Coordinating Center of Montclair State University (CC-MSU) – NJ ACE Site Coordinator

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are complex neurodevelopmental disorders with early childhood onset. The prevalence of ASD may be increasing, and ASD is more common than previously thought. These disorders, for which there is presently no cure and only limited treatments, generally have lifelong effects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that an average of 1 in 88 children in the United States has an ASD. As part of the same CDC study, the prevalence rate for the New Jersey sites was established at 1 in 49 children.


The Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism (Council) was created by State appropriation in 1999 and has been issuing research, clinical and educational enhancement grants since 2000. As detailed in P.L. 2007, c. 168, the Council is to establish an Autism Center of Excellence in the State.

New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence (NJ ACE)

The mission of the New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence (NJ ACE) is to research, apply and advance best practices in the understanding, prevention, evaluation and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, enhancing the lives of individuals across their lifespans.  The NJ ACE will fund three Program sites which will conduct clinical research projects that address the national priorities described in the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Strategic Plan and have the potential to improve the physical and/or behavioral health and well-being of individuals with ASDs.  They will also fund one Coordinating Center.

Purpose: Coordinating Center

The role of the Coordinating Center at Montclair State University  is to support  and advance the mission of three newly funder New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence (NJ ACE) clinical research sites The NJ ACE Coordinating Center will provide common management and support functions to unify the NJ ACE Program Sites by serving as the voice of the NJ ACE and promoting the sharing of lessons learned and best practices in the conduct of clinical research.

Functions: Coordinating Center

  • Unify ACE Program sites
  • Provide general support functions and project assistance for Program sites
  • Increase efficiency and reduce costs for Program sites
  • Promote the sharing of best practices and lessons learned in the conduct of clinical research
  • Coordinate information learned from the ongoing project/research
  • Ensure regular communication between and within Program sites
  • Increase efficiency for subject recruitment and retention (i.e. IRB issues)
  • Create common outreach materials for Program sites
  • Conduct a multi-method, cross-site evaluation to assess context, implementation, participation, and achievement of the Program Sites’ yearly project objectives
  • Establish, manage and support a password protected web-based application for Program sites
  • Develop standard operating procedures for Program sites such as data entry, management, submission to the National Database for Autism Research
  • Organize clinical trainings (i.e. for clinical instruments such as the ADOS)
  • Provide biostatistics consultation services

Core Team: The Coordinating Center at Montclair State University

Principal Investigator – ASD expertise/clinical research/Leadership experience:

Gerard Costa, Ph.D.
Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health
14 Normal Avenue
Tel: 973-655-6675

Coordinating New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence research studies:

Project Coordinator: Karen Hood-Kasim, M.P.H.
University Hall, 2105
Tel: 973-655-7573

Research Associate: Eileen McKeating, Ph.D.
University Hall, 2105
Tel: 973-655-7950

Program Evaluation:

Eden Kyse, Ph.D.
Center for Research and Evaluation on Education and Human Services
University Hall Rm 2176
Tel: 973-655-5167

ASD Treatment/Project management:

Kaitlin Mulcahy, M.A.
Associate Director
Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health
14 Normal Avenue
Tel: 973-655-6692


Haiyan Su, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Statistics/Biostatistics,
Mathematical Sciences Department
Richardson Hall 246
Tel: 973-655-3279

IT data management:

Dr. Jerry Fails
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science
Richardson Hall 309
Tel: 973-655-4289

Purpose statement: The Coordinating Center at Montclair State University: Creating Multi-Site Collaborative Learning Organizations

In creating a Coordinating Center which fosters consistent learning, relationship-based practices in supervision and mentorship, and collaborative, multidisciplinary perspectives, we aim to both model the vision of expansion and inclusion in leadership and organization style, as well as encourage research sites to adopt this clinical perspective as they expand their own expertise in the research and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders.