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IACC Full Committee Meeting Speaker/Discussant Biographies - July 9, 2013

James Perrin, M.D.

Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Director, Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy
Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Perrin is Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, former Director of the Division of General Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, and past Associate Chair of Pediatrics for Research at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He founded the MGH Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy, a multidisciplinary research and training center with an active fellowship program in general pediatrics, and directed the center for over 15 years. Dr. Perrin is President-Elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), former chair of the AAP Committee on Children with Disabilities, and Past President of the Ambulatory (Academic) Pediatric Association. For AAP, he also co-chaired a committee to develop practice guidelines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a group advising AAP on the implementation of the guidelines. Dr. Perrin's research has examined asthma, middle ear disease, children's hospitalization, health insurance, and childhood chronic illness and disabilities, with recent emphases on epidemiology of childhood chronic illness and organization of services for the care of children and adolescents with chronic health conditions. He heads the Clinical Coordinating Center (based at MGH) for the national Autism Treatment Network and the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health, a multisite collaborative aiming to improve evidence-based care for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Perrin also directed the Evidence Working Group reporting to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau for the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders and Genetic Diseases in Newborns and Children. He is also the Founding Editor of Academic Pediatrics (formerly Ambulatory Pediatrics), the journal of the Academic Pediatric Association.

Dr. Perrin has served on Institute of Medicine committees on maternal and child health under health care reform, quality of long-term care services in home and community-based settings, enhancing Federal health care quality programs, and disability in America; on the National Commission on Childhood Disability; and on the Disability Policy Panel of the National Academy of Social Insurance. His experience includes 2 years in Washington, DC, working on rural primary care development and migrant health. After completing a fellowship at the University of Rochester, Dr. Perrin developed and ran a rural community health center in farming communities between Rochester and Buffalo, NY.

He received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research and also served as a member of the National Advisory Council for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Perrin graduated from Harvard College and the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, completed his residency and fellowship training at the University of Rochester, and has served on the faculties of the University of Rochester and Vanderbilt University.

Timothy Buie, M.D.

Associate, Department of Pediatrics
Massachusetts General Hospital for Children

Dr. Buie completed his training in pediatric gastroenterology at the Yale University School of Medicine. He also serves as Director of Gastrointestinal and Nutritional Services at the Lurie Center for Autism at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children, where he has extensive experience in treating children with autism and associated conditions; he has been a physician since 1998. Dr. Buie has published a variety of papers and book chapters characterizing gastrointestinal (GI) problems in children with autism and developmental disorders, including clinical presentation and medical findings. Publications include primary authorship of two consensus papers evaluating GI and dietary treatments for autism in Pediatrics 2010 including clinical presentation of GI problems in autism, linkage of GI problems in autism to genetic factors, and findings of digestive and microflora abnormalities seen in children with autism. He was a founder and developer of the Autism Treatment Network (now managed by Autism Speaks), which is a multicenter program directed at evaluating medical problems and comorbidity in children with autism. Dr. Buie has been honored for his efforts in caring for children with autism and received the Professional of the Year by the Autism Society of America in 2010 and the Margaret Bauman Award for Autism Care.

Lee Wachtel, M.D.

Medical Director, Neurobehavioral Unit
Kennedy Krieger Institute

Dr. Wachtel received her undergraduate degree in 1993 in Romance languages and literatures from Princeton University, where she graduated summa cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She received her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, in 1998 and completed general and child and adolescent psychiatry training at the University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt Psychiatry Residency Training Program in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Wachtel joined the Kennedy Krieger Institute in 2003, where she serves as Medical Director of the Neurobehavioral Unit, specializing in the care of children, adolescents, and young adults with autism and intellectual disability who present with concomitant severe psychiatric and behavioral disturbance. She also is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Wachtel's clinical and research interests focus on pediatric catatonia, particularly in autism spectrum disorders, with emphasis on repetitive self-injurious behaviors and optimal catatonia treatment paradigms for these special populations. She is the author of more than two dozen scientific manuscripts and has lectured extensively throughout the United States and abroad.

