The UCLA Semel Institute Reception Celebrates the Launch of The Help Group - UCLA Autism Research Alliance

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This spirited occasion was hosted by Dr. Peter C. Whybrow, Director, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Semel Insititute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, and Dr. James McCracken, Director, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Semel Insititute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior. The event was attended by UCLA and The Help Group colleagues, faculty and friends and took place at the Semel Institute in Westwood.

Applied research is essential in furthering the development of evidence-based best practices for the effective education of children with autism spectrum disorders. Together, we look forward to opening new doors of opportunity to many more children and families living with autism.

On Monday, September 10, 2007, the UCLA Semel Institute held a special reception to mark the launch of The Help Group - UCLA Autism Research Alliance. This spirited occasion was hosted by Dr. Peter C. Whybrow, Director, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Semel Insititute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, and Dr. James McCracken, Director, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Semel Insititute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior. The event was attended by UCLA and The Help Group colleagues, faculty and friends and took place at the Semel Institute in Westwood.

The Help Group - UCLA Autism Research Alliance is an innovative partnership between The Help Group and the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. It is dedicated to enhancing and expanding clinical research in autism spectrum disorders education and treatment and to contributing to the development, greater understanding and use of best practice models by educators and clinicians.

Dr. Whybrow, Dr. McCracken, Dr. Barbara Firestone, President & CEO of The Help Group and Vice Chair of the Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism, and Dr. Liz Laugeson, Director of The Help Group - UCLA Autism Research Alliance, shared their remarks about this exciting endeavor. During the proceedings, Dr. Whybrow acknowledged Dr. Paul Satz, Professor Emeritus, Semel Insititute, for his pioneering efforts to develop The Help Group - UCLA Neuropsychology Program, which was established ten years ago, Dr. Robert Bilder, Professor & Chief of Medical Psychology at the Semel Institute for his support of the ongoing collaboration between UCLA and The Help Group. Dr. Philip Levin currently directs The Help Group-UCLA Neuropsychology Program.

Dr. Whybrow gave a special tribute to Dr. Firestone, presenting her with an honorary crystal Bruin Bear in recognition of her vision and leadership and her dedication to the development of the alliance. In her acceptance, Dr. Firestone thanked Dr. Whybrow, Dr. McCracken and UCLA colleagues for their commitment to this partnership and said, "Applied research is essential in furthering the development of evidence-based best practices for the effective education of children with autism spectrum disorders. Together, we look forward to opening new doors of opportunity to many more children and families living with autism."

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