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National Institutes of Health

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)

P.L. 109-416 (PDF file, 10 pages), the Combating Autism Act of 2006, Title III, Section 399CC of the Public Health Service Act, as amended, mandated the reestablishment of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to coordinate autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research and other efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). In July 2007, Secretary Michael Leavitt delegated the authority to reestablish the IACC to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) at the NIH has been designated the lead for this activity. Although the Committee's mission continues to focus on the efficient and effective exchange of information on autism activities, the new law expanded the responsibilities of the IACC, which was first established by the Children's Health Act of 2000  - P.L. 106-310 (PDF file, 146 pages), Title I, Section 104.

The new IACC is authorized to coordinate research efforts concerning ASD, to provide annual updates on research advances, to make recommendations to the Secretary of DHHS regarding public participation in decisions related to ASD, and to develop a strategic plan for ASD research. The Committee is governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

P.L. 109-416 requires the IACC to include both Federal and non-Federal members. The Committee includes the following Federal members or their designees: the Director of the NIH and relevant NIH Institutes, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and representatives of other Federal agencies that serve individuals with autism, such as the Department of Education. Secretary Leavitt appoints the public members. P.L.109-416 requires that the public members shall include an individual with an ASD diagnosis, a parent or legal guardian of an individual with an ASD diagnosis, and a representative of a leading research, advocacy, or service organization for individuals with ASD. The public members serve a vital role by focusing the Committee's attention on the concerns and interests of members of the autism community. The IACC serves as a forum and assists in increasing public understanding of the member agencies' activities, programs, policies, and research.

The IACC meets at least two times per year, usually in May and November. The meetings are open to the public and are held either on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland or at a nearby location. The all-day meetings include presentations and discussions about member activities and projects of the IACC. The meetings also include scientific presentations from investigators in the field of autism research. A portion of each meeting is reserved for public comment. NIH posts a summary of each meeting on the IACC website.

NIMH anticipates that the new IACC will have its inaugural meeting in late November 2007 and will adopt the first strategic plan for ASD research at its subsequent meeting in May 2008. The IACC will update the ASD research strategic plan annually.

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