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Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D. of Autism Speaks appointed to NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee
Date:4/30/2010

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 30, 2010) Autism Speaks, the nation's leading autism science and advocacy organization, is pleased to announce the appointment of Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., its chief science officer, as a public member of the NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). Dr. Dawson was appointed to the IACC by Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. The IACC was established in accordance with the Combating Autism Act of 2006 to provide advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services regarding federal research activities related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), to facilitate the exchange of information on and coordination of autism spectrum disorder activities among federal agencies and organizations, and to increase public understanding of the federal government's' activities, programs, policies, and research by providing a public forum for discussions related to ASD research and services. It is chaired by Thomas Insel, M.D., director, National Institute of Mental Health.

"I am delighted that Secretary Sebelius has expanded the IACC to include more public members," said Dr. Insel. "As a coordinating committee, the IACC should be even more effective by including the perspectives of additional foundations and individuals supporting autism research and services."

"We are honored that Dr. Dawson has been given this well-earned opportunity to represent Autism Speaks and the entire autism community on the IACC, and to contribute her remarkable breadth of experience and knowledge to guiding federal activities related to autism," said Bob Wright. "The recent CDC prevalence study demonstrated that autism continues to grow as a public health crisis, and more than ever, the work of the IACC is critical to focus expanded resources and attention for the greatest impact."

"Working with the IACC is an extraordinary collaborative opportunity," said Dr. Dawson. "My hope is for the IACC to facilitate accelerated research so that causes will be discovered and effective treatments will be available to families that will make a real difference for persons with autism and their families."

Dr. Dawson, who has served as the scientific leader of Autism Speaks since January 2007, will support the work of the IACC as it explores critical concerns for those affected by ASD including, diagnosis, biology, risk factors, treatment, services and outcomes for the future. As Chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks, Dr. Dawson works with its Scientific Affairs Committee, Scientific Advisory Board, and the science staff to expand and communicate the organization's scientific vision and strategy, as well as oversees the work of the Autism Genome Resource Exchange, the world's largest database of autism genetic data, and the Autism Tissue Program which provides brain tissue to researchers around the world. Dr. Dawson oversees Autism Speaks annual research portfolio which funds more than $30 million in research on causes and treatment of autism annually.

Dr. Dawson is Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University. Dr. Dawson served on the Scientific Advisory Board for Cure Autism Now from 1996-2007. She is a former Director of the UW Autism Center of Excellence, National Institutes of Health Autism Centers of Excellence program (2007-2008), Founding Director, UW Autism Center, University of Washington (2000-2007), and from 2003 -2008, served as Director, UW Center of Excellence in Autism Research, National Institutes of Health STAART (Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment) Network. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology/Child Clinical Psychology, both from the University of Washington.

Dr. Dawson has been widely published in academic journals, including her most recent study, "Randomized, Controlled Trial of an Intervention or Toddlers With Autism: The Early Start Denver Model" which appeared in Pediatrics, November 30, 2009. Two of Dr. Dawson's articles in Archives of General Psychiatry presented evidence for autistic regression in about 25 percent of autism cases in the United States. Dr. Dawson has edited or authored several books about autism spectrum disorder which have been translated into multiple languages, including Early Start Denver Model for Young Children with Autism, Promoting Language, Learning, and Engagement, co-authored with Sally J. Rogers, PhD., as well as Autism: Nature, Diagnosis, and Treatment; Human Behavior, Learning, and the Developing Brain; and A Parent's Guide to Asperger's Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism. Dr. Dawson has testified twice on behalf of families of individuals with ASD at the US Senate and played a key role in the Washington State Autism Task Force.


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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

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