Social Science Research

Autism Care

Research
Education
Community
Policy

Research

“Future research needs to focus not only on the biological markers of ASD but also include data about functioning, participation, and environmental barriers and facilitators.”

Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo  //  Developmental Pediatrician

 

MacART is laying the foundation for creating a systematic way of linking scientific research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at McMaster University to clinical practice at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

The physical proximity of McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences, and McMaster University has a number of characteristics that provides the rare opportunity for collaborative research. Taking advantage of existing university and clinical infrastructure and cross-appointments for clinicians at the university, ASD experts from these organizations are coming together to integrate ASD research into clinical practice.

The focus of MacART members’ research is in the areas of basic science, clinical practice, clinical research, epidemiology and statistical modelling, knowledge translation and exchange, and social science research. By promoting the collaboration of stakeholders across disciplines, MacART is reducing barriers to implementing research in clinical practice, with the goal of advancing autism care through meaningful research.

Learn more about our research HERE.

Education

MacART members are now supervising more than 50 research trainees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, and are engaged in the mentoring of junior and intermediate faculty members.

In the future, we intend to establish research and clinical training programs for students in McMaster’s undergraduate medical, health sciences, and psychology programs, and for residents and fellows in Pediatrics and Psychiatry.

By training and mentoring emerging researchers and practitioners, we will help to solidify their understanding of and commitment to using basic science to inform their clinical practice, and to use their clinical experience to help formulate research questions. It is our belief that involving these learners in MacART educational activities will promote their use of practices that advance autism care through meaningful research.

Community

“Our scientists are working collaboratively with local clinicians to generate the evidence needed to improve autism services. This symposium is a great example of McMaster’s community engagement efforts.”

Dr. Patrick Deane // President & Vice-Chancellor // McMaster University

 

The community engagement component of MacART strives to work with stakeholders and involve them as partners in every step of the research process.  By doing so, the questions that drive research begin to change. They become more meaningful because they address the real day-to-day challenges faced by children and their families, and the clinicians supporting them.

MacART aims to increase participation and involvement of members of the McMaster and Hamilton communities in the research process. With community members driving the research, new and relevant knowledge can be produced to bridge the research-to-practice gap in ASD and advance autism care through meaningful research.

Policy

“People whose lives are connected to the challenge of autism can share knowledge – from clinicians to educators to parents – and what an amazing opportunity that is. We have a real opportunity to translate challenges into research, and research into practice that will help families living with autism.”

Rob MacIsaac  //  President & CEO // Hamilton Health Sciences

 

Policies should be created using the best available evidence that make positive impacts on the lives of individuals with ASD, along with their families.

MacART’s founder, Stelios Georgiades, serves on both federal and provincial advisory committees about ASD treatment funding.  Along with the wide-ranging expertise of its many ASD experts, MacART is set to act as a highly credible source of evidence-based information to influence and inform public policy about the provision and funding of ASD diagnosis, treatment, and family supports.

MacART will continue to find ways to collaborate with policymakers to both learn more about the policymaking process, and to contribute our expertise and knowledge to inform policymaking, in order to advance autism care through meaningful research.

Social science research examines those aspects of a family’s situation that can have negative or positive influences on child development. A family’s income, the composition of the family, the services and supports available to them, the neighbourhood and community in which they live, their ethnic/cultural background, and their family history are all factors that can influence the outcomes of children with ASD.

Linda Nguyen

Linda Nguyen is a doctoral student in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University and CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research. Her research focuses on the role of siblings of a brother or sister with a disability, including ASD, during transition from pediatric to adult healthcare. 

Ayesha Siddiqua

Ayesha Siddiqua is a PhD candidate in the Health Research Methodology Program in Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact. For her PhD thesis, Ayesha is exploring the association between neighbourhood socioeconomic disadvantage and developmental outcomes of children with ASD at neighbourhood and provincial/territorial levels using multilevel modeling. Her research interests include big data analytics, modifiable determinants of health, health services evaluation, health economics, and health policy development.

Dr. Stephen Gentles

Dr. Stephen Gentles is a postdoctoral fellow at the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research. Working with Briano DiRezze and Peter Rosenbaum, he is expanding the development and implementation of the Autism Classification System of Functioning: Social Communication (ACSF:SC). He is also continuing work from his doctoral research, a study of the social psychological needs and responses of parents of children with autism as they navigate intervention.

Katia Jitlina

Katia Jitlina is a doctoral candidate in the School Psychology program at the University of British Columbia, and a psychology resident in the Autism Spectrum Disorder Service and Child and Youth Mental Health Program at McMaster Children’s Hospital. She is interested in the development of anxiety in children with ASD.

Dr. Peter Szatmari

Dr. Peter Szatmari is a clinician-scientist and an international ASD expert. He has made significant contributions to the field in many areas including diagnosis, measurement, and longitudinal development – all of which led to significant changes in our understanding of ASD as well as the classification of ASD in both the DSM-IV and DSM-5. He was a co-leader of the Autism Genome Project and leads the national Pathways in ASD study. He is the founding Director of the Canadian Autism Intervention Research Network, a patient-oriented research network in early intervention in ASD.

Dr. Jo-Ann Reitzel

Dr. Jo-Ann Reitzel is a clinical child psychologist whose research interests include early intervention for children with ASD, especially for those who are nonverbal or do not respond to Intensive Behavioural Intervention.

Dr. Vivian Lee

Dr. Vivian Lee just received her doctorate in Developmental Psychology in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University. She holds the prestigious Lawson Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and will be joining the Offord Centre for Child Studies in the Fall of 2016. She is interested in examining the barriers and facilitators to participation in recreational programs for children and youth with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Her research also explores the effects of these programs on their physical, emotional, and mental health.

Dr. Nick Kates

Dr. Nick Kates' major interests are in social and community psychiatry, quality improvement and redesigning systems of care, global mental health, person- and family-centred care, and innovative approaches to education. He has been a national, provincial, and local leader in linking mental health and primary care services and is a quality improvement advisor to the Hamilton Family Health Team.

Dr. Magdalena Janus

Dr. Magdalena Janus’ main research focus is on investigating individual, family, and community-level determinants of children’s health at the age of school entry, in communities across Canada as well as internationally. Her current research projects include the study of social determinants of health for typically developing children, and children with specific disorders, such as ASD and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and a study of health trajectories from birth to kindergarten.

Dr. Stelios Georgiades

Dr. Stelios Georgiades is the Co-Director of the McMaster Autism Research Team (MacART), and he is also the Co-Founder of the Child Health Specialization in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program at McMaster University. Dr. Georgiades’ research examines issues related to the developmental trajectories as well as the clinical and biological heterogeneity in neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly ASD. Dr. Georgiades’ research also explores issues related to inequalities in families affected by ASD.