Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School launches new Internet resource for people working in the field of developmental disabilities

February 27, 2002

Worcester, Mass. - The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center has created a new website, The Developmental Disabilities Leadership Forum (DD Leadership This link goes to an external web site) to provide an on-line resource for anyone involved and interested in the field of developmental disabilities.

Approximately seven million Americans have mental retardation or other developmental disabilities, making them one of the largest minority groups in the country, one that crosses gender, race and ethnic lines. Despite the numerous services available to meet this population's needs, there are still many misperceptions, disagreements and myths about how to best help people with developmental disabilities and their families. The new website offers information, opportunities for education and study, and provides a venue for information and for learning about new developments in the developmental disabilities field. The Forum features an on-line journal, on-line courses, discussion forums, sharing listings of on-line events, and essays by leaders in the field.

Founded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Waltham, Massachusetts, the Forum was created with the express purpose of training people and professionals who work directly with and on behalf of people who have disabilities. In essence, the Forum provides fully accessible "one-stop shopping" for those who want information about developmental disabilities.

Founded in 1969, the Shriver Center, located on the grounds of the Department of Mental Retardation's Fernald School Campus in Waltham, was one of the first Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (MRDDRC) and University Affiliated Programs (UAP) in the United States. Because of Eunice Kennedy Shriver's lifelong commitment to improving the welfare of persons with mental retardation, the Center was named in her honor. The center merged with the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2000, enabling scientists and educators at the Shriver Center to join forces with the medical school's researchers to accomplish the shared goal of understanding, treating and curing mental retardation.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of the fastest growing medical schools in the country, attracting more than $123 million in research funding annually. A perennial top ten finisher in the annual US News & World Report ranking of primary care medical schools, UMMS comprises a medical school, graduate school of nursing, graduate school of biomedical sciences and an active research enterprise, and is a leader in health sciences education, research and public service.

Those seeking more information about the Developmental Disabilities Leadership Forum and its activities can contact the Shriver Center at

Alison Duffy, 508-856-2000