MCHB Minute - April 2019

April 17, 2019

Greetings HRSA Autism CARES Grantees!

This issue of the Developments newsletter provides an opportunity to highlight a host of exciting activities coming up this spring and summer supported through the Autism CARES Act. HRSA's Autism staff is looking forward to the ongoing exchange of ideas and information that these activities will stimulate, and to interacting with you in many of these venues.

Planning is well underway for the Autism CARES Grantee Meeting, which will take place in Washington, DC on July 18-19, 2019. With the help of ITAC, SPHARC, and the grantee planning committee, an exciting theme has been set: Ten Years of Autism CARES Act Programs: Improving the Lives of People with ASD/DD, their Families, and Communities. This theme will allow us to celebrate accomplishments over 10 years of funding, and our collective progress in advancing access to care, equity, and inclusion for children and youth with ASD/DD and their families.

Several grant programs - LEND, DBP, and AIR-P will be meeting this spring and summer to promote program interchange, discuss emerging issues and research, and reflect on impact. Recently, the LEND Audiology grantees convened at the EHDI Conference, and the LEND Zika grantees continue to meet quarterly to share progress in supporting systems of care in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The State Innovation grantees will be convening a peer-to-peer exchange to discuss using data and quality improvement to advance health equity. We are also looking forward to the annual Research Network/Single Investigator Innovation Program grantee meeting that will take place on June 13-14, 2019 in Rockville, MD. Autism-focused projects that will be represented at this meeting include Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B); Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P); Autism Longitudinal Data Project (ALDP); Autism Transitions Research Project (ATRP); Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network (DBP-Net); and the Healthy Weight Research Network among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities (HWRN).

HRSA Autism staff will also be on the road visiting several of your programs through site visits across the country. We hope you find these technical assistance visits as valuable as we do!

We are in the process of updating the HRSA Autism Web page and an Autism CARES Act infographic as part of Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month activities. Check out our new resources here soon!

Lastly, a new Autism CARES Act evaluation is underway. The evaluation team, 2M Research recently finalized the evaluation design for the next 4.5 years and will be conducting semi-structured interviews with select grantees in June and July 2019. This impact evaluation aims to showcase how the grantees address the five HRSA Autism CARES Act Initiative legislative objectives and most importantly, how they work together to improve the lives of children and families. 2M Research will present the progress to date on the evaluation at the Annual Autism CARES Grantee Meeting in July in Washington, D.C.

It will be a busy spring and summer! We are looking forward to the ongoing collaboration, sharing of effective practices, discussion of emerging issues, and celebration of our shared accomplishments in advancing the goals of the Autism CARES Act. Thank you for all that you do every day. We look forward to seeing you in the coming months!

Lauren Raskin Ramos, MPH
Director, Division of MCH Workforce Development
Maternal and Child Health Bureau