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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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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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Emma Ockuly, BA, is a clinical research coordinator with the AARTS Center. She coordinates community-based behavioral and early intervention research. She received her B.A. in Human Developmental Psychology at DePaul University. Emma provides support by assisting with patient evaluations, facilitating study visits and submitting to regulatory boards. She has previously worked in community psychology research. Emma hopes to continue working within psychology research for children in the future.

Study Coordinator/ Provider Liaison

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Kathleen Flores, B.S., is a clinical research coordinator with the AARTS Center. She provides support with coordinating study events with families, as well as conducts assessments at different timepoints. She received her degree in Developmental Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Go Illini!) and has previous experience in infant cognition research. Kathleen hopes to keep contributing to the medical field in the future.
Assessor/Caregiver Liaison

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Lizzy Fitts, B.A., is a clinical research coordinator with the AARTS Center. She facilitates community-based behavioral and early intervention research through family engagement and assessments. With previous experience in community outreach and social initiatives, she hopes to unite advocacy and research in advancing mental-health awareness of under-served and minoritized communities.

Assessor/Caregiver Liaison

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Other Rush Team Members:

  • Edith Ocampo, MS

  • Kathleen Flores, BA

  • Camille Brune, Phd

Read more about the AARTS Center at Rush here:

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

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