Dr. Mackenzie Salt Receiving Funding for a National Needs Assessment for Canadian Autistic Adults

Autism Care



“Future research needs to focus not only on the biological markers of autism 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 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, autism experts from these organizations are coming together to integrate autism 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.


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.


“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 autism and advance autism care through meaningful research.


“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 Autistic individuals, along with their families.

MacART’s founder, Stelios Georgiades, serves on both federal and provincial advisory committees about autism supports/service funding. Along with the wide-ranging expertise of its many autism 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 autism diagnosis, services, 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.

We are excited to share the incredible news that at the 2023 Canadian Autism Leadership Summit the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health announced $214,883 in funding for a project to create and distribute a national needs assessment survey for Autistic adults!

This research project is led by MacART member Dr. Mackenzie Salt in collaboration with the Autism Alliance of Canada, and in partnership with the Sinneave Family Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Azrieli Foundation, as well as MacART and the Canadian Journal of Autism Equity.

With this funding, the Autism Alliance of Canada will develop a survey that will include questions about factors affecting quality of life such as employment, social relationships, health, and daily living. The survey findings will be used to inform a National Autism Strategy. The survey data will also be made publicly available for other researchers, service organizations, and policymakers to use to assist with the development of policies, services, and research projects that directly address identified needs of Autistic adults in Canada.

Dr. Salt, an Autistic adult himself, codesigned the survey with 10 other Autistic adults, making this a project by Autistics for Autistics. Dr. Salt said, "This is a perfect opportunity for Autistic adults to be able to inform the development of policy that will affect us, and for our experiences and perspectives to be heard by the federal government.”   

For more information, please see the Public Health Agency of Canada’s official news release

Dr. Mackenzie Salt and Dr. Jonathan Lai speaking with the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health

Dr. Mackenzie Salt (pictured: right) and Dr. Jonathan Lai (pictured: middle) speaking with

the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health (pictured: left)