance knowledge and skills of professionals to improve health care delivery systems for children with developmental disabilities.

Innovative practices to enhance cultural responsiveness, family-centered care, and interdisciplinary partnerships.

Parents and family members as program participants.

 There are 60 LEND programs across the US, working together to create a national network of information and resources.  

These programs address national issues of importance to children with special health care needs and their families, exchange best practices, and develop shared products.  

LEND programs network together regionally to address specific issues and concerns.  

URLEND trainees participate in group leadership projects which impact local, state, regional, and national issues.  Trainees have opportunities to attend national conferences and participate as an Emerging Leader with the AUCD (Association of University Centers on Disabilities) network.  There are numerous opportunities for trainees to enhance learning and leadership abilities.