Scientists receive $399,368 grant for front-line analysis of health services for autism in New Jersey

Scientists from Kessler Foundation received a two-year grant for $399,368 from The New Jersey Governor's Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism, New Jersey Department of Health, for a front-line analysis of health services for autism spectrum disorders in the state. The study is titled, "Racial, Ethnic, Language, and Geographic Disparities in Autism Health Service Use among Children in NJ: Assessing Longitudinal Trends of Services Gaps and Cumulative Disadvantage."

The three investigators are Yu-Lun Chen, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, and Amanda Botticello, MPH, PhD, assistant director, both of the Centers for Spinal Cord Injury and Outcomes and Assessment Research, and Helen Genova, PhD, associate director, the Center for Autism Research.

Children on the autism spectrum require timely, comprehensive, and ongoing health services, defined as medical services and therapies to support positive, lifelong health and development. However, research shows that Black and Hispanic autistic children and children with limited English proficiency receive fewer autism health services compared to non-Hispanic White and English-speaking children, placing them at risk for poor health and development.

"These service disparities may accumulate and perpetuate inequities into adulthood, limiting independent living and employment," explained Dr. Chen.

To promote health equity among children on the spectrum, there is an urgent need to better understand the longitudinal trends and the social determinants of racial/ethnic and language disparities in autism health services. These include the role of neighborhood social and economic differences, school and health resources, rural and urban location differences, and racial/ethnic composition."

Dr. Helen Genova, PhD, associate director, Center for Autism Research

"Our project will assess longitudinal racial/ethnic and language disparities in autism health service use in NJ and examine the role of the social determinants of health in disparities in autism health service use," concluded Dr. Botticello.

Kessler Foundation partners with Children's Specialized Hospital on pediatric rehabilitation research that improves the lives of children and adolescents with disabilities. The project will leverage the collaboration and research infrastructure between Kessler Foundation and Children's Specialized Hospital, which have been established through multiple projects in the Foundation's Center for Outcomes and Assessment Research and the Center for Autism Research.


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