IACC Biographies  
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee logo



Main content area.

Biographies

Federal Members



Bruce Cuthbert, Ph.D.

Acting Director, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Bruce Cuthbert joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2015 and serves as Chair of the IACC and Acting Director for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Prior to this appointment as Acting Director, Dr. Cuthbert served as Acting Deputy Director, NIMH and led the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative, aimed at developing a multidimensional approach to studying and understanding mental disorders using behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms. Dr. Cuthbert also served as the NIMH Director of the Division of Adult Translational Research from 2009 to 2014 until devoting his efforts full time to the RDoC effort. A former Extramural Program staff member at NIMH from 1998 to 2005, Dr. Cuthbert served as Chief of the Emotion Process Program, Acting Chief of the Biobehavioral Regulation Program, and Chief of the Adult Psychopathology and Prevention Research Branch. He left NIMH in 2005 to join the University of Minnesota as a professor of Clinical Psychology, returning to NIMH in 2009 to take on the coordination of RDoC. Dr. Cuthbert received both his BA with honors and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, in Psychology and Clinical Psychology, respectively. In addition to NIMH and the University of Minnesota, he has worked in the U.S. Army Medical Services Corps, the University of Florida, and the University of Giessen and the University of Tubingen in Germany. Known for his research on the psychophysiology of emotion, and translational research on the psychopathology of anxiety disorders, Dr. Cuthbert has remained active in the field, serving as associate editor for Biological Psychiatry and Current Opinion in Psychiatry, and publishing over 100 articles, book chapters or reviews, and several computer software applications.


Return to top of page


James F. Battey, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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. 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 Bachelor of Science degree with honors in physics at the California Institute of Technology. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in Biophysics from Stanford University, where he also received residency training in Pediatrics.


Return to top of page


Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., D.A.B.T., A.T.S.

Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Linda Birnbaum joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2009 and is Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) 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 NTP, then as a Principal Investigator and research microbiologist, and finally as a group leader for the Institute's Chemical Disposition Group. Dr. Birnbaum's 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. 

Return to top of page


Aaron Bishop, M.S.S.W.

Commissioner, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD), Administration for Community Living (ACL)

Aaron Bishop became a Federal member of the IACC in 2015. Commissioner Bishop leads the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) within the Administration for Community Living. Prior to the creation of AIDD, Mr. Bishop served for two years as the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD). Throughout his career, Mr. Bishop has advocated for the civil rights of persons with disabilities, both as a direct service provider in his home state of Wisconsin and as a policy advisor on Capitol Hill. As a professional staff member for the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Mr. Bishop was instrumental in the creation of the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, the Combating Autism Act of 2006 and the Traumatic Brain Injury Act. In addition, he led efforts for the inclusion of provisions to support communications access for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in the Higher Education Opportunity Act. In 2010, Mr. Bishop was appointed Executive Director of the National Council on Disability, advising the President, Congress, and other federal officials on policies, programs and practices affecting people with disabilities. Previously, Mr. Bishop has served as the Project Coordinator for the Waisman Center University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and as the Director of Technical Assistance for the National Service Inclusion Project for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mr. Bishop holds a Master of Science degree in Social Work, with an emphasis in public policy, and two Bachelor of Science degrees in Natural Sciences. A committed advocate for inclusion and diversity, Mr. Bishop looks forward to combining the resources and expertise of multiple sectors of the disability networks and self-advocacy communities for the benefit of all people with disabilities.


Return to top of page


Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Francis Collins 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. 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. 

Return to top of page


Ruth A. Etzel, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Dr. Ruth Etzel joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2015. She is Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Children's Health Protection (OCHP) and a senior advisor to the Administrator on children's health. Previously, Dr. Etzel was a Professor of Epidemiology at the Zilber School of Public Health at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. She received her M.D. from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and completed residencies in Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Dr. Etzel was selected for the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, and during her fellowship discovered that protection from environmental contaminants was integral to keeping children and their families healthy. She received her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. She was a pioneer in studying the health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke among infants; her work led to nationwide efforts to reduce indoor exposures to tobacco, including the ban on smoking in U.S. airliners. Dr. Etzel served in numerous public-sector leadership positions at agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Agriculture, and the Indian Health Service. She played a key role in informing the EPA’s agreement with U.S. paint companies to stop the addition of mercury compounds to interior latex paints to protect the health of children. Dr. Etzel served as the Senior Officer for Environmental Health Research at the World Health Organization from 2009 to 2012. She is the founding editor of the book Pediatric Environmental Health (a 3rd edition was published in 2012) that has helped to train thousands of doctors about how to recognize, diagnose, treat and prevent illness among children from hazards in the environment. She co-edited the Textbook of Children's Environmental Health, published in 2014. In addition to being board-certified in Pediatrics, Dr. Etzel is also board-certified in Preventive Medicine and served for 9 years on the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Dr. Etzel has received numerous awards, including the 2007 Children's Environmental Health Champion Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Distinguished Service Award from the U.S. Public Health Service, and the Arthur S. Flemming Award.


