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Wendy Klag Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities

Information for Students

Bloomberg School students from an array of disciplines and departments may be interested in the research and mission of the Wendy Klag Center.  Our work spans departments from Epidemiology, Mental Health, Biostatistics, and Population, Family and Reproductive Health.

The center offers three types of student opportunities:

  1. Funding for student and post-doctoral projects, through the Wendy Klag Scholars program. Requests may be in an amount up to $15,000. Requests are reviewed annually. Read more about the Wendy Klag Scholars and their work, in addition to the interests and work of other Bloomberg School students.
  2. Student travel awards up to $500. Applications will be accepted on a rolling schedule. To apply, please complete this form.
  3. Internship placement. Funding up to $5,000 per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) is available for two interns. We also can facilitate unpaid internships if funding is not available. Internship acceptances will be decided twice a year, with deadlines of Sept. 30 and Feb. 1. As a condition of internship, recipients must write a short report about their internship. They also are expected to lead a Wendy Klag Center journal club during the school year, and also to attend journal club regularly. To apply for internship placement, please complete this formLearn about past interns.

The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) at Kennedy Krieger Institute is one of 67 national network University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. The intern will develop and participate in programmatic projects focused on developmental disability issues covering: research and policy, organizational partnerships and collaborations, evidence-based decision-making, and building leaders across the state. Each of the core functions of the MCDD will be addressed during this experience: training/continuing education, community service and technical assistance, research and evaluation, and information dissemination. This internship will provide the student with experiences in exploration of data, extraction and analysis of local, state and national data sets, assisting in identifying and organizing information for grant proposals, and participation in statewide community forums. Proficiency in Microsoft Office Products, particularly Excel is required. Knowledge and use of a statistical software application, i.e., STATA, SAS, or SPSS, is preferred.  Specific work objectives will be developed with the student.  Student must have own transportation.  Questions about this internship and potential projects may be addressed to Dr. Christopher Smith and Dr. Jackie Stone

Examples of past intern projects:

A new internship was available in 2017 at the Sheppard Pratt - Lieber Research Institute (SPL). SPL is a joint-venture between the Lieber Institute for Brain Development at Johns Hopkins University and the Sheppard Pratt Health System. The internship is with the SPL's Adult Autism Registry. Description: There is an urgent need to better understand the factors that determine functional and clinical outcomes in patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as they transition to adulthood. Which of these patients will do well and be able to live independent lives? Who will need ongoing support and treatment? Who will develop a psychotic disorder or catatonia? Who will suffer from anxiety, problems with mood or self-injurious behavior? And who will most benefit from medications or other treatments? To generate more knowledge about adult patients with a diagnosis of ASD that may help us answer some of these questions, SPL is establishing a point-of-care patient registry with a goal to enroll 100 subjects and their family members.  The project utilizes retrospective, cross-sectional and longitudinal data and includes the establishment of a biorepository for genetic and other molecular analysis. The research takes place within the clinics of Sheppard Pratt's Neuropsychiatry program, a large outpatient center located at the Sheppard Pratt Hospital Campus in Towson, Maryland. The Neuropsychiatry program serves over 2000 patients, including more than 700 adult patients with neurodevelopmental disorders, including ASD.

SPL invites interested students to participate in internships that allow them to join a multidisciplinary research team that includes clinicians, geneticists, neuroscientists and data scientists. Interns will have the opportunity to learn about the current state of research on adult patients with autism while observing clinical work and administration of cognitive and behavioral assessments. As part of the internship students will assist the research team with conducting data quality control and analysis, as well as complete a small data analysis project by themselves. Students will learn how to manage and use data within a state of the art data warehouse environment that includes a REDCap Server and R Shiny for data visualization.   Familiarity with statistical methods and the R programming language are required. Questions about this internship may be addressed to Dr. Robert Schloesser.


Learn more about our students

Congratulations to Dr. Julia Baller on her thesis defense!

Julia Baller doctoral defense
Julia Baller (fourth from left) celebrates with Anne Riley, Colleen Barry,
Elizabeth Stuart, Dani Fallin and Beth McGinty.

Julia Baller, a former Wendy Klag Center intern, successfully defended her doctoral thesis, "Financing School-Based Health Services for Children with Disabilities: The Intersection Between Medicaid and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act," on Dec. 1.  Dr. Baller is in the Department of Health Policy and Management.

As a Wendy Klag Center intern at Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities, Dr. Baller worked with the Maryland Parent Survey-Youth Transition to Adulthood to better understand the intersection between healthcare transition services and transition service delivered through special education for youth with special healthcare needs. Results from this study indicate that parents play an integral role in advocating on behalf of their children during both transition processes.

Bloomberg doctoral student to work on newly funded study

Luke KalbLuther "Luke" Kalb, MHS, who is pursuing his doctoral degree in mental health at the Bloomberg School, will work on a newly funded research study with Principal Investigator Roma Vasa, MD, of Kennedy Krieger Institute.  Autism Speaks is funding the study to investigate the prevalence and risk factors for psychiatric crises in people with ASD.  They will assess how caregivers and psychiatrists respond to these crises and develop a psychiatric-crisis assessment tool.   Kalb was among the student panelists at the Inaugural Symposium for the Wendy Klag Center, and he received a 2014 grant from the Wendy Klag Center to pursue his own project.

Kalb and Vasa collaborated with former Wendy Klag Scholar Benjamin Zablotsky, Ph.D., Wendy Klag Center Associate Director Elizabeth Stuart, Ph.D., and Brian Freedman, Ph.D. on a March 2014 publication, "Health Care Experiences and Perceived Financial Impact Among Families of Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder," which is published in the journal Psychiatric Services.