CDC renews major grant for MUSC to continue autism research

Heather Woolwine

June 18, 2010

CDC renews major grant for MUSC to continue autism research

CHARLESTON -- The Medical University of South Carolina's (MUSC) Jane Charles, M.D., and Joyce Nicholas, Ph.D., were once again awarded a four-year, $2.3 million grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to continue identifying and evaluating changes in the number of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities in South Carolina.

"From the earlier South Carolina study (2002-2006), ASD prevalence increased by 43 percent," said Charles, MUSC developmental pediatrician and co-principle investigator. "Our study confirms that autism is an urgent public health concern. The renewal of our study will continue to raise awareness, help guide policy and funding, and push science toward discovering causes and better treatment."

CDC has awarded a total of $5 million per year to 11 sites in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. These sites participate in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network to provide comparable, population-based estimates of the number of 8-year-old children with ASD's and other developmental disabilities in different locations over time.

"Over the last decade we've learned that autism affects about one out of every 110 American children", said Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services. "The collaboration with these grantees is one part of an historic new investment in autism research by our agency and others to better understand this urgent public health concern and address the complex needs of people with autism and their families."

South Carolina ADDM also applied for and was granted supplemental funding, along with Missouri and Utah, to monitor ASD's and other developmental disabilities in children who are four years of age. The cooperative agreement with CDC began June 1, and continues for four years. Along with Charles and Nicholas, members of the MUSC ADDM team include Laura Carpenter Ph.D., Lydia King Ph.D., Walter Jenner, Suzanne Morton Kuker, Amy Burrell, and John Redant.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.7 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit or