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MCDD Recognized by Eastern Shore Parent Organization

The Kinera Foundation recognized the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) for its commitment and support at the foundation’s annual board meeting on Aug. 20.

“Kinera Foundation’s success over the last five years would not have been possible without the support of our many partners,” said Christy Russell, the foundation’s co-founder and executive director, at the event. “We would like to thank MCDD for its continuing support of our work.”

MCDD was the first partner to invest in the Kinera Foundation Eastern Shore Regional Hub. “As a result of that funding, we are able to serve upwards of 50 families each week,” Russell added. “We are honored to call MCDD our partner and a member of our growing family.”

Russell co-founded the organization with her husband five years ago, after their youngest son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and they found few resources for families caring for children with special healthcare needs on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

In 2015, MCDD granted funds to the foundation to investigate information needs and gaps in services for rural families in the ASD community. The investigation found that families from the Eastern Shore were traveling up to 250 miles a month—sometimes in one week or a single day—to ensure that children with disabilities had access to care.

MCDD Director Chris Smith, left, and Christy Russell, co-founder of the Kinera Foundation

Kinera leveraged funds from MCDD to secure additional grants, including funds from the Maryland Department of Health’s Office for Genetics and People with Special Health Care Needs, to establish the Eastern Shore Regional Hub to alleviate this disparity. At the hub, families receive coordinated specialty services, including occupational, physical and speech therapies, and psychology and gastroenterology services. The hub serves individuals with diagnoses such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, ASD, seizure disorders, traumatic brain injury, and speech and hearing disorders.

“We are honored and thrilled to receive this recognition from Kinera,” said MCDD’s director, Chris Smith, PhD. “It was clear to us early on that Kinera was building something very special, and we are proud that we were able to help in some small way.

“The credit really goes to Kinera,” he added, “for what they have been able to accomplish in such a short time.”

In addition to providing financial assistance, MCDD provided a data system platform to Kinera during its start-up phase. MCDD is also providing ongoing technical assistance to the foundation.

Kinera is looking to add additional specialty services—including behavioral health, neurology, genetics and endocrinology—to the hub, based on patient demand.

MCDD Newsletter 2017: Issue Three