The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the appointment of 20 new and two returning public members to serve on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) from 2021–2024.
The IACC is a federal advisory committee composed of public stakeholders and federal officials that coordinates federal activities concerning autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and provides advice to the HHS Secretary on issues related to advancing research, enhancing services and increasing opportunities for people on the autism spectrum.
Public members appointed to the committee include autism self-advocates, parents and family members of children and adults on the autism spectrum, clinicians, researchers and leaders of autism research, services and advocacy organizations.
Three SFARI Investigators and the deputy director of Clinical Research Associates, LLC (an affiliate of the Simons Foundation) were are among the newly appointed public members. They are:
Joseph Piven is the Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. He is also the director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities and the UNC Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center.
Piven is a child/adolescent psychiatrist specializing in the clinical care of individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. His research is focused on the pathogenesis of autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders, conducting family behavioral, molecular-genetic and neuroimaging studies. Recent findings from his studies have demonstrated the ability of brain imaging to provide pre-symptomatic, predictive markers of autism in infancy.
Matthew Siegel is vice president of medical affairs for the Developmental Disorders Service Line at Maine Behavioral Healthcare, faculty scientist at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute and associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine.
Siegel is director of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Inpatient Research Collaborative (ADDIRC) and principal investigator of the Autism Inpatient Collection. He is nationally recognized for building systems of care and research focused on the treatment of serious challenging behaviors in youth with autism and related disorders.
Helen Tager-Flusberg is professor of psychological and brain sciences and director of the Center for Autism Research Excellence at Boston University.
Tager-Flusberg has devoted her career to conducting research on autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders exploring variability in phenotypic expression, investigating developmental and intervention-based changes in language and social cognition using behavioral and brain imaging methodologies, and developing new measures to assess language across the full range of the autism spectrum. She is a former president of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR, 2011–2013) and received the INSAR Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 for her contributions to autism research.
Paul Wang is deputy director of Clinical Research Associates, LLC, an affiliate of the Simons Foundation. He is also associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine.
Wang is a developmental behavioral pediatrician. His professional experience spans academia, industry, advocacy and non-profit science funding. He served as senior vice president at Autism Speaks before joining Clinical Research Associates in 2016. As deputy director of clinical research there, his work broadly spans clinical and translational research on autism, with a particular focus on clinical trial design issues and the development of biomarkers and outcome measures for clinical trials.
The committee also includes 23 new and returning federal officials representing key federal agencies and departments that serve the ASD community across a wide variety of areas, including biomedical research, healthcare, education and social services.
The first meeting of the new committee will take place virtually on July 21–22, 2021, and will be open to the public via webcast.
A complete list of all public and federal members on the IACC can be found here.