Return to top of page


Tiffany R. Farchione, M.D.

Deputy Director, Division of Psychiatry Products, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Dr. Tiffany Farchione joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2012. She 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. Prior to joining FDA in 2010, Dr. Farchione was affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and was on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh. As the Deputy Division Director in the Division of Psychiatry Products at FDA, Dr. Farchione is involved in the oversight of new drug review for all psychiatric drug development activities conducted under INDs, and the review of all NDAs and supplements for new psychiatric drug claims. 

Return to top of page


Melissa L. Harris

Acting Deputy Director, Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

Melissa Harris joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2015. Ms. Harris currently serves as the Acting Deputy Director of the Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group (DEHPG) at CMS. Prior to this, she led the Division of Benefits and Coverage (formerly the Division of Coverage and Integration), overseeing the implementation of the Medicaid state plan benefit structure. In this position she also provided policy and operational guidance on the Alternative Benefit Plan coverage authority for the Medicaid expansion population. Ms. Harris has also been a Technical Director for the Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Groups, Division of Coverage & Integration (DCI). In this role she, provided leadership to DCI on policy-setting for the following Medicaid topics: targeted case management, rehabilitative services, adult day health care, inpatient psychiatric services for individuals under age 21, home health, institutions of mental diseases, school-based services, hospice benefit, and private duty nursing. In addition to other responsibilities, she co-chaired a cross-cutting team within CMS to implement Affordable Care Act provision 2703 – State Plan Option to Provide Health Homes to Enrollees with Chronic Conditions. Ms. Harris has also previously served as a Health Insurance Specialist for the Disabled and Elderly Health Program Group. Ms. Harris has a Certified Public Accountant License and is a graduate of Salisbury State University.


Return to top of page


Elisabeth Kato, M.D., M.R.P.

Medical Officer, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Dr. Elisabeth Kato joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2015. She is a Medical Officer at the Center for Outcomes and Evidence in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, where she has worked with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on projects related to autism and with the Effective Health Care program that prioritizes and funds systematic evidence reviews. Previously, she was a Senior Medical Research Analyst with Hayes Inc. She received her Bachelor of Arts in political science/Asian studies and a Master of Regional Planning from Cornell University. After working in relief and development in Asia, she returned to the US to complete a medical degree at the University of Maryland.


Return to top of page


Laura Kavanagh, M.P.P.

Deputy Associate Administrator, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Laura Kavanagh has served on the IACC as a Federal member since 2011. She became Deputy Associate Administrator of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in April 2015. The mission of MCHB is to provide leadership, in partnership with key stakeholders, to improve the physical and mental health, safety and well-being of the maternal and child health population. Through its Title V program, MCHB serves 40 million women, infants, children, adolescents, and their families each year, including fathers and children with special health care needs. Prior to assuming her role as MCHB DAA, Laura served as the director of the Divisions of MCH Workforce Development and Research, Training and Education at MCHB. As Division Director, Ms. Kavanagh oversaw MCHB’s applied research, MCH workforce development, and Healthy Tomorrows programs. She was also the director of MCHB’s Autism Initiative, a cross-division program that includes research, training, state demonstration projects, and a national evaluation. 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 Section on Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics 2011 Dale Richmond/Justin Coleman Lectureship Award; National Public Health Leadership Institute Fellow (2008-2009); and American Public Health Association’s Maternal and Child Health Young Professional Award (1998).


Return to top of page


Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D.

Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Walter Koroshetz joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2009. He is Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). He directs the NINDS planning and budgeting, and oversees Institute scientific and administrative functions. Prior to his appointment as Director in July 2015 he served for eight years as Deputy Director at NINDS. 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 internal medicine and then neurology at MGH, after which he did post-doctoral studies in cellular neurophysiology at MGH and the Harvard neurobiology department. He joined the MGH neurology staff, first in the Huntington's disease unit and then in the stroke and neuro-intensive care service. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Koroshetz graduated from Georgetown University and received his medical degree from the University of Chicago.


