About Us



​Dear Friends,

It is with great pleasure and pride that our faculty, staff and Advisory Council provide information about JFK Partner’s mission, goals, history and programs. We recently celebrated our 50th Anniversary as a center that has dedicated itself to improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities. We continue to focus on interdisciplinary leadership training, as well as family and person centered services, clinical care, community collaboration, system change, research, and dissemination. We are extremely grateful to the individuals, families, community, and university partners who have shared in our endeavors, and for the wonderful stewardship provided by our past Director, Dr. Cordelia Robinson. We look forward to continued collaborative efforts with our partners as we work to fulfill our mission.

Sandra L. Friedman, MD, MPH
Director, JFK Partners
University of Colorado School of Medicine

Our Mission

The mission of JFK Partners is to promote the independence, inclusion, contribution, health, and well-being of people with developmental disabilities and special health care needs and their families through consumer, community, and university partnerships.
At the core of this mission is a commitment to family and person-centered, community-based, and culturally competent programs and services. This mission is accomplished through the pursuit of excellence in education and training, consultation, technical assistance, direct service, research, program development, policy analysis, and advocacy.

The Goals of JFK Partners

To provide quality interdisciplinary and disciplinary training to individuals who will assume leadership positions in the disability, special health care needs, and service communities;

To provide a range of exemplary clinical services to people with developmental disabilities and special health care need originating in childhood.

To collaborate with consumers, community resources, and state programs to develop innovative community-based demonstration projects, system level interventions, and educational offerings;

To conduct research that generates knowledge about developmental disabilities and special health care needs and to evaluate the effectiveness of individual and system level interventions; and

To disseminate information that promotes this mission.

1968 JFK Building GroundbreakingSince inception in 1968, JFK Partners has contributed to the training of hundreds of professionals who now make their homes in Colorado, and also around the nation and the world. Those trained represent a number of disciplines which contribute to the diagnosis and treatment of persons with developmental disabilities and special health care needs and their families not only in Denver and Colorado, but nationally and internationally. In 1966, under the leadership of Dr. John Conger, Dr. C. Henry Kempe, and Dr. Donough O’Brien, a multidisciplinary clinic was founded within the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. When federal funding became available to assist in building interdisciplinary clinical training and research centers in developmental disabilities, CU successfully applied for that funding with support from Colorado’s Governor and legislature, the Colorado ARC, and the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation.

The JFK Child Development Center and B.F. Stolinsky Lab building at 8th and Birch on the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) campus was dedicated in 1968. Programmatic support for JFK originally came from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Colorado legislature through the CU School of Medicine, and the National Institute for Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) for the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (MRDDRC). In 1972, core support from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) was added.

The underlying rationale for the federal support for these centers was the need for community-based as opposed to institution based diagnostic treatment centers for children with mental retardation and related disabilities. In 1968, twenty such centers were founded nationally. The training philosophy was based upon the assumption that the children and families to be assisted would benefit from professionals who received their training in an interdisciplinary clinical context.

In addition to its core programmatic support, JFK Partners has had funding for many different projects. Over the years a number of these projects originally located at the JFK Center at 8th and Birch have moved to other community locations. Beginning in 1993, JFK Partners expanded to include a number of clinical, training, demonstration, and research projects from within the University of Colorado Health Services Center and the state agency collaboration known as RMRTI. In 1998, the name JFK Partners: Promoting Families, Health and Development was adopted as the official name of this interdepartmental center of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver. In 2007, JFK Partners moved to the Anschutz Medical Campus where it now resides in the Education 2 South Building on the 5th Floor, 13121 E. 17th Ave., C234, Aurora, Colorado 80045.

CMS Login