UNC School of Medicine establishes Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities

May 20, 2008 — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine has established a new institute to advance research, training and treatment efforts aimed at aiding children and adults with developmental disabilities.

The new Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) brings together four existing programs on the UNC campus – the TEACCH Program (Treatment and Education for Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children); the Clinical Center for Development and Learning; the Family Support Network of North Carolina; and the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Center.

“I believe the formation of the Carolina Institute will substantially raise our ability to provide state-of-the-art treatment to individuals with developmental disabilities, conduct cutting-edge clinical and research training, and position UNC as one of the premier research programs in the country in the area of developmental disabilities,” said the institute’s founding director, Dr. Joseph Piven, Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics in the School of Medicine and in the College of Arts and Sciences’ psychology department.

The new institute will be one of the largest programs for developmental disabilities in the country and UNC’s primary source for treatment, education and research in this field. Partnerships with organizations across the state to promote and develop education and treatment programs will be an integral part of the institute’s mission. The institute will also provide important, state-of-the-art resources aimed at supporting North Carolinians with developmental disabilities and their families, and will promote research on the causes, development, effects and treatment of these conditions.

Other leaders of the institute include Jim Bodfish, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, who has been named the new director of the Clinical Center for Development and Learning. Jeffry Low, a project director at the Clinical Center for Development and Learning, has been selected as the institute’s deputy director, overseeing administrative aspects of the organization. Gary Mesibov, Ph.D., a professor in the medical school’s psychiatry department and a psychology professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Irene Zipper, Ph.D., clinical professor in the School of Social Work and a fellow with the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, will continue as directors of TEACCH and the Family Support Network, respectively.

Plans for the new institute include relocation of the Clinical Center for Development and Learning to an 18,000 square foot building on a 5 acre campus 1.5 miles south of the UNC campus, which currently houses the TEACCH program. This is pending approval of building plans by the Town of Carrboro.

Visit the institute’s new Web site, www.cidd.unc.edu to learn more.

School of Medicine contact: Stephanie Crayton, (919) 966-2860, scrayton@unch.unc.edu
News Services contact: Patric Lane, (919) 962-8596, patric_lane@unc.edu