Connie Anderson PhD

Dr. Connie Anderson is the Director of Towson University�s Post Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Autism Studies. Prior to that, she spent six years at Kennedy Krieger Institute with the Interactive Autism Network (IAN), the nation�s largest online autism research project. There, she was part of a team investigating multiple topics, including how frequently children on the autism spectrum are bullied or �elope� (i.e. wander off). At Towson University, she prepares educators, mental health professionals, and advocates with in-depth knowledge about ASD while conducting research on young adult outcomes. Dr. Anderson holds a doctoral degree in Sociology and Marriage & Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.

Teal W Benevides PhD

Dr. Teal W. Benevides is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Professions at Thomas Jefferson University. She received her PhD in Health Related Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014, her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University in 2004, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The College of William and Mary in 2002. As a clinical occupational therapist in private practice and early intervention, her passion was helping parents and their children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) participate in desired everyday activities at school, home and in their communities. Dr. Benevides’ research interests include topics related to health equity, service access, and examining health disparities among persons with ASD across the lifespan. Dr. Benevides recently completed a study to investigate access to therapy services among children with autism spectrum disorders in the 2005-2006 and 2009-2010 National Survey for Children with Special Health Care Needs, and factors associated with service access disparities. The study (R40 MC26194-01-00) was funded by the Maternal and Child Health Research Program, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (Title V, Social Security Act), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and Human Services. She is currently funded by Jefferson�s School of Health Professions to conduct a scoping review of participation outcome measures that can be used in intervention research. Other funded and unfunded research includes investigation of racial and ethnic differences in caregiver perceived need for autism-related services, and use of Medicare claims for understanding health care needs of adults with autism spectrum disorder.

W. Carl Cooley MD

W. Carl Cooley, MD, is a developmental pediatrician and clinical professor of pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He is the chief medical officer of the Crotched Mountain Foundation in Greenfield, NH where he is also medical director of the Center for Medical Home Improvement. Dr. Cooley graduated from Yale University and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his pediatric residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center, and after eleven years of primary care practice in New Hampshire, completed his fellowship in developmental pediatrics at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Children�s Hospital Boston. His clinical interests include Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, neuromotor disabilities, and traumatic brain injury. Dr. Cooley�s research interests focus on the redesign of primary care delivery systems in keeping with the medical home model and health care transition for youth and young adults with special health care needs. He is as founder of Got Transition � the National Health Care Transition Center. He is co-author of Preventive Management for Children with Genetic Conditions � Providing a Primary Care Medical Home 2nd Edition (2006). He was named NH Pediatrician of the Year in 2001 and in 2006 received the first annual Calvin J. Sia Community Pediatrics Medical Home Leadership and Advocacy award from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Director�s Award from the United States Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Dr. Cooley has three young adult children including one with special health care needs. He resides in Concord, NH.

Lisa Croen PhD

Dr. Lisa Croen 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 adverse perinatal outcomes. Currently, Dr. Croen is the principal investigator of the NIH-funded Early Markers for Autism study (EMA), and site principal investigator on two large federally funded autism studies: the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED) and the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI). She is also co-investigator on the California Autism Twins Study (CATS). In collaboration with clinical colleagues, she is conducting a mixed methods study to evaluate autism treatments at KPNC, and investigating 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.

Marju Erickson Warfield PhD

Marji Erickson Warfield, Ph.D. directs the Starr Center on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She has spent the majority of her research career evaluating services, programs, and service delivery systems designed to support and promote the development of children, youth, and young adults with disabilities and the adaptation of their families. Some of this work has been conducted as a co-investigator with the Early Intervention Collaborative Study (EICS) which followed a cohort of children with disabilities and their families from entry to early intervention through early adulthood. Other work has examined the transition to adulthood among youth with a range of disabilities including autism spectrum disorders. Projects have examined the system level, practice level, and family challenges associated with the transition from pediatric to adult health care as well as the extent to which community-based programs can provide youth and their families with skills that facilitate the transitions in health care, school to work, and home to independent living

