Thomas R. Insel, M.D.
Director, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Chair of the IACC
Dr. Insel is the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the National Institutes of Health charged with generating the knowledge needed to understand, treat, and prevent mental disorders.
NIMH is home to a large autism research program that covers a wide variety of topics including diagnosis, basic biology, genetics, treatment and prevention, epidemiology, health services research and outcomes of autism across the lifespan.
Prior to his appointment as NIMH Director in 2002, Dr. Insel was a Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University. There, he was founding Director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, one of the largest science and technology centers funded by the National Science Foundation and, concurrently, Director of an NIH-funded Center for Autism Research.
From 1994 to 1999, he was Director of the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta. While at Emory, Dr. Insel continued the line of research he had initiated at NIMH studying the neurobiology of complex social behaviors.
He has published over 250 scientific articles and four books, including the Neurobiology of Parental Care (with Michael Numan) in 2003. Dr. Insel graduated from the combined B.A.-M.D. program at Boston University.
James F. Battey, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Dr. James Battey has served as a Federal member of the IACC since 2007. He is the Director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at NIH.
The Institute supports biomedical and behavioral research and research training in the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language.
Dr. Battey is widely recognized for his work on G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), a large family of proteins important in cell-to-cell communication, and integral to an array of physiological processes, including taste and smell, vision, immune response, and the transmission of messages between nerve cells.
Much of his research has focused on mammalian bombesin receptors-GPCRs that mediate such processes as hormone release, smooth muscle contraction, and cell division-and he has collaborated on a large-scale project to identify molecules that are important for taste.
Dr. Battey was appointed Director of the Intramural Research Program for NIDCD in 1995 and has served as the Director of NIDCD since 1998.
He received his undergraduate education at the California Institute of Technology, where he earned his B.S. with honors in physics. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in Biophysics from Stanford University, where he also received residency training in Pediatrics.
Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.
Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Dr. Linda Birnbaum joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2009 and is Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at NIH and the National Toxicology Program (NTP).
As NIEHS and NTP Director, Birnbaum oversees a budget of $850 million that funds biomedical research to discover how the environment influences human health and disease.
A board-certified toxicologist, Dr. Birnbaum has served as a Federal scientist for 31 years. Prior to her appointment as NIEHS and NTP Director, she spent 19 years at the Environmental Protection Agency where she directed the largest division focusing on environmental health research.
Birnbaum started her Federal career with 10 years at the NIEHS – first as a senior staff fellow in the National Toxicology Program, then as a Principal Investigator and research microbiologist, and finally as a group leader for the Institute’s Chemical Disposition Group.
Birnbaum is also an active member of the scientific community. She was Vice President of the International Union of Toxicology, the umbrella organization for toxicology societies in more than 50 countries; former President of the Society of Toxicology, the largest professional organization of toxicologists in the world; former Chair of the Division of Toxicology at the American Society of Pharmacology and Therapeutics; and former Vice President of the American Aging Association.
Dr. Birnbaum’s own research focuses on the pharmacokinetic behavior of environmental chemicals, mechanisms of actions of toxicants, including endocrine disruption, and linking of real-world exposures to effects. She is the author of more than 700 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, abstracts and reports.
In addition to her role at NIEHS, she is also an adjunct professor in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, the Curriculum in Toxicology, and the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as in the Integrated Toxicology Program at Duke University.
In October 2010, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health. Dr. Birnbaum received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Coleen A. Boyle, Ph.D., M.S. Hyg.
Director, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and Director (NCBDDD)
Dr. Boyle joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2010 after she was named Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Before joining CDC in 1984, Dr. Boyle served as a faculty member in epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts, Program in Public Health. Dr. Boyle began her career at CDC working on a large multi-faceted project to examine the impact of Agent Orange exposure on U.S. military personnel who served in Vietnam.
Dr. Boyle joined the Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, in 1988, was appointed Chief of the Surveillance and Epidemiology Section in the Developmental Disabilities Branch in 1991 and assumed the responsibilities of the Branch Chief in 1995 focusing on epidemiology of major developmental disabilities including cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities.
In 2001, Dr. Boyle was named the Associate Director for Science and Public Health for the newly created National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at CDC. In that role, Dr. Boyle was responsible for developing and coordinating the science activities of the National Center.
