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Autism Speaks Announces New Medical Director for the Autism Treatment Network

October 09, 2008

NEW YORK, N.Y. (October 9, 2008) – Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism advocacy organization, today announced the appointment of Dan Coury, M.D. to the new post of Medical Director for its Autism Treatment Network (ATN).

As Medical Director for the ATN, Dr. Coury will provide the clinical leadership for the ATN's clinical and research activities, working with the Clinical Coordinating Center at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Autism Speaks ATN program staff and the participating ATN centers to develop a strategic vision for the ATN.

Dan Coury, M.D.

Dr. Coury will lead the development of clinical guidelines and have a major role in the implementation of the ATN's research agenda for the recently funded Health Resources and Services Administration grant: www.autismspeaks.org/press/atn_receives_hrsa_grant.php

"We are very excited to have Dr. Coury serving as our clinical leader," said Clara Lajonchere, Ph.D., VP of Clinical Programs for Autism Speaks. "His commitment to quality patient care, medical education, and research is going to strengthen our mission and ensure that the medical needs of our children remain a top priority for physicians, clinicians, policymakers and key stakeholders."

Dr. Coury is Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry in the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University. He is the founder and current clinical director of the Behavior Clinic at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and established one of the first pediatric fellowship programs in Behavioral Pediatrics. Through the Behavior Clinic, he has been caring for children with a variety of developmental and behavioral problems, primarily ADHD and autism, for over twenty years. In 1990, Dr. Coury established the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University. He continues to serve as chief of the section, as well as Medical Director of the Nisonger Center for Developmental Disabilities and Administrative Medical Director for Behavioral Health for Nationwide Children's Hospital. Over the past 15 years, he has conducted research as part of numerous federally funded projects in the areas of developmental and behavioral pediatrics training, psychopharmacology in autism, health professionals training in dual diagnosis, and dissemination methods for developmental and behavioral pediatrics.

Dr. Coury has authored or co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, regularly reviews for several journals, and has served on the editorial board of the medical journal Pediatrics. He is active in national medical organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academic Pediatric Association, and the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. He has served on the Sub-board on Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics of the American Board of Pediatrics, and as a member of the Bright Futures Education Center advisory committee. Dr. Coury is a Past President of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association and Past President of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Council of Pediatric Subspecialties, sub-committees of the American Board of Pediatrics, and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Steering Committee for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Dr. Coury will work as part of the ATN Clinical Coordinating Center under Director James Perrin, M.D. at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children. "Dan Coury brings experienced leadership to this vital position," stated Dr. Perrin. "He not only has tremendous experience serving families and providing clinical care in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, but also has great skill in helping to organize physician collaboratives." Dr. Coury will be based at Nationwide Children's Hospital and Ohio State University and maintain a portion of his effort in clinical service to families of children with developmental disabilities.

"It is exciting to have the opportunity to partner with such a dedicated group of clinicians, researchers and advocates as we work to improve the care provided to children and adolescents with autism," said Dr. Coury. "The medical aspects of autism are still poorly understood and often overlooked, and the work of the ATN will determine the best ways to evaluate and treat these associated conditions. The knowledge gained from these clinical efforts will spark new research initiatives, and the standards established by the ATN will help promote the translation of new research findings back to clinical practice. Ultimately, the children with autism and their families will benefit from medical care that more effectively addresses their needs."

Richard Fade, ATN Steering Committee member and co-founder of the ATN commented on the significance of this new appointment. "Five years ago, a small group of parents and physicians had a vision to create a network that would advance and define the standard of care for autism. Through Autism Speaks, the ATN has grown to a stage where we have the critical mass of expertise to really start addressing the issues. We started the year with a network expansion that brought us a new pool of participating physicians. The addition of Dr. Coury provides additional clinical expertise and leadership, to help us begin to deliver a better standard of care for families and individuals living with autism."