Return to top of page


Cynthia Moore, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Dr. Cynthia Moore became a Federal member of the IACC in 2015. She is the director of the Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In this role, Dr. Moore oversees efforts to promote healthy birth and optimal development for all children. The Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities strives to prevent the occurrence or adverse consequences of birth defects and developmental disabilities through surveillance, research, and intervention programs. Her 24-year career at CDC has been in the area of birth defects and developmental disabilities epidemiology and activities have focused on better understanding genetic and environmental risk factors for these conditions, promoting preconception health, and increasing awareness of public health issues related to children with special healthcare needs. Dr. Moore completed her M.D. and pediatrics residency at the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences and her Ph.D. and clinical fellowship in medical genetics at Indiana University School of Medicine. She holds board certification in Pediatrics and Medical Genetics. Dr. Moore has authored or co-authored more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Public Health Service Special Recognition Award and the Arthur S. Flemming Award. In addition to her work at the CDC, Dr. Moore is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Human Genetics at Emory University School of Medicine and continues to practice clinical genetics on a part-time basis.


Return to top of page


Linda K. Smith

Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison, Early Childhood Development (ECD), Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

Linda Smith is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She joined the IACC as a federal member in 2012. In her role at ACF, she provides overall policy coordination for the Head Start and Early Head Start Program and the Child Care and Development Fund, as well as serving as the liaison with the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies. Her office serves as a focal point for early childhood policy at the federal level. Smith previously served as the executive director for the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) and was the driving force behind NACCRRA's national policy agenda to improve the quality of child care nationwide. Prior to joining NACCRRA, Smith served as a legislative fellow and professional staffer on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee under the Chairmanship of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Prior to this work, she was the director of the Office of Family Policy for the Secretary of Defense, where she was one of the primary architects of the military's child care program. Additionally, Linda Smith has held positions with both the United States Army and United States Air Force. Smith began her career in early childhood education on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in her native state of Montana. She is a graduate of the University of Montana. 

Return to top of page


Catherine Y. Spong, M.D.

Acting Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Catherine Spong, joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2015. Dr. Spong is the Acting Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). As Acting Director of NICHD, she oversees the Institute's research on pediatric health and development, maternal health, reproductive health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and rehabilitation medicine, among other areas. She serves as an ambassador and spokesperson for NICHD. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Spong served as the NICHD Deputy Director. She also was the inaugural NICHD Associate Director for Extramural Research and Director of the NICHD Division of Extramural Research. Prior to these positions, she served for more than a decade as Chief of NICHD’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch. Dr. Spong received her doctor of medicine degree from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, (UMKS) in 1991. After serving as Chief Resident in obstetrics and gynecology at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Dr. Spong began her career at the NICHD as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellow, including clinical work at Georgetown University. She then became a Clinical Associate and subsequently, Senior Staff Fellow in the intramural research program. Her research interests focus on maternal and child health, with an emphasis on prematurity, fetal complications and improving child outcomes. She is board certified in maternal-fetal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. She is a fellow of ACOG and a member of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, the Society for Neuroscience, and the Perinatal Research Society. She received the Surgeon General’s Certificate of Appreciation for her work on prematurity. She has published more than 270 peer-reviewed papers. Dr. Spong is a national expert on women’s health and pregnancy.


Return to top of page


Lawrence J. Wexler, Ed.D.

Director, Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education (ED)

Dr. Larry Wexler joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2015 having previously served as an alternate for four years for the Assistant Secretary. He is the Director of the Research to Practice Division in the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the U.S. Department of Education. The Research to Practice Division provides leadership and oversees the implementation of the IDEA discretionary grant programs to support seven grant programs: state personnel development; personnel preparation; technical assistance and dissemination; technology, media services and educational materials, parent-training and information centers; IDEA data; and the Promoting Readiness for Minors In Special Education. Dr. Wexler has been a special educator for forty five years having been a teacher of students with severe disabilities, program director, principal, state intellectual disabilities specialist, chief of staff to the State Director of Special Education, director of state monitoring, OSEP state contact, OSEP project officer, Deputy Director of the Monitoring and State Improvement Planning Division and Associate Division Director responsible for OSEP’s National Initiatives Team. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the School of International Service at American University, a Master’s degree in teaching with concentration in intellectual disabilities from Howard University and a Doctorate with concentration in severe disabilities from the Johns Hopkins University.


Return to top of page


Nicole M. Williams, Ph.D.

Program Manager, Autism Research Program, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)

Dr. Nicole Williams joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2015. Dr. Williams serves as a 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). Dr. Williams oversees the management of the ARP which has funded 124 research awards representing $59.4 million in appropriated funds since its inception in 2007. Dr. Williams holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Loyola University, Chicago.