In October 2004, Dr. Boyle was appointed Director of the Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, NCBDDD. The Division has a budget of $60 million and focuses on surveillance, epidemiology research and prevention of major birth defects and developmental disabilities. Dr. Boyle is the recipient of the CDC Charles C. Shepard Award for scientific excellence in 1997 and 2004 and has authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific peer-reviewed and other scientific publications. Dr. Boyle received her M.S. (hyg.) in Biostatistics and Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health and completed postdoctoral training in Epidemiologic Methods at Yale University.
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2009, following his appointment as the 16th Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in August 2009.
Dr. Collins, a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project, served as Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the NIH from 1993-2008. With Dr. Collins at the helm, the Human Genome Project consistently met projected milestones ahead of schedule and under budget.
This remarkable international project culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. On March 10, 2010, Dr. Collins was named a co-recipient of the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research for his leading role in this effort.
In addition to his achievements as the NHGRI director, Dr. Collins’ own research laboratory has discovered a number of important genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease, a familial endocrine cancer syndrome, and most recently, genes for type 2 diabetes and the gene that causes Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.
Prior to coming to the NIH in 1993, he spent nine years on the faculty of the University of Michigan, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Collins was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.
In a White House ceremony on October 7, 2009, Dr. Collins received the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed on scientists by the United States government. Dr. Collins received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia, a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Yale University, and an M.D. with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Denise Dougherty, Ph.D.
Senior Advisor for Child Health and Quality Improvement, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Dr. Denise Dougherty joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2012.
Dr. Dougherty is Senior Advisor for Child Health and Quality Improvement at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her two main professional interests are improving children’s health care and developing innovative and rigorous methods for quality improvement implementation research for all populations and settings.
Currently, Dr. Dougherty leads AHRQ’s partnership with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to implement the quality measurement provisions of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (Public Law 111-3, Feb. 4, 2009).
Dr. Dougherty has participated the planning for important meetings and funding announcements on the science of quality improvement implementation (Researching Implementation and Change While Improving Quality), and has published on crossing the “third translation block” in healthcare quality improvement.
She has also published widely on children’s healthcare issues, most recently on children’s healthcare quality measures for a special issue of the journal Academic Pediatrics. Prior to working at AHRQ, Dr. Dougherty led the Program on Education and Human Resources at the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and wrote reports for Congress on a variety of public policy topics, including adolescent health, children’s mental health, AIDS/HIV, blood policy and technology, and Indian health.
Before getting her Ph.D. in social psychology from Boston University, Dr. Dougherty was a municipal finance analyst on Wall Street. Dr. Dougherty represents AHRQ on a number of public and private sector committees, including the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children, the Workgroup for the new HHS Office of Adolescent Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Pediatric Research.
Tiffany R. Farchione, M.D.
Medical Officer, Division of Psychiatry Products, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Dr. Farchione is a Medical Officer in the Division of Psychiatry Products, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the US Food and Drug Administration. As such, she is responsible for the clinical review of psychiatric drug development activities conducted under INDs and of NDAs and supplements for new psychiatric drug claims.
Prior to coming to FDA in 2010, Dr. Farchione was affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and was on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Farchione received her medical degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and completed adult residency and child & adolescent fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.
Dr. Farchione is board certified in both general and child & adolescent psychiatry.
Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D.
Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Dr. Alan Guttmacher joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2009. Dr. Guttmacher is Acting Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH, which supports research on all stages of human development, from preconception to adulthood, to better understand the health of children, adults, families, and communities.
Prior to his appointment at as Director of NICHD, Dr. Guttmacher served as Acting Director of NICHD, and prior to that, as the Deputy Director and then Acting Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
At NHGRI, he oversaw the Institute’s efforts to advance genome research, integrate that research into medical practice, and explore the ethical, legal, and social implications of human genomics.
Dr. Guttmacher came to the NIH from the University of Vermont, where he directed the Department of Pediatrics’ Vermont Regional Genetics Center and Pregnancy Risk Information Service. His research interests have been dysmorphology (abnormalities of development), and the identification and description of syndromes.
He also has an interest in hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia – a condition resulting in numerous malformations of the blood vessels. Dr. Guttmacher received an A.B. degree from Harvard College and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School.
Laura Kavanagh, M.P.P.
