PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
September 16, 2015

Cathleen D. Bennett
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

NJ Center of Excellence Autism Summit to Showcase Research

Conference to unite families, providers, educators, researchers and policymakers

To spark dialogue and provoke thought on the newest ideas and hopes in autism research, the New Jersey Center of Excellence (NJ ACE) Coordinating Center at Montclair State University will host the NJACE Statewide Autism Summit on September 18.

The conference, “The Unfolding Story of Autism Research in NJ from Cells to Society,” will unite families, providers, educators, researchers and policymakers to discuss breakthroughs in research that shape future understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Acting New Jersey Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett will attend, along with more than a dozen researchers who will share information about current research pursuits and hopes for future advancement in the autism field. More than 200 attendees are expected.

“This conference will highlight the strides New Jersey has made in enriching our understanding of autism and supporting future innovations,” Acting Commissioner Bennett said. “Developing intervention and treatment options will improve the lives of children and adults on the autism spectrum.”

Governor Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno sent a letter to Montclair State University commending the Autism Center of Excellence Coordinating Center for the integral role it has played in enhancing the lives of individuals affected by ASD. “Our administration has been and will continue to be committed to discovering new and innovative ways to support New Jersey families impacted by ASD while working to promote a greater understanding of this developmental disability that affects so many lives statewide and nationwide,” the letter stated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates an average of one in 68 children nationwide has ASD. In New Jersey, the prevalence rate is about one in 45 children.

Recognizing the need to fund clinical research and services in this area, the Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism has provided more than $35 million in research grants since 2008. The Council awards about $4 million annually from revenue generated by motor vehicle violations.

In June, First Lady Mary Pat Christie and former New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd announced $4.4 million in grants to establish Autism Medical Homes and advance research in the understanding, prevention, evaluation and treatment of autism.

“Collaboration among great minds throughout New Jersey can help identify the best way to support those affected by autism and unravel the complex questions that the study of autism deserves,” said Dr. Gerard Costa, director of the NJ ACE Coordinating Center at Montclair State University.

The summit will be held on September 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Montclair State University. For more information, visit njace-cc.montclair.edu.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter at twitter.com/NJDeptofHealth and on Facebook at facebook.com/NJDeptofHealth.

Last Reviewed: 9/16/2015