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Conference Speaker Spotlight

October 15, 2014

The following individuals are scheduled to present at Creating Integrated Healthcare for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder on November 8, 2014. For more information about the conference and to register, please click here.

Catherine Rice, PhD

Catherine Rice is a Behavioral Scientist and Developmental Psychologist with the Prevention Research Branch at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She works with the Learn the Signs-Act Early Team to improve the early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. She has worked with people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through teaching, diagnostic assessment; program planning, consultation, training, and research for over 20 years. Rice’s activities at the CDC include working with partners to track the rates and describe the population of children with an ASD in multiple areas of the United States through the Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. In addition to work on the prevalence of ASDs in the U.S. and internationally, she serves as a CDC liaison to the Services Research and Policy Subcommittee of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). Rice conducts training to professionals on the diagnosis and assessment of people with an ASD. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Emory University and her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Boston College. She was named the Autism Society of America Professional of the Year in 2008. Rice is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Georgia Psychological Association, the Society for Research in Child Development, and the International Society for Autism Research and is a licensed Psychologist in the state of Georgia.

James Connell, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D

Connell has his doctorate in school psychology, is a nationally certified school psychologist, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Connell’s former appointment was in the University of Pennsylvania’s (Penn) School of Medicine with a secondary appointment in The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Center for Autism Research (CAR). Prior to Penn, he was an assistant professor at Temple University. While his research interests are varied, one main theme has emerged over the years: Identifying the variables that influence adult behavior change in community settings. To this end, he has researched and extensively studied models of community-based consultation and their relative effectiveness on program implementation. He continues this theme with research projects focused on the widespread dissemination of evidence-based interventions in schools and community settings. Many autism support educational programs share core components in their curricular design while diverging on staff competency, training, and support. His goal is to add to the dissemination and implementation literature of efficacious programs for individuals diagnosed with autism by evaluating and reporting those core components and their relative effects on individual outcomes. Connell is now Associate Professor in the College of Education at Drexel University, and Research Fellow and Director of the Clinical Core in the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute.

Marcia Gardner, PhD, RN

Marcia R. Gardner is an Associate Professor in the Undergraduate Nursing Department at Seton Hall University, College of Nursing, where she teaches pediatric nursing, nursing research at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and a doctoral course on nursing theory. Her clinical background and passion is in neonatology and developmental pediatrics; her research focuses on the care of developmentally vulnerable infants and young children, and their parents, and issues related to preparation of faculty for clinical teaching. Co-editor of a nursing textbook on ASD with Ellen Giarelli, and co-author of a book on clinical teaching, Gardner has had grant funding from NAPNAP, the NLN, and the SPN, among others and has contributed numerous book chapters along with articles in Pediatric Nursing, Journal of Nursing Education, JOGNN, Nursing Clinics of North America, Holistic Nursing Practice, Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, Journal of Hispanic Health Care, Journal for Nurse Practitioners, among others.

Jennifer Harrison-Elder, PhD, RN

Jennifer Harrison-Elder is a Professor and the Associate Dean for Research at the University of Florida’s College of Nursing. Prior to that, she served as Chair of the Department of Healthcare Environments and Systems. She has taught across all levels of the curriculum since her initial appointment in 1992 and currently focuses on directing the PhD program, teaching research methods courses for PhD students and providing research experiences for undergraduate honors students. Elder has spent 32 years studying autism and related child neuropsychiatric disorders, methods of educating families, and reducing caregiver stress of children with autism. Elder has been the primary investigator on four NIH/NINR grants and Co-Investigator on three others. She has given numerous international research presentations including an invited presentation in New Delhi by India’s president. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and frequently reviews for NIH, American Nurses Foundation, and refereed journals both in and outside the field of nursing. Her teaching/mentoring has been recognized with a Howard Hughes Mentoring Institute Distinguished Mentor Award, two UF Superior Accomplishment Awards, and two UF Research Professorship Awards.

David S. Mandell, ScD

David S. Mandell 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 is Associate Director of the Center for Autism Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His research focuses on improving the quality of care individuals with autism receive in their communities and studying the best strategies to successfully implement proven-efficacious practices in community settings. Mandell is the author of more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific publications, many of which examine correlates of unmet need among children with psychiatric and developmental disabilities and strategies for reducing disparities. He co-chaired the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Autism Task Force from 2003 to 2006 and consults with the Department of Public Welfare to help them develop appropriate policies to meet the needs of families of children with autism. He currently serves as a member of the US Department of Health and Human Services Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Mandell holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from Columbia University and a doctorate of science from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Judith Miller, PhD

Judith Miller is Assistant Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and the Clinical Training Director for the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). She has been doing both clinical work and research with individuals with autism spectrum disorders for 20 years, and current directs a research assessment clinic and training program. Her research focuses on diagnostic issues, early identification, screening, and understanding co-occurring conditions and complex presentations. One of her current roles within CHOP is serving as the Planning Manager for the Autism Integration Committee, which focuses on increasing access to diagnostic evaluations and specialty care, helping primary care providers care for patients with ASD, and improving the hospital experience for children with ASD and their families.

