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Autism Grant Aims at Helping Schools and Clinics

(Sacramento, Calif) - Aubyn Stahmer, director of community-based treatment research at the UC Davis MIND Institute, has received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study different ways to support training to providers who treat children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The 4-year, $2.7 million grant funds coordinated studies between UC Davis and UC San Diego to test the impact of the "Translating Evidence-based Interventions for ASD: A Multi-level Implementation Strategy (TEAMS)" model. The studies will be conducted in Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles.

"This grant is unique because it will allow us to test different ways to better support providers in delivering autism treatments to children in public schools and publicly-funded county mental health clinics," said Stahmer, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC Davis. "If the strategies work, we can use them for practices across different systems that serve children with ASD."

The TEAMS model includes two strategies to improve delivery of ASD treatments and child outcomes. One is providing leadership training at the schools and mental health clinics to support professionals who work with children. The other is enhancing provider training by engaging teachers and clinicians in proactive problem solving and planning to use the treatment models successfully. Approximately 200 children with autism will benefit each year from working with the providers who participate in the study.

"I'm very excited about this project," said Stahmer, who will lead the study for UC Davis focusing on testing TEAMS in classrooms. "It will give us an opportunity to work with teachers, clinicians and leaders in public schools and publicly-funded county mental health clinics in California and increase the use of evidence-based practices for students with autism."

Lauren Brookman-Frazee, associate professor in psychiatry and associate director of the Child and Adolescent Research Center at UC San Diego, also received $2.7 million to lead a study focused on testing TEAMS in publicly-funded outpatient and school-based mental health services in coordination with the MIND Institute.

"I'm thrilled to collaborate with Dr. Stahmer and UC Davis on this large-scale project being conducted in two important service systems for ASD - schools and mental health programs," said Brookman-Frazee, research director of the Autism Discovery Institute at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. "In addition to advancing the science on the most effective methods to implement evidence-based treatments in public service systems, we hope this project serves as a model for cross-site collaboration and data collection between UC campuses and for community-engaged research."

The UC Davis MIND Institute is a collaborative international research center, committed to the awareness, understanding, prevention, care and cures of neurodevelopmental disorders. For more information on the MIND Institute, please visit

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