Director, Division of Research, Training and Education, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Ms. Laura Kavanagh has served on the IACC as a Federal member since 2011. She is the Director of the Division of Research, Training and Education (DRTE), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), where she oversees MCHB’s applied research, MCH training, and Healthy Tomorrows programs.
She is also the director of the Combating Autism Act Initiative, a cross-division program that includes autism intervention research, interdisciplinary training, state demonstration projects, and a national evaluation.
Prior to coming to MCHB Laura was Associate Director for Evaluation at Georgetown University’s National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health and taught in the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia (Echols Scholar) and Georgetown University, where she received a master’s degree in public policy with an emphasis on health policy analysis.
Selected awards include American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 2011 Dale Richmond/Justin Coleman Lectureship Award; National Public Health Leadership Institute Fellow (2008-2009); HRSA Administrator’s Award for Excellence (2006); and American Public Health Association’s Maternal and Child Health Young Professional Award (1998).
Donna M. Kimbark, Ph.D.
Program Manager, Autism Research Program, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Dr. Donna Kimbark joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2012. Dr. Kimbark is the Program Manager for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs at the Department of Defense, a complex extramural biomedical research program that includes the DOD Autism Research Program (ARP), DOD Bone Marrow Failure Research Program (BMFRP), the Multiple Sclerosis Research Program (MSRP) and the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program. She oversees the management of 214 research awards representing $136.25 million in appropriated funds. Dr. Kimbark holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and Cancer Therapeutics from State University of New York, Albany.
Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D.
Deputy Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Dr. Walter Koroshetz joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2009. He is Deputy Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). He works with the NINDS Director in program planning and budgeting, and oversees Institute scientific and administrative functions. Before joining NINDS, Dr. Koroshetz served as Vice Chair of the Neurology Service and Director of Stroke and Neurointensive Care Services at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
He was also a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and led neurology resident training at MGH between 1990 and 2007. Dr. Koroshetz trained in neurology at MGH, after which he did post-doctoral studies in cellular neurophysiology at MGH and the Harvard neurobiology department. He joined the neurology staff, first in the Huntington’s disease unit and then in the stroke and neurointensive care service.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Koroshetz graduated from Georgetown University and received his medical degree from the University of Chicago. He trained in Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago and Massachusetts General Hospital before specializing in Neurology.
Commissioner, Administration for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator, Administration for Community Living (ACL)
Sharon Lewis joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2010 following her appointment as Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities in March 2010.
In 2012, Ms. Lewis was named Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities within the new Administration for Community Living at the Department of Health and Human Services.
In 2013, Ms. Lewis became Acting Deputy Principal Administrator of the Administration for Community Living. Well known as an effective advocate, Sharon has a proven track record in championing disability issues, while working for a better quality of life for all. Ms. Lewis has worked in disability policy for more than 10 years at local, state, and national levels. She originally came to Washington, D.C. to serve as a Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellow, working for Senator Chris Dodd’s HELP subcommittee on Children and Families.
In 2007, she joined Chairman George Miller’s Education & Labor Committee staff as Senior Disability Policy Advisor, where she advised members of the Committee on disability concerns related to education, employment and healthcare.
Ms. Lewis is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2010 Distinguished Leadership in National Disability Policy Award and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Chairman’s Award. In Oregon, Ms. Lewis worked on public policy for the Oregon Developmental Disabilities Coalition and for the Arc. She served as the Co-Chair of the Oregon Family Action Coalition Team, founded DisabilityCompass.org and managed the Oregon Partners in Policymaking Program, working with individuals with disabilities and family members to participate in policy decisions at all levels.
Ms. Lewis is a parent to three daughters, including one with disability. She is a native of Michigan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.
John P. O’Brien, M.A.
Senior Policy Advisor for the Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Mr. John O’Brien joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2012. Mr. O’Brien is the Senior Policy Advisor for the Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Previously, John was the Senior Advisor to the Administrator on Health Care Reform at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Mr. O’Brien was the Director of several national projects funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop strategies for coordinating funding for human services from federal, state and local dollars.
