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News Update

Friday, April 30, 2010

HHS Secretary Sebelius Appoints Five New Members to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) is announcing the addition of five new public members appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. The new members will bring additional points of view and expertise to the IACC, a federal advisory committee created to accelerate progress in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research and services. The appointees represent several major ASD research and advocacy groups including Autism Speaks, the Simons Foundation, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) and the University of California, Davis Medical Investigation of Neurological Disorders (MIND) Institute.

"By adding new voices to the IACC and expanding the number of organizations represented on the committee, we hope to broaden our perspectives and increase coordination efforts," said Dr. Thomas Insel, IACC Chairman and director of the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

New Members of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee:

Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D.
Chief Science Officer, Autism Speaks

Dr. Dawson is the Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks, working with the scientific community and stakeholders to shape and expand the foundation's scientific vision. She also is a licensed clinical psychologist with a research focus on early detection and intervention, early patterns of brain dysfunction and the identification of biological markers for autism genetic studies. Dr. Dawson also serves as 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.

Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D.
Scientific Director, Simons Foundation

Dr. Fischbach is the Scientific Director for the Simons Foundation, where he oversees the Autism Research Initiative. He has spent his career as a neuroscientist studying the formation and maintenance of synapses, the junctions between nerve cells which allow signals to be transmitted. Before joining the Simons Foundation, Dr. Fischbach served as the Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) from 1998 to 2001 and as the Executive Vice President of Columbia University Medical Center and Dean of the faculties of medicine from 2001 to 2006.

Ari Ne'eman
Founding President of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)

Mr. Ari Ne'eman is the Founding President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, where he works to increase the representation of autistic people in public policy discussions. He is an adult on the autism spectrum and a leading advocate in the neurodiversity movement. Mr. Ne'eman has served on the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force and the New Jersey Special Education Review Commission, where he authored a minority report advocating legislative action against the use of aversives, restraint and seclusion. He is a board member of TASH, an advocacy group for people with disabilities, and is involved with the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education.

Denise D. Resnik
Co-founder of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center; President of Denise Resnik & Associates

Denise Resnik is the co-founder and Board Development Chair of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). She is the mother of an 18-year-old son with autism. Ms. Resnik serves on the Autism Speaks Family Services Committee and Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) Steering Committee. She participated in the 2006 NIMH Autism Matrix Review and the IACC Scientific Workshops to develop the IACC Strategic Plan and subsequent updates.

Marjorie Solomon, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of California, Davis

Dr. Marjorie Solomon is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, Davis. She serves on the faculty of the Medical Investigation of Neurological Disorders (MIND) Institute and the Autism Research Training Program, where she conducts research on a social skills training intervention for high-functioning children with ASD, incorporating parents and siblings in the research. In addition to her clinical research work, Dr. Solomon studies cognition and learning in high-functioning individuals with ASD.

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The IACC is a Federal advisory committee that was created by Congress in an effort to accelerate progress in ASD research and services. The IACC works to improve coordination and communication across the Federal government and work in partnership with the autism community. The Committee is composed of officials from many different Federal agencies involved in autism research and services, as well as people with ASD, parents, advocates, and other members of the autism community. The documents and recommendations produced by the IACC reflect the views of the Committee as an independent advisory body and the expertise of the members of the Committee, but do not represent the views, official statements, policies or positions of the Federal government.  For more information on the IACC, please visit: www.iacc.hhs.gov.

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