Experts join together to form Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment

Published on July 22, 2013 at 3:06 AM · No Comments

First project to study access to medical and dental care in the adult population in Rhode Island

Dozens of autism experts across a variety of specialties have joined together to form the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment (RI-CART). The consortium will bring together researchers, physicians, scientists, service providers, educators and parents to collaborate on a broad range of research, education and advocacy projects.

"This is such an important step for Rhode Island when you consider that one in 88 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism and more than one million children in the country are directly affected by autism," said Thomas Anders, M.D., a senior consultant for the project. "By establishing this unique model of collaboration, Rhode Island is demonstrating its commitment to tackling integrated scientific research on autism and autism spectrum disorders."

The RI-CART group is made up of the state's leading experts on autism research, education, health and advocacy. Organizations represented in RI-CART include Bradley Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, Women & Infants Hospital, Butler Hospital, Memorial Hospital, Brown University and its Warren Alpert Medical School, the Brown Institute for Brain Science, the Brown Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute, Gateway Healthcare, Rhode Island College, University of Rhode Island, The Autism Project, the Groden Network, The NeuroDevelopment Center, Rhode Island Technical Assistance Project, the Rhode Island Department of Education and the Rhode Island Department of Health, Office of Special Needs.

The consortium will work to improve the lives of Rhode Islanders with autism spectrum disorders by promoting collaborative, cutting-edge research on causes and origins, treatment, and support services.

Key objectives include:

  • Supporting basic, clinical and behavioral research across disciplines and institutions
  • Creating a research infrastructure, including a statewide web-based research registry.
  • Improving and expanding diagnostic and treatment methods.
  • Informing state and federal policymakers about autism spectrum disorders.

Rhode Island provides a unique setting for this sort of collaboration. With just over one million residents and 1,000 square miles, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the nation and can be travelled in about an hour. The population is diverse, and the state has a single department of health, a children's hospital and a medical school. These qualities enable RI-CART to share resources and expertise; enroll representative research sample populations quickly, and study them over time; test and rapidly roll out new ways to improve clinical care, and access government and academic leaders to develop new research collaborations and public policies.

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