Secretary of Health And Human Services, Sebelius, Appoints Denise D. Resnik To Federal Autism Advisory Committee

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CONTACT: Denise D. Resnik
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SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SEBELIUS, APPOINTS
DENISE D. RESNIK TO FEDERAL AUTISM ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, today announced the appointment of Denise D. Resnik to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), a Federal autism advisory committee.

Resnik is a mother of an 18-year-old son with autism and co-founder of the Phoenix-based Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to autism research, education and community outreach. She serves on the Autism Speaks Family Services Committee and Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism Steering Committee, and participated in the 2006 National Institutes for Health Autism Matrix Review and the IACC Scientific Workshops to develop the IACC Strategic Plan and subsequent updates.

ÒA sense of urgency about the rising prevalence of autism is reflected in the responsibilities and goals of the IACC, Resnik said. Secretary Sebelius is reaching out to all areas of the autism community to assess needs, find ways to enhance the exchange of information and ideas, and move forward on its strategic plan for how we approach the challenge of autism.

The responsibilities of the IACC include facilitating the efficient and effective exchange of information on autism activities among government agencies; coordinating autism-related programs and initiatives; and developing a strategic plan for autism biomedical and services research, and related activities. Federal agencies represented on the IACC include the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Administration for Children and Families.

Autism is an epidemic affecting children and adults around the world. In the United States, one in 110 children are affected by autism spectrum disorders.

I am delighted that Secretary Sebelius has expanded the IACC to include more public members, said Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health. As a coordinating committee, the IACC should be even more effective by including the perspectives of additional foundations and individuals supporting autism research and services.

Other new members of the committee representing non-federal public members are Geraldine Dawson with Autism Speaks, Gerald D. Fischbach with the Simons Foundation, Ari Neeman with Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, and Marjorie Solomon with the University of California, Davis.

Current members include Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health; and Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yesterday, SARRC announced its alliance with Calgary-based Sinneave Family Foundation that will advance research and enhance support for children and adults with autism.

The Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, founded in 1997, undertakes self-directed and collaborative research, serves as a satellite site for national and international projects, and provides up-to-date information, training and assistance to families and professionals about autism spectrum disorders. For more information, visit www.autismcenter.org.