Return to top of page

Public Members



David G. Amaral, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, University of California, Davis; Director of Research, UC Davis MIND Institute

Dr. David Amaral joined the IACC as a public member in 2015. Dr. Amaral joined the University of California, Davis in 1995 as a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Center for Neuroscience and is Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. In 1998, he was named Chair of the Beneto Foundation Chair and Founding Research Director of the UC Davis MIND (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute. Dr. Amaral received a joint Ph.D. in psychology and neurobiology from the University of Rochester and carried out postdoctoral work at Washington University in neuroanatomy. He spent 13 years at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies before moving to UC Davis. Dr. Amaral pursues research on the neurobiology of social behavior and the development, neuroanatomical organization, and plasticity of the brain, and the biological bases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). His autism research includes neuroanatomical and neuroimaging studies of neuroanatomy, brain function, and research into neuroimmune etiologies of ASD. As Research Director of the MIND Institute, he coordinates a comprehensive and multidisciplinary analysis of children with autism called the Autism Phenome Project designed to define biomedical characteristics of different types of autism. Most recently, Dr. Amaral has become Director of Autism BrainNet, a collaborative effort sponsored by the Simons Foundation, Autism Speaks, and the Autism Science Foundation to solicit post mortem brain tissue to facilitate autism research. In April of 2015, he became Editor-in-Chief of Autism Research, the official journal of the International Society for Autism Research.


Return to top of page


James Ball, Ed.D., B.C.B.A.-D.

President and CEO of JB Autism Consulting; 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 award winning book, "Early Intervention & Autism: Real-Life Questions, Real-Life Answers" was released in 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 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. 

Return to top of page


Samantha Crane, J.D.

Legal Director and Director of Public Policy, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)

Samantha Crane, J.D. joined the IACC as a public member in 2015. Ms. Crane is Director of Public Policy at ASAN’s national office and an autism self-advocate. She previously served as staff attorney at the Bazelon Center of Mental Health Law, focusing on enforcing the right to community integration as established by the Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C., and as an associate at the litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart, & Sullivan, L.L.P., where she focused on patent and securities litigation. From 2009 to 2010, Ms. Crane served as law clerk to the Honorable Judge William H. Yohn at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Ms. Crane holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College, with high honors, in Psychology. She graduated magna cum laude in June 2009 from Harvard Law School, where she was Senior Content Editor for the Journal of Law and Gender. During law school she interned at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she worked in the Disability Rights Section. She also interned at the American Bar Association’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability, the Disability Law Center of Massachusetts and Harvard Law School’s clinical programs in special education and in disability and estate planning.


Return to top of page


Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine; Director, Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development

Dr. Geraldine Dawson joined the IACC as a public member in 2010. She holds an appointment as a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Duke School of Medicine and is a faculty member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. She holds secondary appointments in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the university. Dr. Dawson also is Director of the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development, an interdisciplinary autism research and treatment center. She is the President of the International Society for Autism Research. Previously, Dr. Dawson was the Chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks, a science and advocacy organization. Before joining Autism Speaks, Dr. Dawson was Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington. There, she was Founding Director of the University of Washington Autism Center where she directed three consecutive NIH Autism Center of Excellence research awards on genetics, neuroimaging, early diagnosis, and treatment, and oversaw the University of Washington Autism Treatment Center, which provides interdisciplinary clinical services for individuals with autism from infancy through young adulthood. Dr. Dawson is a licensed clinical psychologist who has published extensively on autism spectrum disorders, focusing on early detection and intervention and early brain development. Dr. Dawson worked in collaboration with Dr. Sally Rogers to develop and empirically-validate the Early Start Denver Model, a comprehensive early intervention program for toddlers and preschool age children with autism. Dr. Dawson received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology with a minor in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Los Angeles.


Return to top of page


Amy Goodman, M.A.

Director and Self-Advocate, Autism NOW Center

Ms. Amy Goodman joined the IACC as a public member in 2015. After holding prominent positions with the West Virginia Autism Society and Partners and Policy Making, Ms. Goodman is currently the Director of The Arc’s Autism NOW Resource and Information Center. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in her 30s and decided to enroll in graduate school at Marshall University in West Virginia to pursue a master’s degree in special education, with an emphasis in Autism. While earning her master’s degree, she participated in the College Program for students with Asperger’s syndrome at the Autism Training Center (ATC) at Marshall University. Ms. Goodman brings a unique combination of personal experiences, education, and employment history to her work to help people with disabilities.


Return to top of page


Shannon Haworth, M.A.

