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News from the Shriver Center

Keep up-to-date with our latest news and happenings.

The EK Shriver Center Unveils New Website

The E.K. Shriver Center at UMass Medical School is pleased to announce its new website!

The new website represents our most recent effort to ensure that individuals with disabilities, those who care about them, and professionals in the disability community receive accurate, timely, and regular updates about the many ways the Shriver Center works to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.

Healthy Weight Research Network (HWRN) Awarded Renewal Of Five Year, $1.25 Million HRSA Grant

Promoting healthy weight, good nutrition, and physical activity participation among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual / developmental disabilities (I/DD) have been the focus of extensive research efforts by the Shriver Center’s Carol Curtin, PhD LICSW, and Linda Bandini, PhD, RD, along with their research colleague Aviva Must, PhD, at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Dr. David Cochran Awarded Grant to Study Biomarker-Driven Drug Treatment For Autism

Congratulations to the Shriver Center’s David M. Cochran, MD on his recent grant award from the Eagles Autism Foundation. The two year, $400,000 award is slated to begin in FY ’22, and will allow Dr. Cochran and his team to study the potential effectiveness of using the drug gabapentin as part of a biomarker-driven drug treatment for autism.

Shriver Center Awarded Five Year Competitive Renewal of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center is pleased to announce the renewal of its Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program for $3.1M over the next five years.

Funded by the Health Resources Services Administration’s Maternal & Child Health Bureau (HRSA/MCHB), the purpose of LEND program is to provide graduate-level interdisciplinary training to improve the health and well-being of children and youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families. The LEND program prepares trainees from diverse professional disciplines and backgrounds to assume leadership roles in their respective fields, to serve as agents of systems change, to conduct research in the field, and to provide responsive and exceptional interdisciplinary clinical services.

Shriver Center – Occupational Therapy Consults to the New Worcester Red Sox Polar Park on Sensory-Friendly and Accessible Space

This spring, Dr. Mary Beth Kadlec, ScD, OTR/L, Program Director of the UMass Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CANDO) Clinic and Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, MGH Institute of Health Professions, and Allison Klowan, Doctor of Occupational Therapy ’21 student, provided community service through consultation to the Worcester Red Sox Client Services Team to a sensory-friendly space within the ballpark. Polar Park is the new home of the Worcester Red Sox (“Woo Sox”), previously known as the Pawtucket Red Sox (“Paw Sox”).

AIRC Holds Annual “Celebration Of Champions” Update

Congratulations to the Shriver Center’s own Amy Weinstock and her amazing dedicated team at the Autism Insurance Resource Center on the success of their annual “Insurance Update and Celebration of Champions.”

This event serves as an opportunity to bring together stakeholders and policymakers with family and community members who use the AIRC’s service and expertise to advocate on behalf of their child’s coverage needs. In addition, the event hosts guest speakers and honors individuals who have made notable contributions to this mission during the calendar year.

Emily Rubin Promotes Sibling Work With Media Appearance

The Shriver Center’s Emily Rubin recently took to the airwaves promote her longstanding professional interest in providing support to siblings of individuals diagnosed with physical, intellectual, psychiatric, and/or developmental disabilities.

Rubin appeared as a guest on the Shrewsbury Media Connection program and discussed two separate, individual chapters of her sibling work.

UMass Medical School joins Autism Learning Health Network


The UMass Medical School Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center’s Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CANDO) clinic, in partnership with the Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, has joined the Autism Learning Health Network of Autism Speaks. The network convenes academic leaders in autism and other neurodevelopmental and intellectual disabilities nationwide to standardize and share clinical data collection and outcomes research to improve care for children and families affected by autism spectrum disorder.

Dr. Sohye Kim Awarded NIH NCATS KL2 Grant

Congratulations to the Shriver Center’s own Sohye Kim, PhD on her recent KL2 grant award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a division of the National Institute of Health (NIH).

The multi-year award focuses on developing innovative neuroimaging techniques to study the infant’s developing social brain, a research area of interest to Dr. Kim throughout her professional career.

Newly Launched MCPAP for ASD/ID Program

Continued access to mental health services and supports remains a vital care component for people throughout Massachusetts, both during this COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.  Accessing those services and supports is particularly important for youth and young adults with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or intellectual disabilities (ID), and those who care about them.