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By Erin F. Jones, BA, manager of research operations for Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Neuropsychology Department
The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) at Kennedy Krieger Institute is a subsidiary site for a RADx-UP (Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics: Underserved Populations) grant, which is a National Institutes of Health-funded initiative with the goals of understanding factors associated with disparities in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, and laying the foundation to reduce disparities for underserved populations.
This exciting and important work is a collaboration between the IDDRC at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine; the Institute for Human Development at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (Missouri’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service); and Kennedy Krieger entities, including the IDDRC, the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities and Kennedy Krieger School Programs. Specifically, this project is aimed at supporting the health and well-being of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary goals of the project are to:
- Assess national perspectives among parents of children with IDD and school staff members regarding the impact of the pandemic and importance of SARS-CoV-2 testing
- Determine the sustainability of in-school testing by leveraging the Association of University Centers on Disabilities network and other community partners to determine stakeholders’ perceptions of the pandemic, the need for and barriers to frequent testing, and attitudes toward testing using fuzzy cognitive mapping (FMC) and an IDD-specific COVID-19 survey
The IDDRC is currently a co-sponsor (a rotating role) of Kennedy Krieger’s Grand Rounds. The first IDDRC co-sponsored Grand Rounds took place on November 5 and featured Dr. Shafali Jeste, a behavioral child neurologist specializing in autism spectrum disorder and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Jeste is an associate professor in psychiatry, neurology and pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His presentation, “Clinical Trial Readiness for Neurodevelopmental Disorders: On the Road to Precision Health,” was well-received. The next IDDRC co-sponsored Grand Rounds will take place on January 28, 2021.