Li-Ching Lee, PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Mental Health

John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Epidemiologic Research and Findings on Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Update

Friday, February 1, 3:00 PM

Packard Lab Room 416

Abstract: This presentation will provide information on the state of the science of autism epidemiological research. It will first summarize prevalence, secular trends, and demographic distribution of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), following with the introduction of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network and other national studies in the US. Topics on risk factors and trajectory of ASDs, living arrangement, independence, and employment of individuals with ASDs will also be discussed.

BIO: Li-Ching Lee, PhD, is a psychiatric epidemiologist with the Departments of Epidemiology and Mental Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD. She serves as co-Director of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Epidemiology at the School. Dr. Lee’s specific research interests include Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), perinatal and pediatric mental health, emotional/behavioral development, and global mental health.

Dr. Lee leads the Maryland site of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, a project funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide comparable, population-based estimates of the prevalence rates of autism and related disorders from different sites over time – the number is currently 1 in 88 children. Dr. Lee also is involved with the Study to Explore Early Development, a CDC-funded multi-site project aimed to identify factors that may put children at risk for ASDs and other developmental disabilities. Dr. Lee is currently the chair of the Data Collection Workgroup for this study.

Internationally, Dr. Lee has been leading autism epidemiologic studies in Taiwan, China, and a recently funded study in Bangladesh. Related to these efforts, Dr. Lee has been ensuring that widely used ASD assessment tools are culturally appropriate and scientifically validated for Chinese Mandarin speaking populations, and she is implementing a comprehensive parent-mediated intervention for children with ASD specifically targeting for underserved populations.

In addition, she has been the Chair of the Maryland Autism Commission’s Research Data Workgroup. The workgroup endeavors to make recommendations for integrating developmental disabilities databases across universities, hospitals, and government agencies in Maryland in an attempt to establish a state-wide autism registry.

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