Public Health Program Manager, Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)

Ms. Shannon Haworth joined the IACC as a public member in 2015. Shannon Haworth is the Public Health Program Manager for the Public Health team at AUCD. Working under the supervision of the Director of Public Health she implements capacity development activities and technical assistance for the AUCD network, under a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) & National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). She previously worked as the Senior Program Specialist on the HRSA-funded Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) team at AUCD. Prior to AUCD she worked for the Partnership for People with Disabilities as the Project Manager for ASD Early STEP, the Virginia state autism implementation grant awarded by the HRSA Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCHB). She is a former Virginia LEND trainee, former Interdisciplinary Clinic Coordinator, and faculty member for the LEND program and at Virginia Commonwealth University. In these various positions, Ms. Haworth has worked in the area of cultural competency and health disparities. She has presented research on barriers to autism diagnosis in African American children at national conferences and co-authored a chapter on ASD in the Handbook of Health in African American youth. Ms. Haworth has a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and a graduate certificate in Autism from Ball State University. She has also earned a Post Baccalaureate Graduate Certificate in Disability Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is currently a doctoral candidate (DrPH) studying Public Health at Walden University. She also is a certified Early Intervention Specialist for the state of Virginia. Ms. Haworth’s most important role is that of a dedicated mother of a young child with autism and other co-morbid mental health conditions. She is an advocate for children with disabilities and their families, and has a passion for helping children with autism and other disabilities to achieve their highest potential. Shannon is a published author on autism and parents’ experiences with receiving an autism diagnosis for their children, as well as autism, mental health and dual diagnosis for minority children.


Return to top of page


David S. Mandell, Sc.D.

Director, Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research; Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

David S. Mandell, ScD, joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. He is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, where he directs the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research. He also is Associate Director of the Center for Autism Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The goal of his research is to improve the quality of care individuals with autism receive in their communities. This research is of two types. The first examines the effects of different state and federal strategies to organize, finance and deliver services on service use patterns and outcomes. The second consists of experimental studies designed to determine the best ways to successfully implement proven-efficacious practices in community settings. Dr. Mandell is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He co-chaired the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Autism Task Force from 2003 to 2006 and consults with Philadelphia agencies to help them develop appropriate policies to meet the needs of people with autism. Dr. Mandell holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from Columbia University and a doctorate of science from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. 

Return to top of page


Brian Parnell, M.S.W., C.S.W.

Medicaid Autism Waiver & Community Supports Waiver Administrator, Division of Services for People with Disabilities, Utah Department of Human Services

Mr. Parnell joined the IACC as a public member in 2015. He has led a distinguished career in child welfare and disabilities services and as an administrator of public and nonprofit agencies, having supervised and managed social service programs for more than 20 years. His extensive experience includes work on child welfare in the state of California, including two years on a county Behavioral Health Board. In 2012, Mr. Parnell moved to Utah and became an administrator in the Utah Division of Services for People with Disabilities, Department of Human Services and helped develop Utah’s Medicaid Autism Waiver. The Autism Waiver was launched as a pilot program, and was so successful that it was approved by the Utah Legislature as an ongoing program. Mr. Parnell is married and has seven children, three of whom are on the autism spectrum.


Return to top of page


Kevin Pelphrey, Ph.D.

Harris Professor, Yale Child Study Center; Professor of Psychology, Yale University; Director, Yale Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience

Dr. Kevin Pelphrey joined the IACC as a public member in 2015. Dr. Pelphrey is the Harris Professor in the Child Study Center and Professor of Psychology at Yale University and Director of the Yale Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience. He completed his doctoral studies in Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He then undertook postdoctoral training in Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University. Dr. Pelphrey's research addresses fundamental questions regarding the typical and atypical development of brain mechanisms for social cognition in children with and without autism spectrum disorders. This work employs multiple methods including functional and structural and functional imaging and genomics. Dr. Pelphrey is also the Principal Investigator for an NIH-funded multisite Autism Center for Excellence, “Multimodal Developmental Neurogenetics of Females with ASD” network that spans Yale, Boston Children’s/Harvard, UCLA, UCSF, University of Southern California, and the University of Washington. Dr. Pelphrey has received a Scientist Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health, a John Merck Scholars Award for his work on the biology of developmental disorders, and the American Psychological Association's Boyd McCandless Award for distinguished early career theoretical contributions to Developmental Psychology. He is the father of two children on the autism spectrum.


Return to top of page


Edlyn Peña, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Director of Doctoral Studies, California Lutheran University

Dr. Edlyn Peña joined the IACC as a public member in 2015. Dr. Peña earned her Ph.D. in Education with a concentration in Higher Education in 2007 from the University of Southern California (USC). After teaching graduate level courses at USC for several years, Dr. Peña joined the California Lutheran University (CLU) faculty in 2009. As an Assistant Professor in Higher Education Leadership at CLU, Dr. Peña teaches a number of research methods and content courses in the area of higher education. Her own research focuses on social justice issues for ethnic/racial minorities and students with autism and other developmental disabilities in higher education. Among her many publications, Dr. Peña has published two peer reviewed articles, a book chapter, and a book review about autism and disability and has presented her work at national and international research conferences. She also chairs dissertations for Doctor of Education students at California Lutheran. Dr. Peña is a highly active member of the autism and disability community. She is the mother of a son on the autism spectrum.


