How many UCEDDs are there and where are they located?

There are 67 UCEDDs affiliated with a university, and there is at least one in every U.S. state and territory. While all UCEDDs have the same core functions, each UCEDD will have their own unique Center name.


What do UCEDD trainees do?

Emerging Leaders at UCEDDs are undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral students that support their Center’s mission through research, service, and teaching in a variety of disciplines that may impact the lives of people with disabilities (e.g., special education, occupational therapy, political science, and many more). At a UCEDD, Emerging Leaders could also be a fellow, research assistant, self-advocate, or family member who is committed to enhancing the quality of life of people with disabilities by learning from and collaborating with other experts.

UCEDD trainees can also participate in a Diversity Fellowship. UCEDDs can apply for additional grant funding to support one-year diversity fellowships at their centers. Diversity Fellows complete research projects focused on creating a systems-level changes, such as:

·         Improving the recruitment and employment of under-represented groups, including people with disabilities;

·         Increasing the diversity of leadership, staff, and other programs across the DD network;

·         Building cultural competence across the DD network; and

·         Increasing the number of people from under-represented groups and disadvantaged backgrounds who would benefit from OIDD-supported programs.

Their work is found on the Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit. The Toolkit serves as a foundation for a national effort to enhance diversity, inclusion, and cultural and linguistic competence; cultivate partnerships; respond to increasingly diverse communities across the country; and develop strategies for continuing efforts to better serve diverse populations.


DD Act

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed an Act (Title 1, Part B of Public Law 88-164) into law, which established 19 university-based centers focused on intellectual disability research. Over time, changes and improvement led to the current Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act). The DD Act makes sure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate and have access to needed community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity and integration and inclusion in all parts of the community life. The DD Act authorizes the UCEDDs as part of the DD Network.


What is the DD Network?

The DD Network is made up of three partners: University Centers on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), State Developmental Disabilities Councils (DD Councils), and State Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As). Similar to the UCEDDs, DD Councils and P&As are located in every U.S. state and territory under their unique name. Each partner has a unique—although complementary—role. Generally, the DD network partners coordinate and collaborate as appropriate to the nature of the projects, initiatives, and activities they undertake to fulfill their unique mandates to collectively promote community integration.


Who funds the DD Network?

The DD Network is supported by Administration of Disabilities (AoD), which is under the Administration of Community Living (ACL) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. AoD includes the Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (OIDD) and the Independent Living Administration (ILA).

OIDD (formerly known as the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) grants funding for the establishment of UCEDDs, DD Councils, and P&As in every U.S. state and territory. By administering these programs, OIDD shows its commitment to ensuring that people with disabilities have opportunities to make their own choices, contribute to their communities, and have the support they need to live independently and free of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Through funding UCEDDs, OIDD helps connect the academic world and the diverse communities they serve.


How does AUCD support UCEDDs?

AUCD central office staff work directly with programs to make sure that knowledge and effective training strategies are being shared – so everyone can get better together.  This support (sometimes called “technical assistance”) comes in the form of leading topical work groups, planning collaborative in-person and virtual meetings, highlighting creative projects, promoting trainee leadership, managing and analyzing data, developing resources, and building/strengthening relationships with experts from outside the network that can help programs make a more significant impact. Learn more about the UCEDD’s TA.



The network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) aims to positively affect the lives of all people with disabilities by building and strengthening systems that support full community participation. They work toward a vision of self-determination, independence, productivity, and community inclusion for people with disabilities throughout the lifespan. 

UCEDD trainees come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and including individuals from many disciplines, including advocacy and family leadership. All current and recent former trainees are part of the AUCD Emerging Leaders Community.