Bonnie R Kraemer PhD, BCBA-D

Dr. Bonnie R. Kraemer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education at San Diego State University (SDSU). She is the coordinator of the credential program in Moderate/Severe disabilities at SDSU and Co-Coordinator of the M.A. in Autism and the Behavior Analysis programs at SDSU. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst -Doctoral. Her areas of teaching and research are in the fields of intellectual disability and autism, with a specific focus on families, instruction, transition, quality of life, and positive behavior supports. She is currently the Project Director of two Federal OSEP Grants which prepare Masters Level candidates in the areas of Autism and Transition. Additionally, Dr. Kraemer is a site Co-PI on a 5 year IES funded research grant (The Center on Secondary Education for Students with ASD; CSESA). This National multi-site RCT examines a comprehensive intervention for secondary and transition age students on the Autism Spectrum. Dr. Kraemer has numerous publications in the areas of Transition and Families. She has served on the Editorial Board of Remedial and Special Education (RASE) and serves as an ongoing reviewer for many disability journals.

Karen Kuhlthau PhD

Karen Kuhlthau, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School Massachusetts General Hospital. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the Department of Sociology where she focused on demography and health. She previously worked in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on surveillance systems and program evaluation relevant to children with special health care needs. Dr. Kuhlthau currently conducts research on children with special health care needs and children with autism. The autism-related work includes studies of quality of life of children and parents, traditional health services research, policy studies, and studies or the transition to the adult health care system. She is currently a co-PI of the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P).

Ilene Lainer JD

Ms. Ilene Lainer is the President of New York Collaborates for Autism (NYCA), which she co-founded in 2003. Under Ms. Lainer’s leadership, NYCA has helped Hunter College open its Autism Training Center, which provides education and training to graduate level professionals so that they may become certified in applied behavior analysis and thereby better help individuals living with autism. They have also helped create Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism, a school to employment transition program based on the successful Project SEARCH model created at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. NYCA created a framework to enhance the Project SEARCH model for young adults with autism. In 2013, NYCA developed a partnership with New York-Presbyterian Hospital, along with its affiliated medical schools of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medical College, and opened the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain. In 2014, NYCA, in collaboration with Community Living Opportunities, formed Neighborhood Network of New York, a community living services program for people with autism. In addition, Ilene co-founded NYC Autism Charter School, which is the only charter school in New York State dedicated exclusively to serving children with disabilities. Ms. Lainer currently resides in New York city and has two sons, one of whom has autism.

Elizabeth Laugeson PhD

Dr. Laugeson is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She received her doctorate from Pepperdine University in 2004, completed a clinical internship in developmental disabilities at UCLA from 2003-2004, and was the two-time recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the NIH from 2004-2007. Dr. Laugeson currently serves as the Director of The Help Group – UCLA Autism Research Alliance, which is a collaborative research initiative dedicated to developing and expanding applied clinical research in the treatment of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Laugeson is also the Founder and Director of the UCLA PEERS Clinic, an outpatient program providing parent-assisted social skills training for adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders and other social impairments.

Julie Lounds Taylor PhD

Dr. Julie Lounds Taylor is an assistant professor of Pediatrics and Special Education at Vanderbilt University, and an investigator at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. She received her bachelor of arts in psychology from Wheaton College, and her master�s of science and doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Taylor subsequently completed a post-doctoral fellowship in lifespan family research at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, before joining the Vanderbilt University faculty in 2008. Her research focuses on understanding the factors that promote a positive transition to adulthood for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (primarily autism spectrum disorder) and their families. Dr. Taylor�s work has been funded by Autism Speaks and the National Institutes of Mental Health. She has co-authored over 50 articles and book chapters on families, intellectual/developmental disabilities, autism, and the transition to adulthood. She was the 2014 recipient of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Early Career Award.

