About Us

The Institute on Development and Disability within the Department of Pediatrics at OHSU works with patients, families, clinicians, researchers and many other professionals to meet the goal of improving the lives of people with disabilities. We perform research and care to support every patient, from premature babies to older adults, facing changes in life due to the onset of disabling conditions. With more than 100 years of practice, we understand how to best meet the needs of our patients and their families in Oregon and beyond.

We embrace the right of people with disabilities to determine the course of their lives and to live as fully integrated, contributing members of their communities. Our efforts are developed with those values in mind, and we welcome your feedback and participation to help ensure we are most effective in our endeavors.

Our institute benefits from approximately $10 million annually secured by faculty and staff to support sponsored projects related to research, teaching and education and clinical care. Our ability to consistent secure extramural funding speaks of the importance of our work and the high quality of our faculty and staff.

Health care

The Child Development and Rehabilitation Center is the clinical component of the institute. Our team of medical and allied health professionals provides evaluation, management and treatment focused on diverse patient needs. While focused on children since the early 1900's, we have several specialized programs that serve patients well into their adult years as we are often the only specialists in the area focusing on a variety of disabilities including spina bifida, cerebral palsy, down syndrome and many others. The specialized care that patients receive here supports their engagement with their families and community as more fully functioning individuals.

In addition to the clinical care provided through the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center, many members of our team collaborate with other pediatric clinical care programs both within and outside of OHSU.


By partnering with our communities and assisting families statewide, we are able to directly impact the services provided by the institute. The Oregon Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Needs program promotes optimal health, development and well-being of Oregon's children and youth with special health needs.

The Oregon Office on Disability and Health is also a community-focused component of our organization working to prevent secondary conditions and improve the health and quality of life for Oregonians with disabilities through improved access to health care facilities, public health programs, effective health promotion and wellness programs.


Research at the institute is conducted throughout our organization. The goal of our research is to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and special health needs through new discoveries. Research projects vary, with examples of currently funded projects in the areas of autism spectrum disorders, language processing, pediatric psychology, genetic abnormalities, hemophilia treatment, alternative and augmentative communication and birth defects to name a few. Our researchers benefit from extramural funding from diverse sources including the National Institutes of Health, Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, private foundations and multiple other sources.

Additional research is conducted at OHSU's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, a national program funded by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. This Center is one of 67 across the United States and Territories committed to envisioning a future where everyone, including people with disabilities, are able to participate in, and live as fully integrated, participating members of their communities.

Education and training

There are several training opportunities at the institute with a disability focus. Our training activity specializes in future professional interests in the disability field. The flagship of our training efforts is through the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program. Within this program are 15 different disciplines that work to provide multi-disciplinary training for future professionals. We sponsor five nationally accredited training programs within the institute.

Additionally, programs are available for youth and college-aged students interested in the medical/disability field. These programs include the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Summer Student Internship Program and the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities High School Program. Both programs work to expose students to the medical field, and in particular, the field of disabilities. These are short-term experiences with the longest being a summer internship, which students complete during their summer vacations.