About the Tarjan Center

The Tarjan Center is part of a national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs). University Centers for Excellence were first authorized by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Their purpose is to promote independence, productivity, and full inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in their communities. Today, there are 67 UCEDDs with at least one in every state and territory in the United States.

Founded in 1969, the Tarjan Center is unique in the national network. It is the only program based within a Department of Psychiatry (the Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior). Our founder, Dr. George Tarjan, was an internationally recognized expert in the field of developmental disabilities who pioneered clinical services, the training of personnel, and the establishment of a research center dedicated to the field of intellectual disabilities. 

Today, the Tarjan Center is a bridge connecting the knowledge, expertise and resources of the university to persons with disabilities and the service delivery systems of the community. The Tarjan Center is a catalyst for collaboration, innovation, and systems change to advance the self-determination and inclusion of people with disabilities. We do this through university and community education, technical assistance, program evaluation, research and demonstration of exemplary programs and information dissemination. Our main activity currently includes:

  • Supporting children, young adults and adults with developmental disabilities and mental health, and physical health needs;
  • Forging new alliances between individuals with disabilities, agencies and policymaking bodies in order to change policies, provide opportunities and improve services for people with disabilities, in education, employment,  mental health, health, and arts and culture;
  • Expanding the arts and cultural community‚Äôs capacity to include individuals with disabilities and support opportunities for individuals with disabilities to pursue careers in the arts;
  • Examining the impact of national and state policies on people with disabilities and their families.