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Allie Wainer, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Rush, and the Research Director of the AARTS (Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment & Services) Center at Rush. Dr. Wainer has extensive experience with assessment, behavioral intervention, and parent training for individuals with ASD. Her program of research focuses on ways to increase access to intervention for young children with ASD and related neurodevelopmental conditions. She also provides training and consultation in ASD Early Intervention and Parent Coaching for community-based providers in the United States and Internationally.

Principal Investigator

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Natalie Berger, PhD, is a licensed pediatric neuropsychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Rush. Dr. Berger specializes in neuropsychological assessment, with a focus on helping families to understand the neurodevelopmental sequelae associated with their child’s complex medical condition. Her program of research focuses on developing a more comprehensive understanding of the early emerging social cognitive abilities of young children with ASD and related neurodevelopmental conditions. Dr. Berger also has extensive experience with behavioral intervention and parent training for individuals with ASD, and provides training and consultation in ASD Early Intervention and Parent Coaching for community-based providers. 

Co-Investigator

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Latha V. Soorya, PhD, BCBA, is a licensed clinical psychologist, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Rush and Director of the AARTS Center. Dr. Soorya has been providing clinical care to individuals with ASD and related neurodevelopmental conditions for over two decades. She brings expertise in clinical evaluations and is a trainer on gold standard autism diagnostic instruments. Dr. Soorya’s research seeks to develop and disseminate evidence-informed therapies for social and mental health needs of individuals with ASD across the lifespan. Her current research includes studies of novel social skills groups model and digital health tools to advance diagnostics and therapy monitoring.

Co-Investigator

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Yael Stern, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Fellow on the RISE Study. Yael received her PhD in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Northwestern University where she also completed the requirements for her clinical certification in speech-language pathology. Yael’s training has focused on delivering and studying caregiver-mediated communication and language interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorder. She has experience in delivering in-person, home-based early intervention, as well as caregiver-mediated early intervention vie telehealth. Yael’s research focuses on how understanding family characteristics can improve the design and delivery of individualized, family-centered early interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. 

Postdoctoral Fellow

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Anna Hirshman, BA, is an associate clinical research coordinator with the AARTS Center. She coordinates community-based behavioral and early intervention research. Anna provides support by assisting with patient evaluations, facilitating study visits and submitting to regulatory boards. She has previously worked in cognitive, developmental, and community psychology research and as an Applied Behavioral Analysis counselor in early education.

Study Coordinator/Provider Liaison

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Dennis Sotelo Martinez, BA, is a clinical research assistant with the AARTS Center. She coordinates community-based behavioral and early intervention research. Dennis provides support by facilitating study events and closely communicating with families particpating in research. 

Research Assistant/Caregiver Liaison

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Other Rush Team Members:

  • Edith Ocampo, MS

  • Luke Hermle, BS

  • Cameron Cooper, MPH

  • Kathleen Flores, BA

Read more about the AARTS Center at Rush here:

https://www.rush.edu/services/autism-care