The VKC UCEDD is one of 67 centers in the national network supported by the Office on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (OIDD), the Administration for Community Living (ACL), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The VKC is one of a small number of centers nationally to hold all three major IDD infrastructure grants: Intellectual and Developmental Disability Research Centers (IDDRC), University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND).
Like all UCEDDs, its four core functions are training, service and technical assistance, research, and dissemination. The VKC UCEDD‘s areas of emphasis are education and early intervention, employment, health and mental health, and quality of life. The UCEDD‘s Community Advisory Council, made up primarily of self-advocates and family members, are partners in planning, implementing, and evaluating UCEDD activities. The VKC UCEDD is a member of the Tennessee Developmental Disabilities Network and pursues initiatives with its Network partners. Training activities include both interdisciplinary pre-service training and training for families and community service providers and professionals. The VKC UCEDD Public Policy Team focuses VKC resources on local, state, and national disability-related public policy issues. Service programs include Social Work services, Learning Assessment Clinic, and Reading Clinic. Other programs include Arts and Disabilities, Henderson Training Series for Educators, Next Steps at Vanderbilt inclusive higher education program, Religion and Spirituality, Summer Programs, TennesseeWorks, and TransitionTN. Most service activities integrate research and training. The goal of UCEDD research is to conduct applied research, program evaluation, and analyses of public policy to improve the lives of Tennesseans with disabilities, their families, and communities in the areas of health, individual and family supports, and service needs.