Children's Hospital Los Angeles becomes only Autism Treatment Network site in California

Following a competitive application process, Michele D. Kipke, PhD, Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, was awarded a $420,000 grant which will allow the hospital to become part of the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) as an ATN Center of Clinical Excellence. The ATN is supported by Autism Speaks, which is North America's largest autism science and advocacy organization. Children's Hospital Los Angeles is the only ATN Center of Clinical Excellence in California.

"It is with great enthusiasm that we join the Autism Treatment Network. Participation will allow us to engage in cutting-edge clinical and translational research that seeks to promote both discovery and delivery of high-quality care to children with autism spectrum disorder and their families," said Dr. Kipke.

The ATN is a clinical program, administered by Autism Speaks, that serves a critical role in advancing scientific discovery and developing clinical guidelines and evidence-based approaches to meet the complex medical needs of children with an autism spectrum disorder. The ATN consists of a network of hospitals and doctors employing a common protocol for diagnosis of autism and treatment of associated medical conditions.

There are two primary autism clinics at Children's Hospital Los Angeles: the Boone Fetter Clinic and the USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Larry Yin, MD, MSPH, a board-certified developmental behavioral pediatrician, provides medical leadership at both sites. Both clinics use a family-centered model for patient care. Teams conduct interdisciplinary assessments while providing access to 100 pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, nutrition services, physical therapy, and vision and hearing screening. Coordination of services is performed by a nurse management team with the participation of parents as partners in the delivery of care.

"Children's Hospital Los Angeles has become one of the leading providers of autism-related assessment, diagnosis, and medical care in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California. Participation in the Autism Treatment Network will allow us the opportunity to provide cutting-edge care while continuing to leverage our internationally renown partner, the University of Southern California, in advancing highly innovative basic, clinical, translational, and community-partnered research in order to change the future for those with autism and their families," said Brent Polk, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and director of The Saban Research Institute.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles has also established a Diagnostic, Clinical & Research Center for Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental and Behavior Disorders to support autism clinical and translational research. This was made possible through the support of the Boone Family Foundation, the Las Madrinas Endowment for Autism Research Intervention and Outcomes, and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. Through this effort, numerous studies have been launched in collaboration with the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Programs, Schools of Social Work and Education, and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

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