Munroe-Meyer Institute Names New Director of Autism Center

May 6, 2022

Seeing a perfect fit with her professional expertise and interests, Alice Shillingsburg, PhD, will join the UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute as its new director of the integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (iCASD).

Dr. Shillingsburg’s hiring fulfills MMI’s goal to recruit a nationally recognized expert in autism to iCASD and its redesigned home in the new Munroe-Meyer Institute building.

Slated to start at MMI in July, Dr. Shillingsburg is currently senior vice president of children’s clinical services and training at the May Institute, a Massachusetts nonprofit that serves individuals with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities, brain injury, neurobehavioral disorders and other special needs. She is assistant director of the National Autism Center within the May Institute.

Karoly Mirnics, MD, PhD, director of the Munroe-Meyer Institute, applauded Dr. Shillingsburg’s hiring.

"Alice is clearly a deeply caring, great leader and wonderful human being who is a master of her trade," Dr. Mirnics said. "I am very impressed with her, and I believe that iCASD will soar to new heights under her leadership."

Dr. Shillingsburg said she’s excited by the opportunity at the Munroe-Meyer Institute. While interviewing for the position, she said, she could see the passion of people from UNMC and MMI, as well as the community and stakeholders who come together to support the institute.

"To me, it speaks to the potential to really develop and grow something that could be trajectory changing for children with autism and their families," she said.

Dr. Shillingsburg has a PhD in clinical psychology from Auburn University and is a licensed psychologist and doctorate-level board certified behavior analyst. At the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, she completed her pre-doctoral internship, post-doctoral fellowship and served as director of the language and learning clinic. She previously was an associate professor at Emory University in the division of autism and related developmental disabilities.

She has published more than 50 research papers on interventions for children with developmental disabilities.

Dr. Shillingsburg has particular expertise in early intervention, early detection and early access to care of autism, and she said that expertise fits with the exact population that iCASD serves. With her new position within a university with a research focus, Dr. Shillingsburg said the balance of teaching, research and clinical work will make MMI "a perfect spot for me."

Dr. Shillingsburg said she’s excited by the great team already in place at the iCASD and the opportunity to help elevate their work. She said she’s also passionate about advocacy work in the area of autism.

"We know so much more about the diagnosis and what kids and families need," she said. "What remains a barrier is navigating access to those things. I’m really driven by that type of work."