Prior to his work at SAMHSA, Mr. O’Brien worked with the Technical Assistance Collaborative for fifteen years as a Senior Consultant. He has provided consultation to over 30 states and local human services authorities. He has worked with Medicaid, state mental health and substance abuse authorities. He has worked with states to develop federal Medicaid Waivers, Medicaid state plan amendments, and federal grant applications (e.g., children’s system of care).
Mr. O’Brien has also been a manager at KPMG Peat Marwick and worked for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, the Massachusetts Developmental Disability Council, the Illinois Governor’s Office, and the Illinois Legislative Commission on Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse. He was a program staff at Thresholds, Inc. in Chicago. Mr. O’Brien holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University and a Master of Arts degree with a concentration in public policy from University of Chicago.
Michael K. Yudin
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education
Michael K. Yudin formerly served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). In this role, he helped lead policy development and operations of all grant programs administered by OESE designed to promote academic excellence and ensure equitable opportunities for educationally disadvantaged students. Mr. Yudin also helped lead the Department’s efforts on Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility. He served as Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education from June 2011 to May 2012.
Prior to joining the Department of Education, Yudin spent nine years in the United States Senate, serving as legislative director for Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, senior counsel to Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, and HELP Committee counsel to Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont. In these roles, he assisted in developing, promoting, and advancing a comprehensive legislative agenda related to education, children and families, disabilities, and poverty. Working for senior Members of the HELP Committee, Yudin helped draft, negotiate, and pass various pieces of legislation, including the No Child Left Behind Act, and IDEA 2004. He also worked on the reauthorizations of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Head Start, the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 2006, and the Higher Education Act.
Before joining the Senate, Mr. Yudin served as an attorney at the Social Security Administration and at the U.S. Department of Labor for nearly ten years. In these positions, he provided legal advice on various policy initiatives, including social security, disability, employment, and welfare reform. He also served as director of employment policy for two leading national disability organizations: the ARC of the United States and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP).
Parent and Co-Founder of the Somali American Autism Foundation
Ms. Idil Abdull joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Ms. Abdull is the parent of a son with autism and Co-Founder of the Somali American Autism Foundation. As a Somali-American mother, she has worked to raise awareness about the high prevalence of autism among Somali immigrants living in Minnesota and has helped to change autism policies in the state. Her work as a vocal advocate for the community has received national media coverage and her testimony before the IACC resulted in a joint research initiative between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and Autism Speaks to investigate ASD rates among Somali-American children.
Ms. Abdul strives to give a voice to children with classic autism and to ensure that someday parents will have access to effective treatments and an understanding of what caused their child’s autism. She also has a special interest in serving as a voice for underrepresented groups more broadly, including those that are struggling with language, cultural, and economic barriers as they seek ways to help their family members with disabilities.
She encourages the research community to investigate why certain ethnic groups may be more susceptible to autism and how genes interact with the environment to influence risk. Ms. Abdull is also passionate about finding ways to improve the system of services and supports so that families can receive coverage for the early intervention and lifespan services they need.
In addition to her work through the Somali American Autism Foundation, she serves on the Minnesota Autism Task Force. Ms. Abdull holds a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration.
James Ball, Ed.D., BCBA-D
President and CEO of JB Autism Consulting and Chair, Autism Society Board of Directors
Dr. Jim Ball joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Dr. Ball is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) who is the President and CEO of JB Autism Consulting. He has worked in the private sector field of autism for more than 25 years, providing educational, employment, and residential services to children and adults affected with autism.
Dr. Ball has lectured nationally and internationally, provided expert testimony, and published in the areas of early intervention, behavior, consultation services, social skills, technology, and trauma. He is a featured author and is on the advisory board for the Autism Asperger’s Digest magazine. His 2008 triple Award Winning book, “Early Intervention & Autism: Real-Life Questions, Real-Life Answers” was released in February of 2008.
Dr. Ball, a former Board of Trustee member for the New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community (COSAC), now Autism New Jersey, is also a member of the COSAC/Autism NJ Professional Advisory Board.
He is a Board member of the Autism Society’s Board of Directors and is currently the Chair of the National Board. Prior to that, Dr. Ball assisted the Autism Society’s Board as the Co-Chair of the AS Panel of Professional Advisors (2005-2009). Dr. Ball has won numerous awards, including NYFAC’s Autism Inspiration Award, Autism Society’s Literary Work of the Year for his manual on social security and employment for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, and Autism New Jersey’s highest honor, its Distinguished Service Award.
