MCHB Minute - January 2021

Lauren Raskin Ramos, Director, Division of MCH Workforce Development

January 20, 2021

Happy New Year Autism CARES grantees!

There are few words to share that adequately capture my appreciation and admiration for all of your work to care for children, youth and families with ASD and other developmental disabilities over the past year. I am grateful for your unwavering commitment to advancing training, research and systems development efforts in extraordinary circumstances, for your rapid implementation of innovative approaches, and your dexterity in responding to a changing environment. We end a challenging year with many CARES network successes, new models of care, and lessons learned that will strengthen the CARES network and advance shared goals, as well as a continued commitment to advancing health equity for the populations that we serve.

As we look ahead to 2021, there are many CARES grantee activities planned for the year to facilitate engagement, ongoing learning, and opportunities to advance the field. Here are just a few to look forward to:

  • Connecting and learning through the virtual Autism CARES Grantee Meeting this summer
  • Supporting Autism Acceptance Month activities, including a SPHARC-led Twitter chat and coffee talk series on Tele-ASD-PEDS work, Girls on the Spectrum, and Employment & Autism/Transition
  • Reviewing new Autism Transitions Research Project (ATRP) series of National Autism Indicators Reports that use population-level data to describe the unmet needs and outcomes of the autism population
  • Participating in the annual gathering of the Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) Programs in March which will include the opportunity to hear from DBP Fellows' about their research
  • Advancing the MCH COVID-19 Research Agenda, a publication led by the MCHB Life Course Intervention Research Network in partnership with other Research Networks, which will investigate the mechanisms and impacts of COVID-19 on children's healthy development, identify and mitigate the disparate negative effects of the pandemic on children and families of color, and strengthen local, state and national measurement systems to monitor children's well-being during a national crisis, and which includes a focus on ASD and DD.
  • Learning from forthcoming publications from research grantees, including SDAR grantee publications on gender differences in ASD and several new DBPNet peer-reviewed articles on groundbreaking topics.
  • Building enhanced regional collaborations among LEND and DBP programs through the ITAC-supported Group Opportunities to Advance Learning (GOAL) Projects to implement collaborative activities for trainees and faculty from neighboring LEND and DBP programs.

I hope you too, are looking forward to opportunities to connect across the CARES grantee network. On behalf of MCHB, I wish you all a happy and healthy 2021. Thank you for your partnership.