Social Science Research

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.

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 Autistic children's outcomes.

Dr. Jean-Eric Tarride

Dr. Jean-Eric Tarride is a Professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact. He is also Director of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA) - a world-class interdisciplinary health research centre that fosters excellence in acquiring, producing and communicating socially-relevant knowledge in the fields of health economics and health policy analysis to inform fair and sustainable health and social systems. With his expertise in health economics, Dr.

Dr. Yun-Ju (Claire) Chen

Yun-Ju (Claire) Chen is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences, under the supervision of Dr. Stelios Georgiades. Her research interests centre around applying cutting-edge quantitative methodology (e.g., structural equation modeling, clustering, item response theory) to improve early detection of Autism and to better understand the heterogeneous manifestations of Autism over time, as well as its differentiation from other developmental disorders during childhood.

Rita Jezrawi

Rita Jezrawi is a PhD student in Health Policy program. Her research interests are in health-related quality of life and the social determinants of health for children and adults with developmental disabilities. She is interested in informing regional policy development and evaluation to improve access to care and resources.

Lorraine Hoult

Lorraine Hoult is a Clinical Psychometrist at the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in the Autism Program.  Her clinical and research interests include genetics of autism, predictors of treatment response and outcome, risks of premature birth, provincial and federal policies, Autism program development and evaluation.  

Dr. Mohammad Zubairi

Dr. Mohammad Zubairi is a Developmental Pediatrician & Assistant Professor at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre at McMaster University. His primary area of clinical work is with Autistic children and youth. His research focus is on understanding how elements related to a patient’s cultural context are incorporated into clinical reasoning within health professionals' education, and how we can best teach about and support critical reflection around such issues.

Dr. Linda Nguyen

Dr. Linda Nguyen is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy (SPOT) at McGill University. She aims to engage with interested parties (including youth, siblings, families, healthcare professionals, civil societies, and policy makers) in patient-oriented research projects and policy to support children with disabilities, including autism, and their families.

Dr. Ayesha Siddiqua

Dr. Ayesha Siddiqua completed her PhD in the Health Research Methodology Program in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University. For her PhD thesis, Dr. Siddiqua conducted a pan-Canadian study examining the association between neighbourhood socioeconomic disadvantage and developmental outcomes of Autistic children at neighbourhood and provincial/territorial levels using diverse analysis methods, including multilevel modeling.

Dr. Stephen Gentles

Dr. Stephen Gentles was a postdoctoral fellow with MacART, under the supervision of Dr. Stelios Georgiades. His research examines the social psychological needs and responses of parents of Autistic children as they navigate intervention. He is now a CIHR Health System Impact Fellow in a project that is a partership between an academic institution and a community organization; he is co-supervised by Dr. Stelios Georgiades (McMaster University) and Margaret Spoelstra (Autism Ontario).

Dr. Peter Szatmari

Dr. Peter Szatmari is a clinician-scientist and an international Autism 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 Autism as well as the classification of Autism 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.

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 Autistic children and youth and children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Her research also explores the effects of these programs on their physical, emotional, and mental health.