ECHO Autism: Training Community Clinicians to Provide Quality Care for Adults on the Autism Spectrum

The Department of Defense Autism Research Program is funding a training opportunity and research project to enhance the quality of healthcare for adults on the autism spectrum, a program hosted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

Primary care providers—physicians, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants— are invited to participate in videoconferencing sessions focusing on caring for the unique needs of autistic adults. Through this training, providers will learn skills that will help them care for a broad range of patients, including information on psychotropic medication management and how to help patients sleep.

The program includes two series of trainings, which will meet for one hour every other week for six months. The next series will start Nov. 4, 2021, and run through April 2022. Sessions will be held at 12:00 p.m. Central Time/1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Participants will 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.

More than 500,000 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.

This ECHO Autism program, which uses live videoconferencing, gives participants opportunities to present their own de-identified cases and provides short didactics to enhance practice skills. Providers get real-time advice about their patients from autism experts, and they will get written recommendations for issues presented in the cases. Providers can join the videoconferences from their home or office over lunch or a break.

This program is being developed by autism specialists at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, the University of Virginia, and the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Beth Malow, director of the Vanderbilt Autism Treatment Network site, is the Vanderbilt investigator for this project.

For more information, or to be a part of this training program, please contact Janet Shouse, study coordinator, at Janet.Shouse@vumc.org.

Our Team

Our Autism ECHO team includes:

  • Beth Malow, M.D., M.S.
    Neurologist, Autism & Sleep Medicine Specialist
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Gary Stobbe, M.D.
    Neurologist & Autism Specialist
    University of Washington Medicine
  • Mavara Agrawal, M.D.
    Med-Peds Physician & Autism Medical Specialist
    Florida International University College of Medicine
  • Rachel Loftin, Ph.D.
    Clinical Psychologist & Autism Behavior Specialist
    Chicago, IL
  • Alexander Westphal, M.D., Ph.D.
    Psychiatrist & Autism Behavior Specialist
    Yale School of Medicine
  • Stephen Shore, Ed.D.
    Professor, Special Education, & Self-Advocate
    Adelphi University
  • Amy Hess, B.A., Grad Cert
    Family Navigator & Parent Advocate
    Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • David Caudel, Ph.D.
    Physicist, Self-Advocate, & Associate Director
    Vanderbilt Center for Autism and Innovation