Mission Statement & Summary
Autism is one of the fastest growing childhood disorders in America. The primary goal of the Autism Affinity Group is to facilitate intellectual exchange and foster and expand an interdisciplinary autism research environment at UCLA.
In April of 2003, UCLA was funded as part of the Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment (STAART) program through the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). UCLA is one of 8 STAART Centers in the U.S. and also one of 10 Collaborative Programs for Excellence in Autism (CPEA) funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The central theme of the Centerís research program involves understanding the origins of social, communicative, and language deficits demonstrated by individuals with autism. A second theme is a focus on the design and testing of experimental treatment interventions. These and other individual R01 grants serve as a source of cohesion for investigators working in autism.
One of the Centerís long-term goals is to develop systems for cooperative and collaborative investigations and attract new investigators to autism research. The Autism Affinity Group provides investigators immersed in autism research with an opportunity to share their work with junior investigators and researchers in other fields. This opens up the possibility of future collaborations cross-disciplines.
The Autism Affinity Group meets on the first Friday of each month and includes a presentation by an investigator working in the field of autism research or in a related area of science, which may lend contributions to autism research. When the budget permits, outside speakers will also participate.
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