Elizabeth McGhee Hassrick PhD

Dr. Elizabeth McGhee Hassrick is currently a Research Scientist at NORC at the University of Chicago. She has a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Chicago, a Masters in Sociology from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Education from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. She has held research faculty positions at the University of Chicago and Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Hassrick is currently conceptualizing, adapting and pilot testing social network tools that relentlessly track and aggressively intervene on cooperative infrastructures across settings. In particular, she is investigating how coordination and configuration of autism treatment varies by socio-economic status, ethnicity, and organizational setting. She has won government and foundation support for her research, including grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Spencer Foundation and the National Academy of Education. Before her career as an academic researcher, she was a classroom teacher for 10 years in public and private schools in the US abroad.

Peggy McManus MHS

Ms. McManus is the President of The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health and Co-Director of Got Transition ( for Health Care Transition Improvement. Ms. McManus, with Dr. Patience White, lead the revision of the Six Core Elements of Health Care Transition, developed new transition quality improvement and consumer feedback measurement tools, published a systematic review of transition measures, and is actively involved in providing technical assistance to health plans, Title V agencies, pediatric and adult primary and specialty care practices, and health professional training programs. She has for more than 3 decades directed federal, state, and private foundation projects on transition, adolescent-centered primary care, access to care for low income and minority adolescents, pediatric subspecialty workforce, managed care for children and adolescents with special health care needs, health insurance and payment reforms, quality measurement, and state Title V program innovations.

Katie Murphy BA

Ms. Katie Murphy is a MA candidate in the Women and Gender Studies department at San Francisco State University. Through her research, Ms. Murphy considers how the genre of speculative fiction depicts disability as an identity that intersects with gender, race, class, and sexuality. Ms. Murphy graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, earning a BA in Gender and Women�s Studies and receiving the department�s Special Award for Excellence in Research and Senior Honors Thesis. She currently works as a graduate student assistant for the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University. Ms. Murphy is also a self-advocate whose work focuses on the further integration of people with developmental disabilities and mental illness into the San Francisco Bay Area’s vibrant disability culture.

Christina Nicolaidis MD, MPH

Dr. Christina Nicolaidis is a Professor and Senior Scholar in Social Determinants of Health in the School of Social Work at Portland State University (PSU); Adjunct Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Public Health Preventive Medicine at Oregon Health Science University (OHSU); and Co-Director of the Academic Autism Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education (AASPIRE; She is a general internist, a health services researcher, and a parent of an autistic teenager. Dr. Nicolaidis has focused most of her research career on partnering with marginalized communities to improve their health and healthcare. She uses a community based participatory research (CBPR) approach where community members serve as equal partners in all phases of the research process. She and her AASPIRE partners have conducted several studies about healthcare for adults on the autism spectrum and have used their findings to create an interactive online healthcare toolkit for autistic adults, their supporters, and primary care providers (available at

Samuel L Odom PhD

Dr. Samuel L. Odom is Director of Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Principal Investigator of the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. He is the author or co-author of many refereed journal articles and editor or co-editor of seven books on early childhood intervention and developmental disabilities. He was previously a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on Educating Children with Autism, which published a report on effective educational programs for young children with ASD. He also was a member of the committee that developed the 10 Year Roadmap for Autism Research coordinated by the National Institute on Mental Health and the Interagency Autism Research Committee. His current research is addressing treatment efficacy for children and youth with ASD, early intervention for toddlers with disabilities and their families, and professional development for teachers of children and youth with ASD. In 2013, he received the Arnold Lucius Gesell Prize awarded for career achievement in research on social inclusion and child development by the Theordor Hellbrugge Foundation, Munich, Germany.

Brigid Rankowski BA

Brigid Rankowski is currently working as a Direct Support Professional and mental health consultant in Portland, Maine. She is an instructor for Autism Speaks� online Transition course through the Houlton Institute, a teaching assistant for the Autistic Global Initiative�s online courses, gives presentations across the country, and is a frequent contributor to various online as well as print autism publications. She is co-chair for the educational committee on the Autism Society of Maine Board of Directors and a member of the board for the Autistic Global Initiative. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell College in Iowa. In the Spring, she will be receiving her Master�s in Developmental Disabilities from Nova Southeastern University. Her research passion involves utilizing circus/flow arts as an outlet for creative expression, social skill improvement, and overall health in the disability community. As a self-advocate, she works to help promote a strength based model of disability centered around the arts.

