Leadership Institute

Deborah Spitalnik., Ph.D.Deborah Spitalnik, Ph.D.


Professor of Pediatrics
Executive Director, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disability
Director, LEND
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Area of Expertise

  • Developmental Disabilities,
  • Definition and systems of support
  • Disability Policy, including Medicaid Life Course Approach,
  • Supporting individuals across the lifespan
  • Working with state systems
  • Program development
  • Educating people with disabilities, their families and the direct support and other professionals that support them,

Interest and Desire to Mentor

I think we all need the support of others, and I think mentoring is an important form of support, as we learn new skills and thread our way through life challenges, both professionally and personally. My own path has been greatly enriched by the generosity of mentors and I have been deeply committed to mentoring others. I have derived a deep sense of meaning and satisfaction from having contributed to others' growth and development, and am interested in assuring that individuals from a broad array of communities have opportunities to be supported in making contributions to the lives of people with disabilities and families.

Values and Approaches to Mentoring

I see everyone as capable of growth and strive to support an individual's gifts and capacities. I think listening and trying to guide individuals to their own strengths and extend opportunities for experience and reflection are paramount to my approach. I also believe that our ability to see ourselves in relation to others and extend ourselves to others is a source of great meaning in life.