Virginia Autism LINKS: Leading Innovation through Navigation, Knowledge and Supports


As the prevalence of autism continues to rise, more and more children and families need access to high quality services in their communities. Beginning intervention as early as possible is critical for young children with autism, and can help them achieve much better developmental outcomes. Unfortunately, provider shortages, long waitlists, high costs, and language, cultural and geographic barriers can lead to delays in both diagnosis and intervention. As a result, many children – especially those from rural and underserved areas – are not able to access the care they need.

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The goal of "Virginia Autism LINKS: Leading Innovation through Navigation, Knowledge and Supports" (VA-LINKS) is is to enhance access to evidence-based, comprehensive, coordinated, culturally competent, and family-centered care for children and youth with autism and other developmental disabilities in underserved areas of Virginia.

The Virginia Autism LINKS project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of award number 6 H6MMC332330101.

Principal Investigator: Micah Mazurek

  • Project Team

    The Virginia Autism LINKS project team includes faculty and staff from the UVA Curry School of Education and Human Development and the UVA School of Medicine, in partnership with community stakeholders from across central and southwest Virginia.

    Headshot of Micah Mazurek
    Micah Mazurek, PhD
    Associate Professor of Education, Director, STAR
    Headshot of Beth Ellen Davis
    Beth Ellen Davis, MD, MPH
    Professor, Developmental Pediatrics
    Headshot of Karen Orlando
    Karen Orlando, MSEd
    Family Navigator
    Headshot of Stephanie Tharp
    Stephanie Tharp, MT
    Family Navigator
    Headshot of Rose Nevill
    Rose Nevill, PhD, BCBA
    Research Assistant Professor of Education, ARC Director
    Headshot of Erica Rouch
    Erica Rouch, PhD
    Research Assistant Professor of Education
    Headshot of Jane Hilton
    Jane Hilton, PhD, CCC-SLP
    Assistant Professor
    Headshot of Katheryn Frazier
    Katheryn Frazier, MD
    Professor, Developmental Pediatrics
    Headshot of Cecilia Margret
    Cecilia Margret, MD, PhD, MPH
    Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Science
    Headshot of Keith Page
    Keith Page, MTS
    ECHO Coordinator
  • Project Goals
    1. Improving access to early identification and evidence-based care for children with or at risk for autism and other developmental disabilities.
    2. Increasing access to coordinated and integrated care for underserved children with or at risk for autism and other developmental disabilities.
    3. Strengthening knowledge and self-efficacy among families of children with autism and other developmental disabilities.
  • Project Activities

    1. Implement an interactive virtual tele-mentoring program and learning network to train and support community-based primary care providers in best practice care for autism. Learn more here.
    2. Bring together key stakeholders in underserved areas to identify local strengths, assets, and needs through a Community Asset Mapping process.
    3. Implement a virtual learning community to enable health care providers, educators, therapists, service providers, and family members to share strengths-based strategies for improving care delivery and coordination for children with autism in underserved areas of Virginia.
    4. Provide family support, education, resource navigation, and care coordination for families of children with our at-risk for autism in underserved areas of Virginia. Learn more here.