Richard Frye, M.D., Ph.D.

Director of Autism Research
Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Dr. Frye is a pediatric neurologist with a broad background that includes specific training in neurodevelopmental disorders, physiology, psychology, and biostatistics. He has completed fellowships in behavioral neurology and psychology and has clinical expertise in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders. As Director of Autism Research at the Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute, Dr. Frye has developed an integrated program that includes a multispecialty clinic, a translational research program focusing on biomarkers and clinical trials, and a basic science program focusing on mitochondrial and redox metabolism.

Jill Escher, M.A., J.D.

Escher Fund for Autism

Ms. Escher is an autism science and programs philanthropist and the mother of three children, two of whom have autism. She is a Partner in Claradon Properties, LLC, which offers high-quality housing for adults with developmental disabilities, and is also Chair of the Autism Adult Housing and Lifespan Care Solutions Initiative, sponsored by the Autism Society of America, San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, Ms. Escher is an author and speaker on nutrition and is a former attorney. She holds a B.A. degree from Stanford University and M.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.

Alycia Halladay, Ph.D.

Senior Director, Environmental and Clinical Sciences
Autism Speaks

Dr. Halladay is Senior Director of Research for Clinical and Environmental Sciences at Autism Speaks (AS). Since 2005 she has managed the research portfolios and programs around environmental exposures and gene-environment interactions. This includes the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)-AS Environmental Epidemiology of Autism Research Network, the AS Environmental Factors in Autism Initiative, and the NIEHS Environmental Epigenetics Program. In addition to the environmental science portfolios, Dr. Halladay leads many of the high-risk projects, including the AS High-Risk Baby Siblings Autism Research Project and new Early Access to Care Initiative. She received her Ph.D. degree in psychology from Rutgers University and also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology and toxicology. Prior to joining Autism Speaks, Dr. Halladay was a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Rutgers University and holds an adjunct appointment there.

Portia Iversen

Parent and Advocate
Founder, Cure Autism Now Foundation

Ms. Iversen earned her B.F.A. degree at the University of Illinois in 1976, then went on to become an art director and writer for film and television; her entertainment career culminated with the winning of an Emmy Award in 1989. In 1995, soon after Ms. Iversen's son Dov was diagnosed with autism, she and her husband Jonathan Shestack cofounded the Cure Autism Now Foundation (CAN). The Foundation soon became a driving force in the growing the field of autism research and a leader in raising awareness about and funding for autism. Soon after founding CAN, they established the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange, an autism gene bank that was the first to provide open access to the entire scientific community and soon grew to become the world's largest. Ms. Iversen also established CAN's Scientific Review Council (SRC), an advisory council modeled after the National Institute of Mental Health's (NIMH) National Advisory Mental Health Council, whose members are made up of scientists and clinicians, most of whom are also parents of autistic children. The SRC is responsible for ensuring that research funded by CAN is relevant and reflects the urgency of those affected by the disorder. She also has served on a number of public and private research boards, including serving as an NIMH grant reviewer. Ms. Iversen has coauthored a number of research papers and has studied molecular biology and neuroscience. She continues to participate in workshops and attend conferences such as the International Meeting For Autism Research, which she founded 7 years ago. Recently, Ms. Iversen was a lecturer and participant at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's first autism workshop. She has received several community awards in recognition of her role as an advocate for the advancement of autism research and has given talks about autism throughout the world. Ms. Iversen's first book Strange Son (Riverhead Books) was published in 2007 and chronicles her experience with her son Dov, who has autism and is nonverbal, when he began to communicate for the first time at the age of 9 years. She founded The Descartes Institute that same year, an online community for families with nonverbal children with autism spectrum disorder that has more than 1,000 members.

Wendy Fournier

President and Founding Board Member
National Autism Association

Ms. Fournier is the mother of a 13-year-old daughter with autism. She is a founding board member and President of the National Autism Association (NAA). As part of its programs serving the autism community, NAA has developed extensive resources on autism-related wandering. Ms. Fourier has presented at conferences throughout the United States and in Canada. She has served on the Joint Commission to Study the Education of Children with Autism in the State of Rhode Island and as a consumer reviewer for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs for Autism Research through the U.S. Department of Defense.

