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Our Scientific Advisory Board

  • Bridget A. Taylor, Psy.D., BCBA-D

    Dr. Taylor currently serves as Senior Clinical Advisor and Board Chair of Rethink Autism’s Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Taylor has specialized in the education and treatment of children with autism for the past twenty-five years. She is the Executive Director of the Alpine Learning Group, a highly regarded education and treatment center for children with autism in New Jersey, which she co-founded in 1988. Dr. Taylor serves on several editorial boards including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavioral Interventions, and Behavior Analysis in Practice. She is also a member of the Autism Advisory Group for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, is a board member of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment. Dr. Taylor is a national and international speaker and has authored numerous research articles and book chapters related to autism.

    Dr. Taylor is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Psychologist. She holds a Doctorate of Psychology from Rutgers University, and received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Columbia University.

  • Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D.

    Dr. Gerhardt is President and Chair of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding applied research and disseminating the relevant findings in support of learners with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. Dr. Gerhardt has over 25 years experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with an ASD in educational, employment, and community based settings. As director of the Division of Transition and Adult Services at the Douglas Developmental Disabilities Center, he co-founded the Douglas Group, a social and support service for adults with Asperger’s Disorder. He is the author or co-author of articles and book chapters on the needs of adults with autism spectrum disorders, the school-to-work-transition process, assessment of social competence, and analysis and intervention of problematic behavior. He has presented nationally and internationally on these topics. Dr. Gerhardt currently serves on numerous professional advisory boards, including the Autism Society of America, MAAP Services, Autism NJ and ASPEN.

    Dr. Gerhardt received his doctorate from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. In 2007 Dr. Gerhardt was awarded the John W. Jacobson Award for Significant Contributions to Effective Behavior Intervention by the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis.

  • Catherine E. Lord, Ph.D.

    Dr. Lord currently serves as Director of the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center, Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Senior Research Scientist at The Center for Human Growth and Development. She is also the interim Director of the Asperger Institute at the NYU Child Study Center. Dr. Lord is a clinical child psychologist who is world renowned for her longitudinal studies of children with autism and for taking the lead in developing the autism diagnostic instruments used in both practice and in research worldwide. The Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule have been critically important in providing standardized methods for research on the genetics and neurobiology of autism because they provide psychometrically valid and reliable tools for identifying and quantifying the behaviors that define autism. Dr. Lord collaborates with colleagues around the world on the molecular genetics, pathophysiology, and phenomenology of Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

    Dr. Lord is a member of the Scientific Advisory and Scientific Review Boards of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative and also the Chair of the Early Intervention in Autism Committee at the National Academy of Science. She received the Irving B. Harris Early Childhood Lecture Award in 2004 and was a Finalist for the New York University Child Study Center Scientific Achievement Award in 2005. Dr. Lord has published over a hundred articles in peer-reviewed journals in addition to numerous books and chapters.

    Dr. Lord received her Ph.D. in psychology and social relations from Harvard University. She has worked at the University of North Carolina, University of Minnesota, University of Alberta, the London Medical Research Council Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, Harvard University (Children's Hospital) and University of Chicago.

  • Louis A. Vismara, M.D.

    Dr. Vismara is the co-founder of the M.I.N.D. Institute at the University of California, Davis. This multidisciplinary organization now serves as one of the foremost academic centers for the evaluation, research, and treatment of autism and other neurodevelopmental/learning disorders. Lou is a physician (interventional cardiologist) and a parent of four children. Since his son, Mark, was diagnosed with autism he has dedicated himself to issues of child development, learning differences, diversity, and appropriate access to health care for under-served populations. In the year 2000, Dr. Vismara changed careers, retiring from interventional cardiology, to work as a health-related policy consultant for Senator John L. Burton, President pro Tempore, California State Senate. From 2004 until 2008, Lou served as a senior policy advisor to Sen. Don Perata during his term as the President of the California Senate. During that time, Lou worked extensively on the formation and the implementation of the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism and the Autism Legislative Package of 2007-2008. Currently, Lou continues to work as a senior policy consultant for special projects with the current Pro Tem, Senator Darrell Steinberg. Lou, who was born in Italy and immigrated with his family to San Diego as a child, has served as a founding State Commissioner of the First 5CA/Prop 10 Initiative; the UCD School of Education Advisory Board; the Child Abuse Prevention Council; and other groups related to early education, healthcare and diversity.

    Dr. Vismara received his MD from Baylor College of Medicine and his BA from Stanford University. He is the recipient of a Cardiology Fellow from UCD Healthcare System and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine & Cardiovascular Diseases.

  • Patricia Wright, Ph.D. MPH

    Dr. Wright joined Rethink's Scientific Advisory Board in 2010 and moved into her current role as Vice President of Professional Services in 2014. In her current role she works with the Professional Services Team to ensure Rethink's products are implemented effectively, promoting quality outcomes for individuals with autism and other disabilities. Prior to joining Rethink Dr. Wright was the National Director of Autism Services for Easter Seals one of the largest social service providers to those living with autism. Dr. Wright has a passion for education and advocacy and has dedicated her career to ensuring that individuals with disabilities are fully-included in society. Her personal mission is to offer the support that makes it possible for people with disabilities to lead meaningful, happy and productive lives. Dr. Wright began her career as a special educator and has provided consultative services to educators and healthcare providers. Wright's expertise as an educator and Board Certified Behavior Analyst inform her individualized approach to creating effective intervention plans. She knows that early diagnosis and intervention offer the best outcomes, but also is a proponent of appropriate treatment for anyone with at any age. Everyone has the ability to learn. Dr. Wright frequently presents at national and international conferences, and is been invited to deliver workshops and presentations nationally and internationally. She is a member of the Organization for Autism Research's Scientific Council and has served on the Executive Committee for the Friends of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

    Dr. Wright received her doctorate in Education and her Master of Public Health from the University of Hawaii in 2006. She received her Master of Arts in Special Education degree from San Francisco State University in 1997.

