This month, Daniel Openden, Ph.D, BCBA-D, begins as the new president and CEO of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), a move announced earlier this year as part of SARRC’s leadership succession plan. Dr. Openden has served as SARRC’s vice president and clinical services director since 2007. He succeeds Jeri Kendle as president. Dr. Openden is a member of the Autism Speaks Family Services Committee. SARRC and Autism Speaks are partners for the Arizona Walk.
“With 1 in 64 children in Arizona impacted by autism and 1 in 88 across the U.S., our work at SARRC is in greater demand than ever before. We are modifying our treatments to meet the developmental needs of younger children since the field is rapidly progressing at identifying infants and toddlers with autism. At the same time, children with autism quickly become adults with autism, so SARRC will continue to be a leader in the development of innovative programs that support independence and inclusion in the community,” said Openden.
Dr. Openden was recruited to SARRC from the renowned Koegel Autism Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since beginning at SARRC, he has created financial sustainability and growth across SARRC’s clinical programs. In addition, he has developed an innovative, cutting-edge inclusive preschool program recognized as a “best practices” model by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS); initiated SARRC’s Remote Telemedicine Program to provide services to families living outside of Maricopa County; and serves the autism community nationally through his leadership on the Scientific Council of the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) and Autism Speaks Family Services Committee. He is also a founding member of the Council on Autism Services (CAS), a networking organization that brings together presidents, CEOs, executive directors, clinical directors, and program directors to share high level information and identify gaps facing autism service delivery organizations.