A Message from David H. Ledbetter, PhD Chief Scientific Officer
Over the past two years, colleagues from both the genetics and the autism research communities have frequently asked me why I moved to Geisinger. One major reason relates to my personal research interests. I believe that Geisinger is the right place to develop a national model for integrating early and accurate diagnosis of developmental disorders, medical and behavioral treatments, parent, sibling, and teacher training and support with a broad program of research and training.
The Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute will be a learning organization at every level:
- We will test and refine our clinical processes.
- We will use the genomics of developmental disorders for diagnosis and for developing individualized treatment plans.
- We will, in conjunction with area colleges and universities, expand the workforce by developing new training programs for students in proven behavioral treatments.
- We will encourage each patient, each sibling and each parent to participate in research.
State-of-the-art research tools such as fMRI imaging, high performance computing, whole genome sequencing and electrophysiology are critical to the research programs. Our ambitions for this Institute are bold because current treatments for these common developmental disabilities (1 in 88 for autism spectrum disorder and 1 in 15 for all developmental disorders) are not satisfactory, and we think it will be possible to develop improved treatments and even cures in some cases. The interdisciplinary team, in partnership with our families, will significantly enhance our understanding of autism and developmental disorders and help us ensure that each patient can reach his or her individual potential.