Tennessee Council On Autism Spectrum Disorder Holds First Meeting

Wednesday, October 04, 2017 | 10:16am

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

CONTACT: Cara Kumari
OFFICE: 615-613-1017

Council will meet quarterly, focus on development of long-term plan

NASHVILLE—The newly created Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder held its first meeting in Nashville on Wednesday. 

The council, under the oversight of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD), seeks to establish a comprehensive statewide long-term plan for a system of care for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families.   It has also been charged with making recommendations in program development for all levels of autism spectrum disorder services for both children and adults. 

“With the rates of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder rising, it’s important that we ensure we are focusing on how best to support Tennesseans with autism throughout the lifespan,” DIDD Commissioner Debra K. Payne said.  “The voices on this council will play an important role in shaping policy to improve outcomes for thousands of children and adults.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in 68 children have been identified to have autism spectrum disorder, a sharp increase in prevalence since the turn of the century.

The council is made up of persons with autism spectrum disorder and families members appointed by Governor Haslam,  along with state agency representatives from the departments of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Education, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Commerce and Insurance, Human Services, Health, the Division of TennCare, the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the Commissioner on Children and Youth. 

The creation of this council has been long desired by people with autism spectrum disorder and their families as well as advocacy groups.   It was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly during the 2017 Legislative Session. 

A complete member list is below.

  • Quentin Humberd, M.D. (chair)
    Family Member
  • Emelyne Bingham
  • Mary Ellen Chase
    Family Member
  • Roddey Coe
    Family Member
  • Michael Collins
    Family Member
  • William Edwards
    Family Member
  • Beth Malow, M.D.
    Family Member
  • Jenness Roth
    Family Member
  • Iseashia Thomas
    Family Member
  • Jeanine Miller, Ph.D.
    Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Carolina Clark, M.D.
    Department of Health
  • Alison Gauld
    Department of Education
  • Ginger Day
    Department of Human Services
  • Lorrie Brouse
    Department of Commerce and Insurance
  • Matt Yancey
    Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • Vaughn Frigon, M.D.
    Division of TennCare
  • Wanda Willis
    Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • Rose Naccarato
    Commissioner on Children and Youth              


About the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is the state agency responsible for administration and oversight of community-based services for approximately 8,000 people with intellectual disabilities as well as 4,000 people through the Family Support Program.   Every day, the department strives to support people to live rewarding and fulfilling lives.  It does so by ensuring people are free to exercise rights, engage with their broader communities and experience optimal health.  DIDD is the first and only state service delivery system in the nation to receive Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership.  It has also been recognized as a national leader in its efforts to increase competitive, community-based employment outcomes for people with disabilities.