Statement from MacART on World Autism Awareness Day 2018

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.

April 2nd is annual World Autism Awareness Day – a day to recognize all those living on the autism spectrum. Here in Canada, 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


The McMaster Autism Research Team (MacART) is proud to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. MacART is a partnership between McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences, and McMaster University that aims to bridge the research-to-practice gap in ASD. MacART is designed to foster collaboration among the families, researchers, clinicians, educators, and policymakers whose lives and work are touched by ASD.


MacART has numerous initiatives underway. This includes collaborations with groups at McMaster University (Offord Centre for Child Studies, CanChild, MacDATA Institute, Health Leadership Academy), community organizations (such as CASDA, Autism Speaks, Autism Ontario, Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services, and South Asian Autism Awareness Centre), and international projects (as the only Canadian site in an NIH-funded study to develop a social-communication measure for neurodevelopmental disorders). And after a successful 2017 Research Stakeholder Symposium, we are using the stakeholder feedback we received to guide the development of future training endeavours.


Our team members continue to produce cutting-edge research. Earlier this year, a study led by MacART member Dr. Karun Singh pinpointed a gene that is linked to neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism. “Our goal is to use these findings and search for medications that can be used to treat different forms of autism,” said Dr. Singh, Scientist with McMaster’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute.


We also continue to work on the Pediatric Autism Research Collaborative (PARC) Project together with clinicians at McMaster Children’s Hospital, embedding a research protocol into ASD Services. “We are looking to engage families in research in a way that minimizes extra burden for them,” said Dr. Irene Drmic, clinical psychologist at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre and a lead investigator on the PARC Project. “This research will then help us improve the services those families are receiving and continually advance clinical care.”


MacART’s various projects are spread across our foundational pillars – research, education, community and policy – all of which aim to advance autism care and help foster increased understanding and acceptance.


Click here to download a copy of this statement.