Jeffrey Slowikowski

Associate Administrator, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
U.S. Department of Justice

Mr. Slowikowski is the Associate Administrator at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) within the U.S. Department of Justice.  He previously served as the Acting Administrator of OJJDP. He came to OJJDP in August 1990 through the Presidential Management Intern Program and became a Project Manager in the Research and Program Development Division. Since joining OJJDP, he has managed several projects, including the development of OJJDP's Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders project and Pulling America's Communities Together, Project PACT. In 1992, while on detail from OJJDP, Mr. Slowikowski worked for Senator Strom Thurmond on the U.S. Senate's Committee on the Judiciary.

He earned a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Baltimore in 1987 and a Graduate Certificate in Police Administration and master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore in 1990. Prior to joining OJJDP, he was a Graduate Fellow at the Schaefer Center for Public Policy in Baltimore, where he assisted in the development and preparation of research proposals to Federal, State, and local governments in the field of social science and public policy. Mr. Slowikowski served as an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Baltimore County Police Department for 4 years, where he worked in the Crime Analysis Unit and assisted staff in the development of the Police Department's local crime report and subsequent data submissions to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report.

Robert Lowery

Executive Director, Missing Children Division
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Mr. Lowery is Executive Director of the Missing Children Division of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). He is responsible for all operational aspects of the Missing Children Division, including case management, case management support, forensic services, special programs, and outreach.

Previously, Mr. Lowery served for more than 30 years in public service, including 27 years as a law enforcement officer. He served as Assistant Chief of Police for the City of Florissant Police Department, an internationally accredited agency located in the northern suburbs of the City of St. Louis, MO. Mr. Lowery also served in the Uniform Patrol Division, Tactical Operations/Hostage Rescue Team, Detective Division, Professional Standards Division, and Internal Inspections Division. The majority of his career was spent as a detective in the Crimes Against Persons Unit, where he directly supervised and investigated homicides, serious assaults, robberies, and sex crimes. Mr. Lowery also served as Commander of the Greater St. Louis Major Case Squad, one of the oldest and the largest multijurisdictional homicide task forces in the United States.

He was also a member of the Child Abduction Analysis Team for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime in Quantico, VA; served as an original member of the Board of Advisors for the "Team Adam" Program for NCMEC; and served on the selection committee for Team Adam consultants. Mr. Lowery is Past President of the International Homicide Investigators Association (IHIA) and continues to serve as a member of the IHIA Executive Board. He actively participated in organizing IHIA symposia in St. Louis, MO; at the FBI Academy at Quantico, VA; and at the National Crime Faculty in Bramshill, Hampshire, England, Houston, TX, and Las Vegas, NV. Mr. Lowery holds a B.A. degree (summa cum laude) and an M.S. degree from Lindenwood University in business and human resource management. He is a graduate of many advanced training schools on police management, including the FBI National Academy, Class 177. Mr. Lowery also served as an adjunct instructor in the Criminal Justice Department at Lindenwood University and guest-lectures at several other universities and training schools. He provides law enforcement training on basic and advanced homicide investigation, interview and interrogation, crime scene investigation, cold-case investigation, and multijurisdictional case management.

Shantel Meek, M.S.

Special Assistant for Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Ms. Meek is a Special Assistant for Early Childhood Development for the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development for Early Childhood Development, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Prior to her work at HHS, she served as a Clinical Interventionist for children on the autism spectrum and their families at the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center. In this capacity, Ms. Meek performed school consultations, implemented school-wide interventions, worked one on one with children, and trained parents on empirically supported techniques aimed at improving social, emotional, cognitive, and self-help skills for children on the autism spectrum. As a doctoral candidate in family and human development, she conducts research and publishes manuscripts related to the social and emotional development of children with autism. Ms. Meek holds a B.A. degree in psychology and an M.S. degree in family and human development from Arizona State University, where she will complete her Ph.D. degree in family and human development in fall 2013.



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