October 28, 2015
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced its Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell’s appointment of ASAN Director of Public Policy Sam Crane to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). The IACC is a Federal advisory committee that coordinates research and services programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concerning autism. As Director of Public Policy at ASAN, Ms. Crane is an outspoken advocate for ensuring that autistic people are included in all decisions concerning the community, including fighting for increased research on supports and services to improve autistic individuals’ quality of life. ASAN’s President, Ari Ne’eman, and ASAN co-founder, Scott Robertson, have both previously served on the IACC.
Ms. Crane will be one of only three autistic individuals among the fifteen public members of the IACC. As a result, autistic individuals constitute only one-fifth of the IACC’s public membership. By comparison, at least one-third of the IACC’s public membership is the parent of an autistic child. ASAN has long called for an increase in the number of autistic members of the IACC. Although the Autism CARES Act, which became law in 2014, increased the minimum number of self-advocate members of the IACC from one to two, this proportion is still far too low.
As a member of the IACC, Ms. Crane’s responsibilities will include contributing to an updated Strategic Plan for autism research, helping to prepare annual summary of advances in autism research, helping to monitor federal autism-related activities, and providing guidance to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on autism-related matters.
The first meeting of the new committee will take place on November 17, 2015 in Rockville, Maryland. For a complete list of new public members of the IACC, click here. To learn more about the IACC, visit http://iacc.hhs.gov.