  • Maurice Feldman, Ph.D., C.Psych., BCBA-D

    Dr. Feldman is a Professor and Director of the Centre for Applied Disability Studies, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. He has made significant contributions to research and the dissemination of evidence-based assessment and intervention in several key areas in developmental disabilities including autism, dual diagnosis, behavioral interventions, early intervention, child maltreatment, parent training and human rights. He has held major federal, provincial and foundation research grants; he has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has given over 300 invited and keynote addresses, and conference and workshop presentations. His latest book is Comprehensive, competence-based parenting capacity assessment of parents with learning difficulties, published by NADD Press.

    He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, He is a Registered Psychologist in Ontario and a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association. He held a Chancellor’s Chair in Research Excellence and Distinguished Researcher Award from Brock University, and a Career Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

    He was awarded the United States National Distinguished Disability Researcher Award and he was a special advisor to the President’s Committee on Intellectual Disabilities. He was a visiting scholar at the University of Sydney (Australia) and the British Psychological Society. Currently, he is an advisor to several governmental and non-governmental organizations in Canada, U.S. and Europe. He was Editor of the Journal on Developmental Disabilities and was/is on the editorial boards of Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of Behavioral Education, Journal of Child and Family Studies, Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, Behavioral Interventions, among others.

    His current research interests cover the lifespan and include early detection and intervention for infants at risk for ASD, treatment of anxiety in child and youth with ASD, human rights training for adults with intellectual disabilities and parenting by persons with learning difficulties. His research was cited in an Amici Curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on a case adjudicating parenting rights of persons with intellectual disabilities. His work has been highlighted in the U.S. and Canadian media.

  • Nicolette Bainbridge Brigham, Ph.D.

    Dr. Brigham is an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington and also serves as the Director of Training and Outreach for the University of Washington Autism Center. Dr. Brigham has worked with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families for over fifteen years in the home, clinic, educational and employment setting. Dr. Brigham’s background is in early childhood special education and she has served as both an educator and director of early intervention programs. Dr. Brigham has also worked as an autism consultant in the public school system with elementary through secondary students with ASD and has extensive experience training teachers and other school personnel to work with students with ASD. Dr. Brigham research interests include peer mediated inclusion for secondary students with autism spectrum disorders and training efficacy for school personnel who work with students with ASD. Dr. Brigham holds a Doctorate of Philosophy from Vanderbilt University and received her Master of Science in Education from the University of Kansas.

  • William R. Jenson, Ph.D.

    Dr. Jenson is a full professor and past Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Utah. He is the founder of the Pingree Center for Children with Autism which he directed for nine years before going to the University of Utah. He is affiliated with the Utah Autism Project in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Utah and serves on several advisory boards. He has been an Associate Editor for the School Psychology Review, and served on the editorial boards of School Psychology Quarterly, Journal of Emotional and Behavior Disorders, School Psychology International, and reviews for several other journals. He has written and published over one hundred research articles, chapters, and books. Dr. Jenson has been Project Director on several funded projects i ncluding Personnel Preparation in Autism and low incidence disabilities and Leadership from the US Office of Education. His research includes early intensive intervention, meta-analytic reviews of evidence based practice interventions, social skills training, and the management of severe problematic behaviors for children with autism. His research workgroup has recently published a twenty year longitudinal study of individuals with high-functioning autism. He has been a researcher for the collaborative UCLA-University of Utah epidemiological survey of autism. Dr. Jenson is a national and international speaker for children with disabilities, particularly on research and interventions based on his Tough Kid Book series.

    Dr. Jenson received his Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis and school psychology from Utah State University. He received an MS in experimental psychology and a BS in psychology from the University of Utah. Dr. Jenson is a Fellow of Division 16 (School Psychology) of the American Psychological Association and a member of the Society for the Study of School Psychology. He has several awards for service from the Utah Autism Society, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Association of School Psychologists, and the Extraordinary Service Award from the Utah Behavior Initiative.

  • Jamie Pagliaro

    Mr. Pagliaro currently serves as Executive VP & Chief Learning Officer of Rethink Autism, Inc. and member of Rethink’s Scientific Advisory Board. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Pagliaro was Executive Director of the New York Center for Autism Charter School, the first charter school for children with autism spectrum disorders in New York. The program has received national recognition from the media and a number of professional publications as a model for children with autism in the public school system. In the early part of his career, Mr. Pagliaro worked directly with individuals with disabilities in all stages of life across a variety of home and school settings.

    Mr. Pagliaro has an MBA from Villanova University and a BA with honors in Psychology from Wesleyan University. He speaks nationally, serves on several professional advisory boards, and has authored numerous articles on the use of technology in special education.

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