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Enhancing Healthcare for Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Posted 4 months ago

More than a half-million autistic individuals will turn 18 years old in the next decade. To meet their healthcare needs, novel approaches to train and support community clinicians are needed. 

We are seeking clinicians – physicians, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants who provide care for adults on the autism spectrum, or who want to serve this population – to participate in ECHO Autism through live videoconferencing sessions.

ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a model is being used worldwide to provide training in more than 50 medical conditions. This ECHO Autism training program is being developed by clinicians experienced in autism at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, the University of Virginia, and the University of Missouri-Columbia. The project is sponsored by the Department of Defense Autism Research Program.

This unique training opportunity and research project to enhance the quality of healthcare for adults on the autism spectrum is hosted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Through this training, you will learn skills that will help you care for a broad range of patients, such as psychotropic medication management and how to help patients sleep. 
ECHO Autism participants will commit to two series of training that meet for one hour every other week for six months. During each session, participants will present cases to fellow clinicians and expert hub team members and take part in short didactic presentations about resources available for supporting adults with autism. You will get real-time advice about your patients from autism experts, and you will get written recommendations for issues presented in the cases. Topics up for discussion will include: 

  • Identifying autism in adults;
  • Managing co-occurring medical and behavioral health conditions, including sleep;
  • Using psychotropic medications;
  • Housing, education, employment and community supports; and
  • Supporting families/caregivers.  

The first series will start in November 2020. Clinicians can join the live videoconferences from home or the office over lunch or a break. Participants receive compensation for completing several study measures as well as earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for each session attended. Maintenance of certification Parts 2 and 4 are also offered.

For more information, watch this six-minute video presented by Vanderbilt principal investigator Beth Malow, M.D., M.S., and study coordinator Janet Shouse


Principal Investigator: Dr. Beth Malow, Vanderbilt University Medical Center neurologist and director of the Vanderbilt Autism Treatment Network site.

Funding Source: The Department of Defense Autism Research Program