Author of the book ‘Strange Son' (Riverhead Books), 2007. (www.strangeson.com)
Ms. Iverson earned a BFA at the University of Illinois in 1976, then went on to become an art director and writer for film and television; her entertainment career culminated with the winning of an Emmy Award in 1989. In 1995, soon after her son Dov was diagnosed with autism, Portia Iverson and her husband Jonathan Shestack co- founded the Cure Autism Now foundation (CAN). The foundation soon became a driving force in growing the field autism research and a leader in raising awareness and funding. Soon after founding CAN, they established the Autism Genetics Resource Exchange (AGRE), an autism gene bank that was the first to provide open access to the entire scientific community and soon grew to become the world's largest. She also established CAN's Scientific Review Council, an advisory council modeled after the NIMH Advisory Council, whose members were made up of scientists and clinicians most of whom were also parents of autistic children. The SRC was responsible for ensuring that the research which CAN funded was relevant and reflected the urgency of those affected by the disorder.