Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lurie Center for Autism Welcomes New Director

Christopher J. McDougle, MD

Christopher J. McDougle, MD
Read more at massgeneralmag.org

In October 2011, Christopher J. McDougle, MD, became director of the Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital and MassGeneral Hospital for Children. Dr. McDougle is also the nominated incumbent Nancy Lurie Marks Professor in the Field of Autism at Harvard Medical School. The Lurie Center for Autism was established in 2009 through a generous gift from Nancy Lurie Marks and the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation. The Lurie Center for Autism offers comprehensive multidisciplinary care while advancing research in autism spectrum disorders for patients from early childhood and continuing into adulthood. Over the past two years, the Lurie Center’s Lexington clinic (formerly known as LADDERS) has grown significantly. It has hired new specialists, added a range of services for adults, and launched both a rapid diagnosis program and an alternative and augmentative communications clinic. A policy and advocacy initiative has also been undertaken.

Under Dr. McDougle, the Lurie Center for Autism plans to deepen its pioneering research program and build a teaching and physician mentoring program to seed programs around the world with best practices established at Mass General.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of individuals with autism and their families,” says Dr. McDougle. “Our goals are to provide outstanding clinical care to children, adolescents and adults with autism and related disorders; to identify underlying mechanisms that cause autism in subgroups of individuals; to develop more specific treatments targeted toward these etiologic factors; and to develop the top center in the world for these missions by collaborating with talented local and national members of the neuroscience community.”

“Dr. McDougle is an internationally recognized expert in research and treatment for neurodevelopmental disorders that extend into adulthood, the major focus of the Lurie Center for Autism,” said Clarence Schutt, PhD, director and chief scientific officer of the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation. “He has an unusual ability to translate basic scientific and clinical observations into new therapies.” Previously, Dr. McDougle was the chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and the executive director of the Institute of Psychiatric Research at Indiana University School of Medicine, where he was also the Albert Eugene Sterne Professor of Psychiatry.

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