He received his Doctor of Education degree from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Anshu Batra, M.D.
Parent and Developmental Pediatrician, Our Special Kids
Dr. Anshu Batra joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Dr. Batra is a developmental pediatrician specializing in autism and early childhood developmental disorders and the mother of two sons with autism spectrum disorder.
She currently works in a private practice that provides medical services to more than 600 patients with developmental disabilities, the majority of whom have an autism diagnosis. The practice is unique not only in terms of the racial, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity of its patients, but also in its scope. Dr. Batra provides comprehensive management for a patient population that ranges from baby siblings to older adults who are being cared for by family members. In her practice, she addresses complex issues that emerge for both patients and their caregivers over the lifespan.
Dr. Batra has become an outspoken advocate to educate both the professional and lay communities about autism and considers how to best integrate a growing subpopulation of individuals on the spectrum into society. She has appeared on national programs such as the Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and House Calls with Dr Sanjay Gupta to speak about the diagnosis and management of autism. In addition, she works to educate the community about the unique challenges faced by children and adults with disabilities within their communities, and to promote tolerance and patience in the community response.
She is a well-recognized advocate in the Los Angeles area, where she serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Chapter of Autism Speaks.
She has served as an ad hoc Member for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Special Emphasis Review Panel for the Heterogeneity of Autism Spectrum Disorders initiative funded by NIH under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the California Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders, South Los Angeles Regional Task Force Insurance Subcommittee, and on the Autism Technical Expert Panel to develop the RAND Evidence Based Practice Guidelines for the treatment of Autism.
She received her M.D. from the University of Michigan and trained in pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Noah Britton. M.A.
Self Advocate and Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Bunker Hill Community College
Mr. Noah Britton joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Mr. Britton was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome a decade ago as a freshman in college and has spent every year since working directly with people on the autism spectrum.
He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, Massachusetts and has presented on autism as a guest lecturer at the University of Virginia and Tufts University. Prior to that Mr. Britton worked directly with teenagers on the spectrum as head counselor for the Northeast ARC’s Spotlight program and as a drama teacher at the New England Academy in Massachusetts.
He has conducted significant research on causes and interventions for ASD and co-authored a forthcoming encyclopedia chapter. As an autistic self-advocate, Mr. Britton feels strongly that communities need to address the abusive treatment of people with ASD and ensure that they have access to effective interventions.
A skilled communicator, he is able to act as a bridge between the autistic and neurotypical world, explaining the concrete meaning behind the expectations of neurotypicals or other autistics. Mr. Britton currently serves on the scientific/educational advisory board of the Autism Higher Education Foundation. He received his master’s degree in psychology from Hunter College in 2010.
Sally Burton-Hoyle, Ed.D.
Family Member and Associate Professor of Special Education, Eastern Michigan University
Dr. Sally Burton-Hoyle joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Dr. Burton-Hoyle, sister to a person on the autism spectrum, has focused her life and career on improving the education of people with autism and other challenging behaviors. She serves as area coordinator of the Masters of Autism Spectrum Disorders program at Eastern Michigan University (EMU).
This program is based on Positive Behavioral Supports and family/community involvement. Dr. Burton-Hoyle has been at EMU since 2006 and was Executive Director of the Autism Society of Michigan prior to EMU. She has previously served as a lecturer on autism at Oakland University, the Associate Director of the Idaho Center on Developmental Disabilities, and an instructor at the University of Idaho and Washington State University.
In addition, she has classroom experience as a special education teacher. Dr. Burton-Hoyle is a sought-after presenter and consultant in the area of special education, autism, and challenging behavior and as the mother of three boys, she has learned to reframe all behavior as communication. She brings years of experience in working with people with autism spectrum disorders and is well grounded in the diagnostic and therapeutic trends of the day and has a balanced view of the history of the condition and how therapeutic trends have evolved.
She was recently recognized for her outstanding service to Eastern Michigan University. Dr. Burton-Hoyle holds a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Kansas.
Matthew J. Carey, Ph.D.
