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IACC Full Committee Meeting Speaker/Discussant Biographies - January 29, 2013

Amira Adawe

Amira Adawe is a Health Educator with Ramsey County Public Health, a Public Health Researcher and a Community Health Advocate. She is a Community Leadership Liaison with the Somali Autism Surveillance Project at University of Minnesota. She is a founding member of SoLaHmo – a community based research organization based at Westside Clinic in St Paul that conducts health related research within the Somali, Latino and Hmong immigrant communities. Amira has a strong interest in community-based participatory research, especially in the area of women and children’s health. She is currently a community investigator for the Somali women cervical cancer pilot project through Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations (MC3). Amira is founding member of the Somali Health Coalition-which aims to improve the health outcome of Somali community.

Deborah Fein

Deborah Fein is a clinical neuropsychologist who has been doing autism research for 35 years, at Boston University School of Medicine and at the University of Connecticut. She is currently Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Pediatrics at the University of Connecticut. She has investigated numerous areas in autism, including biochemical abnormalities, brain waves, language and memory, cognitive skills, sensory abnormalities, outcome, early detection and screening, and theoretical issues concerning diagnosis. She has published many articles and chapters, mostly on autism, and she is the co-author of a book for teachers, "Autism in Your Classroom" as well as the widely used screening tool, "Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers". She recently edited "The Neuropsychology of Autism" for Oxford Press. She served on the Board of Directors of the American Association for Clinical Neuropsychology, was Secretary of the International Society for Autism Research and is currently on the Science Advisory Board of Autism Speaks, and Associate Editor of the APA journal Neuropsychology.

Amy Hewitt, Ph.D.

Dr. Hewitt has an extensive background and work history in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and has worked in various positions over the past 30 years to improve community inclusion and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and their families. She is the Director of the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration and the Associate Director for the MN LEND. She directs several federal and state research, evaluation and demonstration projects in the area of community services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. She currently has research projects that focus on community living, autism surveillance, direct support workforce development, person centered planning and positive behavior support.

Anjali Jain, M.D.

Anjali Jain, M.D. is a senior researcher and managing consultant at The Lewin Group in Falls Church, Virginia, a health and human services research and policy group. She is also the Medical Director for the Study of Health Outcomes in Children with Autism and Their Families funded by NIMH. In the areas of autism and developmental disabilities, Dr. Jain has served as the Director of Advocacy for the LEND program at Children’s National Medical Center as well as authored narrative articles related to the care and health care of her daughter with developmental disabilities. Prior to her work at Lewin, Dr. Jain was an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics and Health Policy at Children’s National Medical Center and The George Washington University. Her 15 years of clinical experience is primarily among underserved children and families.

In addition to autism, Dr. Jain’s research has focused on children’s health and public health, particularly obesity prevention and policy and other preventable conditions among low-income and minority families and, more recently, sickle cell disease. She has published extensively in the peer-reviewed medical and health policy literature, using both quantitative and qualitative methods as well as narrative approaches. In addition to conducting research and clinical care, Anjali teaches courses and workshops on medical writing and narrative and medical publishing. She is currently an Associate Editor at the journal Academic Pediatrics, where she was a co-founder of a narrative section called "In the Moment." She is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a member of the International Society for Autism Research and a Fellow of The Obesity Society and has served as the Chair of the Healthcare Subcommittee for the Maryland Childhood Obesity Committee.

Previously, Dr. Jain worked as a physician editor for the British Medical Journal Publishing Group in London, UK. Anjali received a B.S. with honors in Chemical Engineering and her M.D. from the University of Virginia. She was a resident and Chief Resident in Pediatrics at the University of Chicago and went on to be a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale University and then an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago.

Craig J. Newschaffer, Ph.D.

Craig Newschaffer is founding director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University and a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Drexel University School of Public Health. The mission of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute is to apply the public health sciences to questions whose answers can improve the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families. Dr. Newschaffer is an epidemiologist whose main research focus is the discovery of modifiable autism risk factors. He is principal investigator of an NIH Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) research network that implements the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) - a large cohort study designed specifically to study pre, peri- and neonatal autism risk factors and biomarkers by following mothers of children with autism at the start of subsequent pregnancies. Dr. Newschaffer has also been a site PI on several other major autism epidemiology initiatives, including both the ADDM Network and SEED Study, and currently leads a project exploring innovative approaches to autism case confirmation for the National Children’s Study (NCS). He is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and serves as an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Epidemiology and on the editorial boards of Autism Research and the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, M.D.

Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, M.D., is a Medical Epidemiologist and Chief of the Developmental Disabilities Branch. Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp joined CDC in 1981 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer and completed a Preventive Medicine Residency in 1984. Since coming to CDC, she designed and implemented the first U.S. population-based study of developmental disabilities in school-age children, which laid the foundation for the current methods employed by the ADDM network.

Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp received her M.D. from Emory University and is board-certified in Pediatrics and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. She has served as the CDC liaison to the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Children with Disabilities and has published extensively on the epidemiology of developmental disabilities. She maintains her clinical experience as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine and is the medical director of the Clayton Early Intervention Program in metropolitan Atlanta.



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