Return to top of page


Louis Reichardt, Ph.D.

Director, Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)

Dr. Louis Reichardt joined the IACC as a public member in 2015. He joined the Simons Foundation to lead SFARI in July, 2013. Prior to this, he was the Jack D. and DeLoris Lange endowed chair in cell physiology and Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, where he directed its neuroscience graduate program (1988-2013) and Herbert W. Boyer Program in Biological Sciences (1998-2013). A Fulbright scholar with an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. In Biochemistry from Stanford University, Reichardt was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and a Howard Hughes investigator for more than 20 years. The recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship in 1985, he is a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was one of three founding editors of the journal Neuron, is currently a senior editor of the Journal of Cell Biology as well as serving on the editorial boards of several other journals as well as the scientific advisory boards of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis Foundation and the Myelin Repair Foundation. Past science-related service includes chairmanship of five Gordon Research Conferences in cell, developmental and neurobiology and scientific directorship of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks Special Neuroscience Research Program. Reichardt’s research has focused on neurotrophins, a family of proteins that play a key role in neuron survival, development and function and the functions of several families of cell adhesion receptors, including integrins and cadherins, on brain development and function. He has made major contributions to the study of intracellular signaling pathways that mediate the effects of these proteins — including the Wnt pathway, which may play a role in autism spectrum disorders. Reichardt is also a noted mountaineer who climbed both Mount Everest and K2 by new routes 30 years ago, after which he served as President of the American Alpine Club. Reichardt has also served on the Board and is currently Treasurer of the American Himalayan Foundation, a non-profit foundation committed to supporting improvements in education, medical care, environmental protection and cultural preservation in Nepal, India and Tibet.


Return to top of page


Robert Ring, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert Ring joined the IACC as a public member in 2014. Dr. Ring served as the Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy foundation, from 2013-2016. A neuroscientist by training, Dr. Ring was responsible for shepherding the science mission of the foundation, and managed a diverse portfolio of research investments aimed at improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Prior to joining Autism Speaks, Dr. Ring headed the Autism Research Unit at Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development (Groton, CT), which represented one of the earliest dedicated research programs in large pharma focused exclusively on the discovery, development and commercialization of medicines for neurodevelopmental disorders. Prior to Pfizer, Dr. Ring worked for ten years at Wyeth Research (Princeton, NJ), distinguishing himself in leadership roles across different areas of research focused on development of medicines for brain disorders. Dr. Ring holds separate adjunct faculty appointments in the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (New York) and Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine (Philadelphia).


Return to top of page


John Elder Robison

Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William and Mary

Mr. John Elder Robison joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Mr. Robison is the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He is an autistic adult who is best known for working to increase public understanding of autism, and helping schools, businesses and government accommodate and accept people with autism. He is committed to diversity and is a strong advocate for autism science and research. He is dedicated to the goal of helping people with autism obtain an equal opportunity at success in work and social life. Mr. Robison is active on numerous ASD-related boards and committees in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. In addition to his service on the IACC, Mr. Robison has served on the steering committee for the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Autism Core Set project, and on organizing committees for the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), panels and committees for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and boards for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Mr. Robison's books Look Me in the Eye, Be Different, and Raising Cubby are some of the most widely read accounts of life with autism in the world. In addition to his work as an autism advocate and author, Mr. Robison has had a lifelong interest in cars. He is the founder of JE Robison Service of Springfield, Massachusetts, a business that restores Rolls-Royce, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes, and BMW automobiles. Earlier Mr. Robison worked as an engineer in music and electronics. In his youth he was the American engineer for Britannia Row Audio, the sound company formed by the musical group Pink Floyd; and was the creator of the signature illuminated, fire breathing, and rocket launching special effects guitars played by KISS.


Return to top of page


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 IACC since 2007. Ms. Singer 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 as Chair of the Associates Committee of the Seaver Autism Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and on the external advisory boards of the Yale Child Study Center, the Marcus Autism Center at Emory University, and the CDC's Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. She chairs the public relations committee for the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) and serves 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. 