Parent and Autism Blogger
Dr. Matt Carey joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Dr. Carey is the father of a young child with multiple disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, and is a frequent contributor to the Left Brain/Right Brain blog and other autism blogs. His writing focuses on reviewing current autism research in an understandable way for the public and he is deeply committed to communicating the importance of getting the science right for autism. He is also interested in analyzing trends in health and education public datasets; his critique of “Timing of Increased Autistic Disorder Cumulative Incidence” was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology and his analysis of parents’ academic expectations for their children with ASD, based on the 2007 National Household Education Survey, was presented at a poster session during the 2011 International Meeting For Autism Research (IMFAR).
Dr. Carey is an active industrial researcher in computer hardware whose current research interests include magnetic thin films, spintronics, and magnetic nanostructures. His work has been published in high-impact journals such as Nature Materials, Physical Review Letters, and Applied Physics Letters and he currently holds 106 patents or published patent applications. He received his B.S. in physics from Harvey Mudd College, his M.S. in Physics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, San Diego.
Dennis W. Choi, M.D., Ph.D.
Chair of Neurology and Director of Neurosciences Institute, Stony Brook University
Dr. Dennis Choi joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. In 2012 Dr. Choi became Professor and Chair at the Department of Neurology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and Director of Stony Brook University Neurosciences Institute. As Chair of Neurology, Dr. Choi oversees the Neurology Department’s clinical, research, and education programs, while as Director of the Neurosciences Institute, he builds alliances between the four major participating departments, Neurology, Neurobiology and Behavior, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, overseeing a research and clinical entity dedicated to providing comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for neurological disorders.
Prior to this, Dr. Choi was Executive Vice President of the Simons Foundation, the largest private funder of autism research, and had previously been a member of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. Other past positions have included Vice President for Academic Health Affairs at Emory University, Executive Vice President for Neuroscience at Merck Research Labs, and Professor and Head of Neurology at Washington University Medical School. His research career began in 1975 as a Ph.D. graduate student at Harvard, where he and colleagues discovered the physiological mechanism of action of benzodiazepine drugs.
Later he was a pioneer in dissecting processes responsible for nerve cell death after ischemic or traumatic insults, identifying key roles for NMDA receptor activation, calcium overload and other ionic derangements, and becoming the 19th most cited neuroscience researcher in the world during the 1990s ‘Brain Decade,’ according to Science Watch. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and its Board on Health Sciences Policy, the Executive Committee of the Dana Alliance for Brain Research, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
He is a past president of the Society for Neuroscience, and past vice president of the American Neurological Association. His research on mechanisms of brain and spinal cord injury has been recognized with several awards, including the Silvio O. Conte Decade of the Brain Award, the Wakeman Award for Research in the Neurosciences, the Christopher Reeve Research Medal and the Ho-Am Prize in Medicine. Dr. Choi received his M.D. from the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program, as well as a Ph.D. in pharmacology and neurology residency/fellowship training from Harvard University, before joining the faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine from 1983-1991.
Jose F. Cordero, M.D., M.P.H.
Pediatrician, Epidemiologist and Dean of the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico
Dr. Jose Cordero joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Dr. Cordero has been the Dean of the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Puerto Rico since August 2006. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Cordero worked for 27 years at the CDC and has extensive public health experience in the fields of birth defects, developmental disabilities, and child health. Dr. Cordero was an Assistant Surgeon General of the Public Health Service and the Founding Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. NCBDDD was created by the Children’s Health Act of 2000.
In a few years, NCBDDD became a leading international institution devoted to research and prevention of birth defects and developmental disabilities and health promotion of people of ages living with disabilities. Dr. Cordero has also promoted research to determine the causes of birth defects and developmental disabilities, and has promoted efforts to prevent serious birth defects (such as use of folic acid to prevent spina bifida). He is a strong supporter of programs that promote wellness of persons with disabilities. A native of Puerto Rico, Dr. Cordero obtained his medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico in 1973.He completed residency training in pediatrics at Boston City Hospital and a fellowship in medical genetics at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
Jan M. Crandy
Parent, Case Manager, Nevada State Autism Treatment Assistance Program, Chair, Nevada Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Co-Founder, Families for Effective Autism Treatment
Ms. Jan Crandy joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Ms. Crandy is a case manager for the Nevada State Autism Treatment Assistance Program (ATAP) and has been a leader in raising awareness and treating autism spectrum disorders in Nevada for more than 15 years. She is a dedicated advocate and parent of a child with autism. In her current position at ATAP, Ms. Crandy manages and develops programs for more than 65 children with ASD. In 2007, Ms. Crandy was appointed to the Nevada Autism Task Force by Governor Jim Gibbons.