Craig Newschaffer, PhD

Craig Newschaffer is founding director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University and a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Drexel University School of Public Health. Newschaffer is an epidemiologist whose main research focus is the discovery of modifiable autism risk factors. He is principal investigator of an NIH Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) research network that implements the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) - a large cohort study designed specifically to study pre, peri- and neonatal autism risk factors and biomarkers by following mothers of children with autism at the start of subsequent pregnancies. Newschaffer has also been a site PI for the ADDM Network and SEED Studies, and currently leads a project exploring innovative approaches to autism case confirmation for the National Children’s Study (NCS). He is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and serves as an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Epidemiology and on the editorial boards of Autism Research and the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Romy Nocera, PhD

Romy Nocera is a Research Assistant Professor and the Director of Clinical Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine. Nocera received a BS in psychology/psychobiology from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MA and PhD in psychology/experimental psychology from Bowling Green State University. She also completed two Postdoctoral Fellowships in Neuroscience, at BGSU and Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR). Her research has focused on Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and head trauma. Prior to her appointment at Drexel University College of Medicine, Nocera held positions at LIMR and Temple University College of Medicine. She also directs the Emergency Medicine Resident Research Program, serves as a guest lecturer, and participates in the annual Translational Medicine Research Course, and is a continuing member of the Society for Neuroscience.

Beth Pfeiffer, PhD, OTR/L, BCP

Beth Pfeiffer is an Associate Professor at Temple University where her primary responsibilities are teaching and research. Her research focuses on sensory processing, autism and mental health across the lifespan. Pfeiffer has completed effectiveness studies on the use of sensory-based interventions in both children and adults. Her recent work focuses on developing measures to assess the impact of the sensory environment on participation in daily activity for young children with autism spectrum disorders. Additionally, she was recently funded to develop an advocacy-based ecological intervention to improve employment outcomes for adults with autism spectrum disorders.

Jennifer Pinto-Martin, PhD, MPH

Jennifer Pinto-Martin is the MacInnes/Independence Professor and Chair of the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences at the University of the Pennsylvania School of Nursing, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the School of Medicine. She is the Director of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE), one of six such Centers funded by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to understand the causes of autism and the reasons for its recent increase in prevalence. In addition, she is the Executive Director of UPenn’s Center for Public Health Initiatives which houses the interdisciplinary Master of Public Health Program, drawing faculty and students from many schools on Penn’s campus and offering dual degrees with Nursing, Medicine, Dental Medicine, Social Work, Urban Planning and Law. Pinto-Martin is a member of the American Public Health Association, the Society for Epidemiological Research, the American College of Epidemiology and former President of the Society for Pediatric Epidemiologic Research.

Lindsay Shea, DrPH

Lindsay Shea is the Director of the Eastern Region Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training Collaborative (ASERT) Eastern Region at Drexel University and senior manager of the recently launched A.J. Drexel Autism Institute. Shea has led and managed autism-focused policy and research projects locally, in Pennsylvania and with a national scope for 10 years. Shea first-authored the Pennsylvania Autism Census Report and her research interests are based in creating and utilizing an evidence base in forming, evaluating, implementing and modifying social and health policies.

Margaret C. Souders, PhD, CRNP

Margaret C. Souders is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing and Clinician Educator. She has an appointment in the Clinical Genetics Department at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She has completed a two-year Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania where she is developing a research program in sleep science. After conducting over 400 home visits and talking with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their caregivers we identified that the environmental modifications, behavioral strategies and intensity of the sleep intervention needs to be tailored to the specific characteristics of the individual with ASD, the detailed needs of the family, and the complexity of the sleep problems. She is an essential member of a multi-disciplinary team of experts including Nurse Practitioner and sleep scholar from the University of Pennsylvania, a Behavioral Psychologist and autism expert from Drexel University, an Occupational Therapist and sensory expert from Jefferson University and caregiver of a child with ASD and insomnia from Philadelphia.

Renee Turchi, MD, MPH, FAAP

Renee Turchi is the Medical Director of the PA Medical Home Program which is a statewide and state/federally funded medical home program for pediatric practices in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As Medical Director of the Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, she delivers primary care for children and youth with special health care needs and has multiple grants supporting evaluation of health care delivery to this fragile population of children. She is an Associate Professor at Drexel University School of Public Health and College of Medicine.

Carl V. Tyler, MD, MSc

Carl V. Tyler is the Geriatrics and Research Director for the Fairview Hospital/Cleveland Clinic Family Medicine Residency Program and Associate Professor in Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. After graduating from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (now Northeast Ohio Medical University), he completed one year of post graduate studies in Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of California, Irvine, followed by a 3-year residency in Family Practice at Fairview General Hospital. He is board-certified in Family Medicine and Geriatric Medicine. He completed two post-doctoral fellowships through Case Western Reserve University: the first, concentrating in aging and disability, leading to a Master of Science degree; the second, an NIH-sponsored fellowship in practice-based research design and methodology. Tyler joined the faculty at Fairview in 1995. He serves as Director of the Developmental Disabilities-Practice Based Research Network, a multi-stakeholder research group with representatives from the advocacy, service, and health care communities. Tyler’s clinical and research interests include the primary medical care of adults with developmental disabilities and practice-based health services research utilizing electronic health records. Tyler and his wife, Maca, have three daughters, Ana, Aleksandra, and Natalija.