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AIR-B Network Distributes COVID-19 Resources in English, Korean and Spanish for Families and Educators

The year 2020 was filled with unexpected changes to the whole world as well as to the Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B Network; PI: Kasari), which includes UCLA, UC Davis, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, Drexel University, University of Kansas, University of Washington, and each university site's community partners. Since 2008, the AIR-B Network has conducted research that aims to increase equity in access to effective interventions for children with ASD and hosted numerous events and presentations for under-resourced communities. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic led the research-community partnership to cancel its annual tradition looked forward to by many - the free autism conference for families taking place every March. Instead, the AIR-B partners - now meeting on Zoom instead of their monthly get-together at the Healthy African American Families office - decided to start an initiative to accommodate immediate needs of families struggling with distance learning.



2021 Autism CARES Meeting Update

Due to the ongoing pandemic, travel restrictions, and the concern for the safety and well-being of grantees, the 2021 Autism CARES Meeting will be held virtually in Summer 2021. This virtual event is an opportunity for HRSA-funded CARES grantees (representing research, training, and state systems) to share information about activities within their respective networks, discuss emerging trends, and facilitate meaningful collaboration. Grantees will be asked to be engaged in the planning process for this event (as requested) and participate in all virtual activities.



AIR-P (MGH-scheduled to sunset)

The AIR-P (MGH-scheduled to sunset), is led by Karen Kuhlthau, PhD. The key goals for the AIR-P Network from 2015 to 2020 were two-fold: To conduct multi-site research on evidence-based interventions that improve physical health of children and adolescents with ASD and developmental disorders, especially underserved populations. To transform AIR-P into a multi-site Autism Learning Health Network (ALHN) which will provide a collaborative laboratory for developing and testing evidence-based interventions and accelerating the adoption of effective interventions and system management approaches into practice.



AIR-P (UCLA-initiated 9/1/20) Updates

n September 2020, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) had the opportunity to assume leadership of the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P) programming and activities under the direction of Dr. Alice Kuo. Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, the AIR-P is an interdisciplinary, multicenter research network for scientific collaboration and infrastructure to increase the life expectancy and quality of life for autistic individuals, with a focus on underserved/vulnerable populations. The AIR-P supports innovative life course intervention research in six areas (Research Nodes): (1) primary care services and quality, (2) community-based lifestyle interventions, (3) gender, sexuality, and reproductive health, (4) health services and systems, (5) neurology, and (6) genetics.



AUCD Central Office is Hiring! 

Interested in working for a national disability organization in the Washington, DC area?  Passionate about growing diverse and skilled leaders? If you or someone you know can answer "yes" to any or all these questions, consider working for AUCD!  



Developments Newsletter - January 2021



MCHB Minute - January 2021

Lauren Raskin Ramos, Director, Division of MCH Workforce Development

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.



MN-LEND Project Responds to Opioid Crisis

What can you do if your baby, or a loved one's baby, has neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)? How can a toddler's development be affected by NAS? Where can Minnesotans find support? As part of their 2019-20 MNLEND fellowship experience, Bridget Winchester (pictured) and Catie Mapa are answering those questions, and more, through online content expected to be launched next month from the MNLEND website. The fellows created the content with support from ICI's Jennifer Hall-Lande and Rebecca Dosch Brown, LEND fellow Whitney Terrill, and the Institute's communications team.



National Autism Indicators Report- Health and Health Care

The National Autism Indicators Report: Health and Health Care is the sixth in the National Autism Indicators Report Series produced from the Life Course Outcomes Research Program area at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute. It reports indicators of health and health care for autistic people across the lifespan. Topics covered include overall health, health services, medication, insurance, and accessing services. The report combines data from two national surveys about health, one national sample of hospital inpatient stays, and previously published findings from Kaiser Permanente Northern California patient records.



Recommendations for Weight Management in Primary Care for Children and Youth with ASD from the Healthy Weight Research Network

In response to the lack of training and limited resources to guide primary care providers on weight management for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the Healthy Weight Research Network, funded by the Maternal Child Health Bureau of the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and coordinated by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMass Medical School, developed a set of recommendations for weight management in primary care for this population. The recommendations were published in the journal Pediatrics in April 2020. The recommendations include suggestions for screening, evaluation, prevention, and intervention, and provide practitioners with suggestions specifically targeted for working with children with ASD their families, allied health professionals, and school systems. They also include modifications to and expansion of the American Academy of Pediatrics guidance on managing childhood obesity, tailored for children and youth with ASD and their families.



Updates from the State Public Health Autism Resource Center

2021 has arrived! Despite the challenges we have all faced during COVID-19, our Community of Learners have persevered and made excellent progress in their work. Most notably, the Iowa team successfully hosted the 2020 Virtual Peer to Peer exchange in the midst of a severe derecho. The theme for P2P was The Iowa Family Navigator Model: Providing Family-to-Family Support to Families of Children and Youth with ASD/DD. The virtual event took place over three days and was filled with engaging workshops and inspiring panel discussions with family leaders. Participants included the current grantees from North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as former grantees from Delaware, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Virginia.



Disability Policy News

AUCD, Disability Policy News, every MondayInauguration Day, 117th Congress, COVID-19 Vaccine, Presidential Transition, Impeachment, COVID-19 Relief, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services



AUCD Professional Fellows Alumnae Win Global Zero Project Awards

AUCD Professional Fellows alumni Gwaliwa Mashaka (Fall 2018) and Aneth Gerana (2020) from Tanzania have received 2021 Zero Project Awards, which honor the world's best innovations in disability inclusion every year. Gwaliwa and Aneth, who both have lived experience with disability, are being celebrated for leading historic inclusive employment initiatives in Tanzania that they developed with advice from senior faculty at the Nisonger Center and the UCLA Tarjan Center.



AUCD 360 - January 2021



Homeless Heroes?

By Hibo Omer, University of Maine UCEDD Trainee and Rafia Tisha, New Hampshire-Maine LEND Trainee

As a newcomer to America, I always wondered how America could have homeless people? I imagined America as a heaven on earth, where everyone is well off and poverty is seen only in museums. Unfortunately, what I learned, and saw was beyond my expectation and left a scar in my heart. When I first moved to the state of Maine, my eyes caught a white woman who was, and still is, homeless. Throughout each season I encountered this woman pushing her belongings in a buggy. During the winter, I helped her to pull the buggy until I reached my destination, always wondering and asking myself many questions. How could this happen in America?



Oksana/Emma Test Bulletin Board

As you begin the current academic year and look forward to a new cohort of trainees, we recognize the importance of delivering information and resources that may be timely to MCH training programs - including items that may support remote training as your programs and our country continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our hope that you find the content of this newsletter useful in supporting the work of your faculty, staff, and trainees.

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