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Autism Friendly Initiative

[ Insert AFI logo ]


[ Image of 1 in 59 ]
Baio J, Wiggins L, Christensen D, et al.
Prevalence and Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental
Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2014.
MMWR Surveillance Summaries. 2018;67(6):1-23.

The Autism Friendly Initiative at Boston Medical Center aims to improve the hospital experience for patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Patients with ASD have various sensory and communication needs, which, when combined with the fast-paced and often over-stimulating hospital environment, can present obstacles to quality healthcare experiences. Through this initiative, BMC aims to address the unique needs of patients with ASD through staff training, environmental adaptation, and protocol adjustment throughout the hospital. We believe this will lead to better hospital experiences, and ideally outcomes, for patients with ASD.

Current Updates

[ Picture of PLAN parents at training ]

Caregivers from the Autism Program's Parent Leadership in Autism Network (PLAN) collaborated to present an "Autism 101" training to third year medical students at the BU School of Medicine. To learn more about trainings, click here.

[ Picture of Autism Toolbox ]

Autism Toolboxes are now being piloted at Boston Medical Center in the Pediatric Emergency Department and the BU Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. The toolbox includes items such as sensory toys and sunglasses to help patients with ASD better cope with their sensory needs. To learn more about the toolbox, click here.

Key Personnel

Marilyn Augustyn, MD - Division Director, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Sarabeth Broder-Fingert, MD, MPH - Hospitalist, Pediatrics

Shari King, MA - Program Director, The Autism Program

Lauren Bartolotti Busa, MA - Program Manager, The Autism Program

Sarah Qin, MBA - Project Coordinator, Autism Friendly Initiative

Steering Committee

Soukaina Adolphe, MD - Pediatrician, Pediatrics

Karan Barry, RN - Nurse Manager, Inpatient Pediatric Unit and PICU

Bob Biggio - Senior Vice President, Facilities and Support Services

Alix Carey - Director of Family Philanthropy and Deputy Director of Development, Office of Development

Christine Cheston, MD - Pediatrician, Pediatrics

Eileen Costello, MD - Chief of Ambulatory Pediatrics, Medical Director, Pediatric Primary Care

William DeBassio, MD - Neurologist, Pediatric Neurology

David Dorfman, MD - Chief of Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics

Molly Ann Duggan, MS, CCLS - Child Life Manager, Child Life

Brenda English, MSW, LICSW - Manager of Social Work, Care Management

Ivys Fernandez- Pastrana, JD - Project Manager, Pediatrics Family Navigation Program

Lisa Fortuna, MD, MPH - Medical Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Shauna Gaughan, MEd - Residency and Addiction Fellowship Coordinator, Psychiatry

Elizabeth Hutton, MD - Medical Director, Pediatric Inpatient Unit; Hospitalist, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics

Sheryl Katzanek - Director, Patient Advocacy

Kristen Kremer, MPH, MA - Senior Manager of Patient Experience, Accessibility Committee Co-Chair, Accessibility Committee

Jack Maypole, MD - Director, Comprehensive Care Program (CCP), Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Jonathan McCurry - Senior Project Manager, Planning, Design, and Construction

Melissa Nass, MD, MPH - Pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics

Susannah Rowe, MD, MPH- Ophthalmologist, Ophthalmology

Dana Rubin, MD, MSW - Psychiatrist, Pediatrician, Departments of Pediatrics and Child Psychiatry

Kimberly Schwartz, MD - Medical Director, Child Protection Team, Pediatrics

Norman Stein, MPP, MA - Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer, Office of Development

Bob Vinci, MD - Chairman, Pediatrics

Jodi Wenger, MD - Pediatrician, Comprehensive Care Program, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Athanasios Zavras, DMD, DDS, MS, DrMedSc - Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatric Dentistry


Jacalyn Bedard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MBA Candidate)

Daniel Cahill, Boston University (Masters Candidate)

Sharon Chao, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Julia Goupil, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Courtney Grygiel, Tufts University

Kaitlyn McArdle, MS, BCBA, LABA

Samson Park, Cornell University ’14

Kirquenique Rolle, Boston University

Asia Williams, Northeastern University