Return to top of page


Julie Lounds Taylor, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Special Education, Vanderbilt University; Investigator, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Dr. Julie Lounds Taylor joined the IACC as a public member in 2015. Dr. Taylor is an assistant professor of Pediatrics and Special Education at Vanderbilt University and an Investigator at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, a Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDDRC). Her current research interests include factors that promote a positive transition to adulthood for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families, as well as the impact of having a sibling with an intellectual or developmental disability. She has published research on a variety of autism and disability services-related issues, including sex and gender differences, peer victimization, transition planning, secondary education and vocational training, employment, and daily life skills for people on the autism spectrum. Dr. Taylor earned her Ph.D. in developmental psychology at the University of Notre Dame and conducted her postdoctoral research at the Waisman Center, Lifespan Family Research Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Return to top of page

IACC Alternates

The following individuals serve as alternates for IACC federal members.



Josie Briggs, M.D. (for Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.)

Director, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCAAM), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Josie Briggs, an accomplished researcher and physician, is Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the leading Federal agency for research on integrative and complementary health practices. At NIH, in addition to leadership of NCCAM, she has served as Acting Director of the Division of Clinical Innovation in the newly established National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Dr. Briggs is also a member of the NIH Steering Committee, the most senior governing board at NIH. She also serves as a member of the NIH Scientific Management Review Board. Dr. Briggs received her A.B. in biology from Harvard-Radcliffe College and her M.D. from Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency training in internal medicine and nephrology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, where she was also Chief Resident in the Department of Internal Medicine and a fellow in clinical nephrology. She is a recipient of many awards and prizes, including the Volhard Prize of the German Society of Nephrology, the Alexander von Humboldt Scientific Exchange Award, and NIH Director's Awards for her role in the development of the Trans-NIH Type I Diabetes Strategic Plan, her leadership of the Trans-NIH Zebrafish Committee, and her direction of the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory. 

Return to top of page


Deborah (Daisy) Christensen, Ph.D. (for Cynthia Moore, M.D., Ph.D.)

Epidemiologist, Surveillance Team Lead, Developmental Disabilities Branch, National Center on Birth Defect and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Dr. Daisy Christensen is an Epidemiologist in the Developmental Disabilities Branch, Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the CDC. She currently is the Surveillance Team Lead where she leads the Early Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (Early ADDM) Network and the ADDM Cerebral Palsy Network and collaborates on studies of autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, and other child developmental disabilities. 

Return to top of page


Judith A. Cooper, Ph.D. (for James F. Battey, M.D., Ph.D.)

Deputy Director, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD); Director, Division of Scientific Programs, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Judith Cooper is currently Deputy Director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the NIH. In addition, she serves as Director, Division of Scientific Programs, within NIDCD, and finally, she has programmatic responsibilities for the areas of language, language impairments, and language in deaf individuals. Dr. Cooper's current responsibilities include overseeing and coordinating the activities of her division; advising within NIDCD and across the NIH regarding issues related to language and language disorders; participating in trans-NIH initiatives focused in language as well as autism; and, working with potential and funded researchers in language across the US and beyond, providing advice, direction, and encouragement related to research grant focus, development and preparation. She received her B.F.A. at Southern Methodist University in 1971 with a major in Speech-Language Pathology, her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology at Vanderbilt University in 1972, and her Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 1982 in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She was elected a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2006 and received the Honors of the Association in 2007.


Return to top of page


Jennifer Johnson, Ed.D. (for Commissioner Aaron Bishop)

Deputy Director, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD), Administration for Community Living (ACL)

Dr. Jennifer Johnson is Deputy Director of the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD). Dr. Johnson holds a doctorate in special education from the George Washington University (GW). She has worked at the Department of Health and Human Services for over a decade. She began her career with the federal government in AIDD when it was a part of the Administration for Children and Families. In her most recent position, she led the Office of Program Support for AIDD. Previously, Dr. Johnson worked in the private sector holding positions in organizations such as the Council for Exceptional Children, the National Clearinghouse for Professions in Special Education, the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and GW. Her work focused on a broad variety of disability issues, including early care and education, implementation of disability policy, the intersection of disability and diversity, and professional development for educators.


Return to top of page


Alice Kau, Ph.D. (for Catherine Spong, M.D.)

Health Scientist Administrator, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Alice Kau joined the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Branch as a Health Scientist Administrator in June 2003. Dr. Kau is responsible for the Branch’s Bio-behavioral Research Program with emphasis on autism research. She also serves as a key member of the autism and behavioral science research communities on behalf of the Branch and assists in formulating and planning activities of these programs. Dr. Kau received her doctorate in developmental psychology from Ohio State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical psychology at the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prior to coming to the NICHD, Dr. Kau was an assistant professor/of psychology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins University.


Return to top of page


Cindy Lawler, Ph.D. (for Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.)

Chief, Genes, Environment and Health Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Cindy Lawler is Chief of the Genes, Environment and Health Branch in the Division of Extramural Research and Training. She is the lead NIEHS representative for extramural autism activities and manages a number of extramural grants that address the contribution of the environment and gene-environment interaction in autism etiology. Dr. Lawler also has responsibility for the NIEHS extramural portfolio of epidemiologic research in Parkinson’s disease.

She received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology at Northeastern University and received postdoctoral training in the Brain and Development Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Prior to joining NIEHS, Lawler was a faculty member in the UNC-CH Department of Psychiatry and the Program in Toxicology and held an adjunct appointment in the Department of Biostatistics. She served as a Principal Investigator on an NIH-supported research grant in behavioral neuroscience, with an emphasis on dopamine receptor pharmacology and development of novel pharmacologic agents to treat diseases and disorders related to altered dopamine neurotransmission. 

Return to top of page


Shui-Lin (Stan) Niu, Ph.D. (for Nicole Williams, Ph.D.)

Science Officer, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)

Dr. Stan Niu is the Science Officer for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense, where he manages a broad portfolio of biomedical research programs including Autism Research Program, Bone Marrow Failure Research Program, Peer-reviewed Cancer Research Program, Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health. He is recently elected as the chair for the SBIR/STTR program. His current portfolio consists of 160 research awards with over $60 million dollars. Prior to coming to CDMRP in 2010, Dr. Niu worked as a Technology Transfer Specialist where he managed intellectual properties and as a Staff Scientist where he studied polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids and G protein coupled receptor function at NIH. He published 22 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Dr. Niu received a B.S in Organic Chemistry from Tongji University and a Ph.D in Biophysics from University of Hawaii.


Return to top of page


Laura Mamounas, Ph.D. (for Walter Koroshetz, M.D.)

Program Director, Neurogenetics Cluster, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Dr. Laura Mamounas joined the NINDS in 2001 and serves as a Program Director in the Neurogenetics Cluster at NINDS. She currently oversees research grant portfolios and programs in: i) neurotrophic factor signaling mechanisms; ii) molecular determinants of neurodevelopment; and iii) childhood neurodevelopmental disorders including Rett Syndrome, autism (genetic/molecular investigations and animal models), and Tourette Syndrome. Dr. Mamounas also manages the GENSAT contract and the NINDS Human Genetics (DNA & Cell Line) Repository. Dr. Mamounas received her Ph.D. in neurobiology from Stanford University and completed her postdoctoral training in the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prior to joining the NINDS, Dr. Mamounas conducted basic research at the Gerontology Research Center (National Institute on Aging), and then was a faculty member in the Department of Pathology (Division of Neuropathology) at Johns Hopkins where she directed an NIH-funded research program on neurotrophic factor mechanisms in neurodegeneration, repair & plasticity and brain aging.


Return to top of page


Shantel E. Meek, Ph.D. (for Deputy Assistant Secretary Linda K. Smith)

Policy Advisor, Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

Dr. Shantel Meek serves as a Policy Advisor for Early Childhood Development in the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In her role, Dr. Meek advises the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development on a wide array of research areas and policy issues, including parent and community engagement, promoting healthy child development, and supporting young children with disabilities. Prior to her work at HHS, Dr. Meek served as a Clinical Interventionist for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC). In this capacity, she worked one-on-one with children, performed educational consultation and inclusion support services, and trained parents and paraprofessionals on empirically supported techniques aimed at improving social, emotional, cognitive, motor and self-help skills in young children with ASD. Dr. Meek’s research activities are focused on the healthy social-emotional and cognitive development of young children in poverty and young children with developmental disabilities. Dr. Meek’s work related to the social development of children with ASD has been published in peer-reviewed journals. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. 

Return to top of page


Robyn Schulhof, M.A. (for Laura Kavanagh, M.P.P.)

Senior Public Health Analyst, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Robin Schulhof, M.A. is a Senior Public Health Analyst with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Ms. Schulhof has been working in public health for the past 16 years in a variety of capacities including policy, HIV/AIDS, and developmental disabilities. For the past seven years, she has been a senior project officer for the Leadership Education and Other Related Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program, funded under the current Autism CARES Act, managing funding to 19 programs. Ms. Schulhof also directs the cooperative agreement with the Interdisciplinary Technical Assistance Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) in order to ensure that MCHB-funded grantees and others have access to tools for autism service providers. As a member of the MCHB autism team, Ms. Schulhof supports implementation of the bureau’s CARES Act funded programs. Ms. Schulhof is a major advocate for families being part of federal training and research programs. 

Return to top of page





HHS Home | Contacting IACC | Accessibility | Privacy Policy | FOIA | Disclaimer | USA.gov | IACC Webmaster

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services • 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. • Washington, D.C. 20201