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Public Health and Autism Science advancing Equitable Strategies across the life course (PHASES)

logos with text that says 2022 Autism Center of Excellence (ACE)

What is the Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) program?

The ACE program supports large-scale studies to better understand diagnosis, causes of, and interventions for autism. The National Institutes of Health first awarded ACE grants in 2007, and holds a new competition every five years.

Who are the recipients?

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a total of $100 million over the next five years to support nine Autism Centers of Excellence (ACEs), including Drexel University's A. J. Drexel Autism Institute. Research funded by this program will be led by Diana Robins, PhD, director of the Autism Institute, and Diana Schendel, PhD, professor and leader of the Modifiable Factors in Autism Epidemiology research program in the Autism Institute.

Learn more about the researchers.

Diana Robins, PhD

Diana Schendel, PhD

What is the main focus of the research?

The researchers are leading a project titled "Public Health and Autism Science advancing Equitable Strategies across the life course" (PHASES). PHASES employs a public health research framework to examine health determinants, health services delivery and health inequity- especially in under-represented diverse populations - and the impact of these forces on autistic people's health outcomes. The researchers are studying these issues in people on the autism spectrum during three key stages of the life course: early detection and diagnosis in toddlers, led by Robins; patterns of co-occurring health conditions and health services use in adolescence and young adulthood, led by Schendel; and mental and physical health in older adulthood, led by Lindsay Shea, DrPH, leader of the Policy, Analytics and Community research program in the Autism Institute.

Phases graphic

"This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of A.J. Drexel Autism Institute as the nation's first autism spectrum disorder research center to apply a public health lens toward understanding the causes of autism and its associated challenges, and then developing more effective treatments, resources, and strategies for welcoming autistic people into society and ensuring that they have the resources and supports to live their lives with dignity and purpose. I can think of no greater validation or accelerant of the Autism lnstitute's pioneering research than to receive this major award from the National Institutes of Health." Drexel University President John Fry

Want to learn more?

Read the Press Release

NIH'S ACE Program