In that role, Ms. Crandy helped develop policy recommendations for state policymakers on ways to improve the delivery and coordination of autism services in Nevada. For example, Ms. Candy worked with the Nevada legislature to expand the eligibility criteria for autism to include PDD-NOS, so that all children within the spectrum of autism could be counted and receive associated services. She also serves as Chair of the Nevada Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders and was selected as a White House Community Leader to attend the White House briefings in 2011.
Ms. Crandy began her career in advocacy in 1996 when her daughter was diagnosed with autism. With the support of family and friends, Ms. Crandy started a nonprofit organization called Families for Early Autism Treatment (FEAT) to help parents of children with ASD in Southern Nevada.
Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D.
Chief Science Officer, Autism Speaks; Research Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dr. Geraldine Dawson joined the IACC as a public member in 2010. Dr. Dawson is the Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks, where she works with the scientific community and other stakeholders to shape and expand the organization’s scientific vision.
In addition to her work with Autism Speaks, Dr. Dawson holds the positions of Research Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at University of Washington. Dawson is a licensed clinical psychologist who has published extensively on autism spectrum disorders, focusing on early detection and intervention and early patterns of brain dysfunction (using electrophysiology).
In collaboration with Dr. Sally Rogers, Dawson helped to develop and empirically-validated the Early Start Denver Model, the first comprehensive early intervention program for toddlers with autism. She has collaborated on numerous studies of brain development and function and genetic risk factors in autism.
From 1996-2008, Dawson was Founding Director of the University of Washington Autism Center where she directed three National Institutes of Health (NIH) Autism Center of Excellence Award programs of research focusing on genetics, neuroimaging, early diagnosis, and clinical trials. At the Center, she also oversaw multi-disciplinary diagnostic and treatment services for children with autism from infancy through late adolescence. Dawson has been a consultant to the NIH since 1989, including participating on the NIH Committee on Practice Parameters for Screening and Diagnosis of Autism, NIH Scientific Advisory Panel to establish a 10 year road map for autism research, the NIH Consensus Panel on Phenylketonuria, and three NIH Grant Review Committees.
Dawson is a Fellow of the American Psychological Society, American Psychological Association, and the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Dawson’s honors include the Autism Society of America Award for Valuable Service, Washington Autism Society Achievement Award for Outstanding Service, Autism Society of Washington Medical Professional of the Year, Autism Society of America Award for Research Contributions, and the Autism Hero Award from Cure Autism Now. Dr. Dawson received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology with a minor in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington.
David S. Mandell, Sc.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Dr. David Mandell joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Dr. Mandell is a health services researcher and psychiatric epidemiologist who seeks to identify the best ways to organize, finance and deliver services to children with psychiatric and developmental disabilities.
He currently serves as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine. The goal of his current research is to improve care for children with autism and their families by developing successful interventions at the individual, provider and system levels to decrease the age at which children with autism are recognized and enter treatment, and to improve the services and supports available to them and their families.
Specific studies include an examination of the relationship between states’ policies and their delivery of health services to children with autism; the prevalence of undiagnosed autism among psychiatrically hospitalized adults; and, in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, the largest randomized trial to date of a behavioral intervention for children with autism.
Dr. Mandell co-chaired the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Autism Task Force from 2003 to 2006 and consults with the Department of Public Welfare to help them develop appropriate policies to meet the needs of families of children with autism. He also served as a member of the planning team for the Philadelphia Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Children’s Behavioral Health in 2007.
Dr. Mandell is the author of more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications, many of which examine correlates of unmet need among children with psychiatric and developmental disabilities and strategies for reducing disparities. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Columbia University and a Doctor of Science from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Lyn Redwood, R.N., M.S.N.
Parent, Co-Founder and Vice President, Coalition for SafeMinds and Co-Founder, National Autism Association
Ms. Lyn Redwood has served as a public member of the IACC since 2007. Ms. Redwood is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Coalition for SafeMinds and Co-Founder of the National Autism Association. She became interested in autism research and advocacy when he son was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder. In 2000, Ms. Redwood testified before the Government Reform Committee on “Mercury in medicine: Are we taking unnecessary risks?” and before a Congressional sub-committee on health in 2003.