Denise D Resnik

An international autism leader, Ms. Denise D. Resnik is the co-founder of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (established in 1997), founder/president of First Place AZ (2012) and member of the Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism Leadership Council, Autism Speaks Housing Committee, and Arizona Community Foundation Board of Directors. Beyond her pro bono work, she is also founder/president of DRA Strategic Communications (1986), which serves clients in a variety of fields including real estate, economic development, health care, education and hospitality. Most importantly, Denise and her husband, Rob, are the proud parents of Ally, a rabbinical student, and Matt, an entrepreneur who is also a young adult with autism.

Anne Roux MPH

Ms. Anne Roux is a Research Scientist at A.J. Drexel Autism Institute�s Life Course Outcomes Research Program in Philadelphia. Ms. Roux has a master�s degree in public health from Washington University in St. Louis, where she completed a scholarship-funded training in health communication and participated in a NIMH pre-doctoral fellowship in Social Work. She also holds a master�s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Kansas and has 15 years of clinical experience in autism early intervention. She recently led the writing and production of the National Autism Report: Transition into Young Adulthood and has multiple scientific publications on postsecondary outcomes for adults on the autism spectrum and autism screening for underserved populations. Her research interests include life course transition and outcomes, mechanisms for reaching underserved populations, and models of navigation and care coordination. Ms. Roux currently serves on the Autism Treatment Network�s health disparities and family advisory committees and the Autistic Global Initiative�s advisory committee.

Chloe Silverman PhD

Dr. Chloe Silverman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Center for Science, Technology and Society at Drexel University. Her research focuses on the role of affect in scientific and medical knowledge, how scientists and others use public claims about affect to establish authority, and how taking affect into account is important for scholarship in the sociology of science. As part of this work, Dr. Silverman examines the intersections between so-called �lay� and �expert� scientific and medical knowledge, social movements that engage medical authorities and patient groups, and how information about scientific practice�as opposed to scientific findings�is communicated to different audiences. Her book, Understanding Autism (2011), examined these issues through a history of autism and parent advocacy. Dr. Silverman specializes in working collaboratively with scientists as a key means of studying scientific communities. She received her Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Patience White MD, MA, FAAP, FACP

Throughout her career, Dr. White has been active in Academic medicine, clinical care, research and public health policy and advocacy. She is a practicing academic pediatric and adult rheumatologist and has served as the director of the Divisions of Adult and Pediatric Rheumatology and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. In her work as vice-president for Public Health Policy and Advocacy at the Arthritis Foundation, Dr. White directed three consecutive multi-million dollar CDC cooperative agreements to improve the lives of people with arthritis and focused on federal advocacy to improve access to care and treatments for people with arthritis. She is a leader in the field of assisting youth with special health care needs in their transition from pediatric to adult health care having received many awards for her work in cross-system collaboration at the local and national level. She has been a consultant to the youth subcommittee of the President’s Task Force for Employment of Adults with Disabilities, a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow working on Medicaid policy for the US Senate Finance Committee and created and directed a transition program, the Adolescent Employment Readiness Center, at Children�s National Medical Center, for over 10 years. She was a co-author of �Supporting the Health Care Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood in the Medical Home� clinical report jointly supported by the AAP, the AAFP, and the ACP and published in Pediatrics (2011). With Ms. McManus and the Washington DC Dept. of Health, she directed a successful health care transition quality improvement learning collaborative with DC pediatric, family medicine and internal medicine practices and a DC Medicaid managed care delivery and payment initiative on health care transition. In addition, Dr. White co lead with Ms. McManus the revision of the Six Core Elements of Health Care Transition, developed new transition quality improvement and consumer feedback measurement tools, published a systematic review of transition measures, and through the work at Got Transition provide technical assistance to integrated health care delivery systems, health plans, Title V agencies, pediatric and adult primary and specialty care practices, and health provider professional societies. She received her MD from Harvard Medical School and a Master in Education from George Washington University School of Education and Human Development.