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Epidemiology of Autism Lecture April 9th

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(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) - Maureen Durkin, director of the Graduate Program in Population Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, will address "The Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorder, an Emerging Global Public Health Priority," during the April UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series address.

The lecture will be held on Wednesday, April 9 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the MIND Institute auditorium, 2825 50th St. in Sacramento. The event is free and open to the public and no reservations are required.

Despite advances in awareness and understanding of autism, little progress has been made toward preventions or evidence-based practices that improve outcomes. Most of what is known about autism - its epidemiology, genetics, clinical manifestations, course and treatment - is based on research in high-income countries, where fewer than 10 percent of births occur and less than 20 percent of the world's population resides.

Durkin will discuss recent developments in the epidemiology of autism and describe opportunities to expand the horizons of epidemiology and service-delivery to include the 80-to-90 percent of affected individuals who live in low- and middle-income countries, as well as those in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in the United States.

She also will describe cultural and financial barriers to progress and make a case for incorporating concepts of the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health into the classification and epidemiology of autism spectrum disorder, with the ultimate goal of including not only primary prevention, but the enhancement of participation and social inclusion of people with autism.

Durkin is an epidemiologist and professor of population health sciences and pediatrics and Waisman Center investigator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. Her research includes the epidemiology, prevention, antecedents and consequences of neurodevelopmental disabilities and childhood injuries. She has collaborated in the development of cross-cultural methods for screening for developmental disabilities as well as methods for surveillance of autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy and childhood injuries, and has directed international studies of the prevalence and causes of neurodevelopmental disabilities in low income countries.

She is principal investigator of the Wisconsin site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network and a consultant with the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization on the measurement of child disability and early child development beyond 2015, and a member of the Institute of Medicine's Committee to Evaluate the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Disability Program for Children with Mental Disorders.


The UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, Calif., was founded in 1998 as a unique interdisciplinary research center where families, community leaders, researchers, clinicians and volunteers work together toward a common goal: researching causes, treatments and eventual preventions and cures for neurodevelopmental disorders. The institute has major research efforts in autism, fragile X syndrome, chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Down syndrome. More information about the institute and its Distinguished Lecturer Series, including previous presentations in this series, is available on the Web at mindinstitute.ucdavis.edu.