She has published in the journals Neurotoxicology, Molecular Psychiatry, Expert Opinion in Pharmacotherapy, American Journal of Medical Genetics, Medical Hypotheses, Mothering Magazine, and Autism-Aspergers Digest.
She has appeared on high-profile national programs such as “Good Morning America,” the Montel Williams Show, and has been interviewed by U.S News and World Report, Wired Magazine, People and numerous other publications. She is prominently featured in the award-winning book by David Kirby Evidence of Harm.
Ms. Redwood served on the Department of Defense Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Program from 2007-2009 and was acknowledged for a decade of service by Spectrum Magazine as their Person of the Year in 2009.
Scott Michael Robertson, M.C.H.I.
Self Advocate and Co-Founder and Vice Chair of Development, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
Mr. Scott Michael Robertson joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Mr. Robertson co-founded the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) in 2006 and currently serves as ASAN’s Vice Chair of Development.
Mr. Robertson, an adult on the autism spectrum, is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in information sciences and technology at Penn State University’s University Park campus. His research pursuits in the fields of disability studies, human-computer interaction, and computer supported work/learning focus on understanding and improving the lives of people with neurological and developmental disabilities. He has authored several peer-reviewed academic journal articles and conference papers on this subject. Beyond his research, Mr. Robertson has actively served the cross-disability and autism communities as a mentor, teacher, advocate, public speaker, and writer.
Mr. Robertson serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Bureau of Autism Services, as the Graduate Student Representative to the Society for Disability Studies, as a member of the Board of Directors of ASCEND Group (The Asperger Syndrome Alliance for Greater Philadelphia), as a member of the Scientific and Educational Advisory Board of the Autism Higher Education Foundation, and as a co-investigator and a community representative of the Academic Autistic Spectrum Partnership In Research and Education (AASPIRE).
Mr. Robertson has delivered numerous presentations on autism and other disabilities at conferences, schools, and associations throughout the U.S., including 12 keynote addresses. He has also previously taught and mentored adolescents and young adults with neurological and developmental disabilities, including youth on the autism spectrum. Mr. Robertson holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master’s degree in human-computer interaction from Carnegie Mellon University.
John Elder Robison
Self Advocate, Parent and Author
Mr. John Elder Robison joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Mr. Robison is an Aspergian who grew up in the 1960s before the Asperger diagnosis came into common use.
At age sixteen, Mr. Robison left high school to join his first band as a sound engineer. Within a few years he was building equipment for Pink Floyd’s sound company, touring the hockey rinks of Canada with April Wine, and creating the signature special effects guitars for the rock band, KISS. John went on to design sound effects and other circuits for some of the most popular electronic games and toys of the era before moving into more conventional engineering management.
In the late 1980s, John left electronics for a new career – cars. His company, J E Robison Service, grew to be one of the largest independent restoration and service specialists for BMW, Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, and Rolls Royce cars. Mr. Robison is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
John has served as a panel member for the Institute for Autism Research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Autism Speaks. Mr. Robison is involved in TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) autism research at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and serves on the advisory board for Mass General Hospital’s YouthCare program.
Mr. Robison speaks publicly about his experience as a person on the autism spectrum, and is the author of popular books about living life with autism, Look Me in the Eye, My Life with Asperger’s, and Be Different, Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian.
Alison Tepper Singer, M.B.A.
Parent/Family Member and Founder and President, Autism Science Foundation
Ms. Alison Singer has served as a public member on the committee since 2007 Ms. ASinger is Founder and President of the Autism Science Foundation, a not-for-profit organization launched in April 2009 to support autism research.
The Autism Science Foundation supports autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. Ms. Singer is the mother of a child with autism and legal guardian of her adult brother with autism. From 2005-2009 she served as Executive Vice President and a Member of the Board of Directors at Autism Speaks.
Ms. Singer also currently serves on the Executive Board of the Yale Child Study Center Associates Committee, on the external advisory board of the Autism Baby Siblings Research Consortium, on the external advisory board of the CDC’s Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, and as a member of the program committee for the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR).
Ms. Singer graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in Economics and has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
More With IACC
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.