MacART 3rd Autism Research Symposium

MacART 3rd Autism Research Symposium

MacART held its 3rd symposium on Friday, May 26th, 2023 at McMaster Innovation Park, from approximately 9:00am to 4:00pm. This year’s symposium theme was “Autism and Mental Health: Towards an Ecological Lifespan Approach”.

We coupled expert talks from leaders in the field with innovation and implementation sessions to engage key partners and collaborators in how to bridge the research-to-practice gap across child, youth, and adult mental health services. We were excited to have key partners and collaborators participate in discussions that will inform and improve interdisciplinary collaborations moving forward.

Our keynote speakers were Dr. Micah Mazurek and Dr. Yona Lunsky, each of whom focused on this theme across the lifespan – from childhood, to youth/adolescence, to adulthood. 

In our interactive and collaborative innovation sessions, we worked together in groups to broaden the lens on mental health using an ecological framework to include child, youth, and adult well-being within families, schools, neighbourhoods, and other contexts.

This theme is a topic ripe for innovation, and it produced excellent discussions leading to the identification of collaborators’ priorities related to the intersections of autism and mental health! Thank you to all who joined us.

To learn more about the ideas and knowledge that came from the Symposium, please see our report:

Read the 2023 MacART symposium report HERE (PDF).

Date: Friday, May 26, 2023 – 09:00 to 16:00

Location: McMaster Innovation Park (MIP), Hamilton, Ontario

Agenda: MacART Symposium Agenda 2023

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Micah Mazurek, University of Virginia

Keynote: “A Contextual Approach to Mental Health and Autism”

(See slides HERE)

Dr. Mazurek is Novartis U.S. Foundation Professor of Education at the University of Virginia, Director of the Supporting Transformative Autism Research (STAR) initiative, Director of the Blue Ridge Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (Blue Ridge LEND) program, and a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in autism. She has an active program of federally-funded research focused on understanding and improving outcomes for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Her current projects focus on developing new tools, techniques, and technologies for improving diagnosis, treatment, and access to care. Her work also focuses on examining positive and negative aspects of screen-based technology use, and on improving health and mental health outcomes for children and adults on the autism spectrum.

Dr. Yona Lunsky, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Keynote: “Partnerships in Autism Mental Health Research” 

(See slides HERE)

Dr. Lunsky is the Director of the Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre and the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities Program (H-CARDD) at CAMH in Toronto. She is also Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at University of Toronto, Adjunct scientist at ICES, and a clinical psychologist. Her work focuses on mental health and developmental disabilities, including autism, in adulthood. She has a strong interest in building bridges between science, policy and practice, and in working collaboratively with adults with disabilities, families and service providers to design innovative approaches to address healthcare gaps.

Group Activity Facilitator

Lisa Lachance, Wisdom2Action

Lisa Lachance, Founder of Wisdom2Action, facilitated our group activities for the day. We are truly grateful to them for bringing their energy, knowledge, and skills to share with our attendees during the MacART symposium.

Research Symposium Report

Below is an interactive flipbook version of the symposium report:

Community Collaborators

We were pleased to have some of our key collaborators and a variety of community organizations on hand with informational tables, promoting their important works and sharing resources:

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