Autism Expert to Lead Institute for Brain Development

Fran Lowry

June 02, 2011

June 2, 2011 — Catherine Lord, PhD, a leading expert in autism spectrum disorders, has been named director of the new Institute for Brain Development at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University Medical Center.

She will also be appointed to the faculties of Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Catherine Lord

The Institute, which is located in White Plains, New York, was created in collaboration with the New York Center for Autism and will focus on the evaluation and treatment of individuals living with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disorders of the brain. It is scheduled to open in 2012.

"I am thrilled to have been chosen to lead the Institute for Brain Development and help shape its development," Dr. Lord said in a statement. "My goal is nothing short of transforming the way autism is treated in the New York metro area and beyond. We intend to provide the very best environment for treating autism spectrum disorder."

Dr. Lord comes to the Institute for Brain Development from the University of Michigan, where she currently serves as director of the Autism and Communication Disorders Center. She holds the academic position of professor in the Department of Psychology, Psychiatry and Pediatrics, and is Senior Research Scientist in the University of Michigan’s Center for Human Growth and Development.

She will lead a multidisciplinary team comprising physicians from Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University Medical Center with specialties in pediatrics, psychology, neurology, and psychiatry, as well as specialists in speech and language and occupational and behavioral therapies.

Dr. Lord has been instrumental in developing the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview–Revised (ADI-R), tools that have become the gold standard for the diagnosis of autism, according to the statement.

No One Better

"With growing numbers of children affected by autism spectrum disorders, there is an ever increasing need for a comprehensive program dedicated to providing the very best in diagnosis and treatment," Herbert Pardes, MD, president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York, said in a statement.

"There is no one better suited to lead this program than Dr. Catherine Lord. Her decades-long work of listening and working closely with patients and their families has helped us better understand the unique and complex ways these disorders manifest. And her work to codify and share this knowledge is helping improve the lives of countless individuals and their families."

Dr. Lord graduated with a BA in psychology from UCLA summa cum laude and received a PhD from Harvard University. She received postdoctoral training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has held faculty appointments at the University of Chicago; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of Alberta School of Medicine, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She was also a visiting professor at the NYU Child Study Center, New York University School of Medicine.

Dr. Lord has also won numerous honors and awards, including the Patricia Buehler Legacy Award for Clinical Innovation, from the American College of Occupational Therapy; the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Clinical Psychology, from the Society of Clinical Psychology; and the Asperger/Kanner Medal from the Free University of Berlin.


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