Council on Research and Evaluation (CORE)



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The CORE serves as a focus for the identification and discussion of issues regarding research and evaluation; serves as a representative voice of the research and evaluation activities within the AUCD Network; and influences the development and implementation of initiatives relevant to achieving and sustaining appropriate research and evaluation activities to guide the development of national policies.


How CORE Relates to AUCD and Its Work

The CORE fulfills its purpose and the mission of AUCD and its constituent membership by serving as a conduit for technical assistance, providing input into policy, and engaging in other support activities deemed necessary to advance the mandate for research and evaluation. The Council helps the association to:

  • Set and accomplish its research goals specified in the AUCD Strategic Map.
  • Carry out training activities to inform network members on important and emerging research and evaluation topics.
  • Develop the research capacity of each network member to conduct quality research and sound evaluation activities.
  • Identify topics of common interests to network members and develop recommendations to the AUCD Board.
  • Lead the Network in involving people with disabilities and their family members to participate in research and evaluation activities.



The Council on Research and Evaluation, known as CORE, is made up of individuals whose work is related to or who is interested in research and evaluation. CORE members are from each Center and program across the AUCD network. Membership is open to anyone in the AUCD network who chooses to join the CORE by selecting the CORE in their AUCD Directory. Each network member can also designate an individual representative who will cast one vote when a matter before the Council requires such an action. Members of the CORE are expected to attend the membership meeting during AUCD Annual Conferences and quarterly conference calls.


2018 Focus Areas

The 2018 CORE annual plan includes:

  • Involving individuals with disabilities as researchers in research teams by developing recommendations for working with university IRBs, by sponsoring a Driving Change session on this topic during the 2018 AUCD Conference, and by editing a book focusing on participatory research.
  • Providing training to Network members on how to evaluate the UCEDD core grants.
  • Develop recommendations to the Network on accessible methods of data visualization for people with disabilities.

CORE Leadership

Chair: Rodney Samaco, Ph.D.

Email: rodney.samaco at

Vice Chair: Vanessa Hiratsuka, Ph.D.

Email: vanessah at

Secretary: Katey Burke, Ph.D.

Email: kburke at

Trainee Rep: Conner Black

Email: connerjb at


AUCD Liaison: Dana Kim, emaildkim at aucd dot org


Upcoming Events of Interest to CORE Members

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NEW on the CORE
Web Pages



Rates of Autism Increase, but Numbers Don't Paint the Full Picture

Headlines over the past 20 years have signaled ever-increasing recognition of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Now, in a new article published in Autism, IDDRC network researchers describe their own estimates of how many children across Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's (CHOP) Primary Care Network have been diagnosed with ASD. What they found highlights the importance of tracking and unpacking the numbers of diagnoses to identify areas for continued improvement.



Federal surveys fail to count 20 to 43% of individuals who are disabled

A recent study at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital used SPARK data to identify a new class of moderate-effect genes that are associated with less likelihood of intellectual disability and may reveal more about autism and brain development.



Biomarkers Can Help Improve Clinical Trials for Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Sara Jane Webb, University of Washington IDDRC

In the past decade, many large-scale randomized controlled pharmaceutical clinical trials for children with neurodevelopmental disorders have struggled to demonstrate child clinical changes. In a recent study, researchers from University of Washington IDDRC discuss how biomarkers can help improve clinical trials for children with neurodevelopmental disorders.



Zebrafish Advance as a Model Organism for Fragile X Syndrome

Fragile X Syndrome is the most common inherited form of autism, caused by variants in the FMR1 gene. Scientists have developed animal models of the disorder to better understand the consequences of the genetic mutation and to see if they can intervene. In a recent study in The Journal of Neuroscience, Geoffrey Goodhill, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience and Developmental Biology at Washington University School of Medicine, and his team describe the utility of zebrafish larvae in recapitulating features of Fragile X.



JFK Partners Approved for $2,780,297 Million for a Study Comparing Approaches of Two School-Based Interventions to Manage Anxiety in Autistic Students

Funds awarded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

A research team at University of Colorado School of Medicine, JFK Partners, led by Judy Reaven, Ph.D. has been approved for a $2,780,297 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study A Comparison of Two School-Based Interventions to Manage Anxiety in Autistic Students.



Spontaneously arising variants in FRMD5 gene are associated with a novel neurological disorder

A study led by Dr. Hugo Bellen, investigator at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children's Hospital (TCH) and distinguished service professor at the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), reports de novo variants in a gene involved in regulating cellular motility to be the underlying cause of a new neurological disorder characterized by intellectual disability, motor dysfunction, seizures, abnormal eye movements etc.


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