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A.J. Drexel Autism Institute Events

2019 Autism & Public Health Lecture

The Epidemiology of Autism: Investigating Perinatal Risk Factors

The signature event of the Autism Institute is the annual Autism & Public Health Lecture, a speaker series that brings top researchers to Philadelphia to talk about the latest in public health research on autism. Lectures are always open to the wider community and offer researchers the opportunity to engage with a general audience on the implications of their research.

Dr. Lisa Croen

Dr. Lisa Croen
Director, Autism Research Program
Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Wednesday, March 27, 2019, 9 am - 11 am
Continental Breakfast provided 8:30 am – 9:00 AM
Behrakis Grand Hall, Drexel University
3210 Chestnut Street

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Although the initial manifestations of autism spectrum disorders typically do not appear until several months or years after a child is born, the results of research studies conducted over the past 50 years provide overwhelming evidence that factors operating around the time of pregnancy and birth are at play. Epidemiologic studies have played a crucial role in the identification of perinatal risk factors for autism, and in directing basic science studies focused on elucidating underlying biologic mechanisms. In this talk, the process by which epidemiologists go about studying perinatal risk factors for autism spectrum disorders will be described. Findings from recent studies investigating environmental exposures, genetic factors, and their interplay, will illustrate different approaches and study designs. Studies utilizing biospecimens collected from expectant mothers and their newborns and investigating the role of immune system function in autism will be highlighted.

Lisa Croen, PhD, is a senior research scientist at the Division of Research (DOR), Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC), and the director of the Kaiser Permanente Autism Research Program. Her research interests include the epidemiology of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, environmental exposures and gene/environment interaction, and the delivery of health services to individuals with ASD across the life span. Currently, Dr. Croen is the Co-Principal investigator at Kaiser Permanente of the NIH-funded ECHO study, principal investigator of several NIH-funded studies including Early Markers for Autism study (EMA) and Immune and Metabolic markers during Pregnancy and Child Neurodevelopment (IMPaCT), and site principal investigator on several large federally funded autism studies including the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED), the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI), the Autism Centers of Excellence ACTION Network, and the ECHO ASD-ER study. In collaboration with clinical colleagues, she is conducting mixed methods studies to evaluate autism treatments at KPNC, the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare among KPNC patients with autism, barriers and facilitators of healthcare service use among Latino families affected by autism, and the health status and healthcare utilization of adults with autism. Dr. Croen received her master's degree in public health and her doctorate in epidemiology, both from the University of California, Berkeley.