Former president of Chile and current presidential front-runner Michelle Bachelet welcomed Autism Speaks Senior Vice President of Scientific Affairs Andy Shih and Associate Director of Public Health Research Michael Rosanoff to her campaign headquarters in Santiago on Tuesday to discuss the current state of autism in Chile. The group, also accompanied by Autism Speaks scientific advisor Ezra Susser of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and Graciela Rojas, director of the School of Medicine at La Universidad de Chile, focused on strategies to implement the new United Nations General Assembly and World Health Assembly resolutions on autism.
Bachelet, who spent the last three years as the Head of UN Women and who is a pediatrician by training, noted the importance of these resolutions as tools for advocacy and as the framework for government programs to support autism communities worldwide. Bachelet expressed concern for the Chilean children, adults and families affected by autism and without access to important services and supports.
On behalf of Autism Speaks, Shih and Rosanoff offered technical support and guidance in overcoming these challenges in Chile through its Global Autism Public Health Initiative (GAPH).
Shih and Rosanoff are in Santiago attending Latin America's first-ever regional conference on autism, co-hosted by Autism Speaks at La Universidad de Chile. In addition to furthering understanding of the autism climate in Chile, a main objective of the conference is to identify shared challenges across the region and explore collaborative opportunities for improving the lives of individuals with autism throughout Latin America. The conference brought together key regional stakeholders, including researchers, families and government officials from Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Peru.
See CNN Chile coverage of the conference here.
Read more about the conference here.
Follow Michael Rosanoff on Twitter @AS_ScienceGuy as he live tweets from Santiago.