MCHB Minute - April 2021

April 29, 2021

Hello Autism CARES Grantees!

In the DC area, signs of spring are all around us - a welcome appearance after what felt like an especially long winter. They bring renewed hope and energy for what is ahead.

I am also feeling energized about the opportunities in front of us, particularly around achieving equity for children, adolescents and families with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other Developmental Disabilities (DD). With a focus on achieving health equity at all levels of the Biden-Harris Administration, we are poised as the Autism CARES network to take stock of our equity goals and of the current and potential impact of our work. This may include reflection on our collective accomplishments over time and charting a course for equity for the next 10 years.

The Autism CARES network has made great strides in reducing health disparities. Of note, you are reaching more diverse trainees than ever before. You are expanding diversity and inclusion efforts throughout the CARES investments by equipping professionals with the knowledge and skills to provide culturally and linguistically relevant care. You are ensuring the recruitment and participation of diverse populations in research studies to advance the evidence base on effective interventions for underserved populations. You are addressing disparities in access to care using a variety of innovative approaches. You are also working intentionally towards more timely screening, diagnosis, and care for all children and adolescents with ASD/DD. Where can we go from here? What will true equity look like?

I look forward to ongoing discussion and partnership on equity across the CARES investments. The Autism CARES Grantee Virtual Meeting, Committing to Health Equity across the Lifespan will provide one platform to engage in those discussions this summer. Let's take advantage of the current momentum to further advance equity for children and youth with ASD/DD.

I hope there are signs of spring around you too, and that you are finding hope and energy with the changing season.

Lauren Ramos