Center for Autism and Developmental Medicine

David H. Ledbetter Ph.D., FACMG
David H. Ledbetter Ph.D., FACMG

The Center for Autism and Developmental Medicine (CADM) will explore and interrogate Precision Health models for optimizing medical, behavioral, and psychiatric care and outcomes in children and adults with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs, e.g., intellectual disability, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, schizophrenia).

The mission of the CADM is to serve as a highly collaborative hub where research excellence informs clinical excellence to drive better outcomes and enhanced quality of life for individuals with autism and NDDs. The vision for CADM is that this center will facilitate the recognition of UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville and UF Health Jacksonville as the regional leader in cutting edge, multidisciplinary, precision health approaches to diagnosing, treating and managing autism and NDDs.

Briefly, the highly collaborative teams within CADM will focus on identifying the specific genetic etiology of each individual presenting to our institution with NDD as early in life as possible. This will be accomplished by following current professional society guidelines and expert consensus recommendations for exome or genome sequencing with copy number variant (CNV) calling. Related to this, the anticipated 25-50% of individuals with NDD who have a positive genetic diagnosis will have their downstream care needs met through the development and execution of more personalized disease-specific care pathways and navigation protocols. In parallel, our faculty and staff will benefit from the development and implementation of clinical decision support systems to guide care for some of our most vulnerable patients and their families. At its core, CADM will incorporate implementation science approaches, combined with clinical informatics, bioinformatics, and data science/AI to analyze all available clinical data, genomics data, and social determinants of health for each patient to optimize outcomes.

From an organizational view, this new center will fall under the Institute for Population Health within the Office of Research Affairs (ORA) in the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville (COMJ). Through this matrix structure, CADM will partner with the IPH’s various Resource Centers (e.g., CDS, CBP, CHEER) as well as relevant clinical departments in the COMJ (including but not limited to psychiatry, pediatrics, internal medicine and neurology). Together, we will develop collaborative care models, enhance clinical capacity, identify and fill gaps in care, and build an externally funded clinical research program with full IDC returns.

We will provide more details (i.e., leadership, cross-department collaborations, funding model, etc.) about this exciting new center for our campus in the coming months with a planned full launch in FY25.