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WHO WE ARE
AMCHP’s State Public Health Autism Resource Center (SPHARC) is a comprehensive web-based resource center intended to provide ongoing technical assistance and facilitate cross-state learning to increase the capacity of states, particularly Title V programs, in developing and implementing systems of care for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities (ASD/DD) through resource development, technical assistance, and peer learning.
As a web-based resource center, SPHARC creates different resources to support states and jurisdictions that are working to improve the systems and services that serve children with ASD/DD and their families. Resources include e-learning modules, presentations, infographics, reports, trainings, and toolkits. SPHARC creates these resources to inform public health practice at the state- and local-level and to support you in serving children and youth with ASD/DD and their families.
One way that SPHARC serves as a resource is by providing technical assistance (TA) to support states, particularly Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) programs, to learn how to implement or adapt a specific practice to improve systems of care for children and youth with ASD/DD in their state. TA can include intensive one-on-one support from SPHARC staff on a specific topic or skill, creating collaborative cross-state learning opportunities, planning and hosting webinars, and supporting in-person site visits or other trainings.
One of SPHARC’s major projects is leading a Community of Learners for recipients of the Health Resources & Services Administration’s (HRSA) Innovation in Care Integration for Children and Youth with ASD/DD Program grants. This project supports the use of innovative, evidence-informed strategies of family navigation and provider training to achieve the goal of improving state system-level care integration for children and youth with ASD/DD and their families in medically-underserved areas and populations. SPHARC also facilitates other peer learning opportunities with others in the ASD/DD field, including former recipients of the aforementioned grant.
The SPHARC team strongly believes in the guiding principle in the disability community of “Nothing about us, without us.” As such, SPHARC is very committed to promoting messages around autism acceptance by focusing on sharing positive, respectful, accurate information about autism and Autistic people and is supporting the co-creation of an “Autistic Faculty” to carry out this commitment.
SPHARC IN ACTION
2022 AUCD Conference Panel: The Autistic Faculty: Creating a Model To Infuse & Elevate Lived Experience Year-Round
MEET OUR TEAM
Paige Bussanich Falion, MS
Paige (Bussanich) Falion, MS, is the Associate Director for child health and children and youth with special health care needs on the child and adolescent health team at AMCHP. She has over 10 years of extensive experience in working with individuals with disabilities in research, evaluation, and outreach. Paige is the Project Director and oversees the implementation of all SPHARC activities, with a specific focus on alignment with other Autism CARES funded efforts as well as the Title V MCH Services Block Grant program.
Mallory Cyr, MPH
Mallory Cyr, MPH, is the Program Manager for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) on the child and adolescent health team at AMCHP. Mallory brings an extensive background of 14+ years of experience and a strong understanding of the CYSHCN population. Mallory manages all aspects of SPHARC, leading the Autism Community of Learners and development of SPHARC resources and technical assistance offerings, highlighting the importance of lived experience. Mallory is incredibly passionate about improving opportunities for meaningful stakeholder engagement,and applying personal lessons learned to her work from her lived experience navigating systems for CYSHCN and people with disabilities in multiple states.
Maura Leahy, MPH, CHES
Maura Leahy, MPH, CHES is the Program Manager on the child and adolescent health team. She supports many projects across AMCHP’s child and adolescent health portfolio. Her work with SPHARC includes managing the Autistic Faculty, designing technical assistance opportunities like the Peer-to-Peer Exchange and Autism Acceptance Month programming, and developing resources. Maura is passionate about supporting MCH professionals to make their work accessible to everyone and ensuring that Autistic voices are included in all of SPHARC’s work.
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