Agreement will study existing delivery system and provide training for better care

ATLANTA—The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) and the Emory Autism Center (EAC) have signed an agreement to improve Georgia’s community-based infrastructure for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Georgia families have said that it is hard to find high-quality developmental disability care for adults living with autism. This often results in costly and inefficient use of emergency services. The partnership between Emory and the state aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of services for adults with ASD, so that they have easier access to the proper type of care.

DBHDD, which provides services for adults with severe forms of autism, works to ensure that all individuals served receive easy access to high-quality care. “The number of adults with autism spectrum disorder is expected to grow rapidly in the upcoming years,” said Darlene Meador, Ph.D., director of strategy and special projects in the department’s Division of Developmental Disabilities. “This partnership is critical to identifying service gaps for adults with ASD who are, or will be, receiving these services.” 

Under the terms of the contract, Emory will analyze DBHDD’s current service delivery system; evaluate service quality of the department’s community providers; and develop recommendations for services, policies and procedures that will improve the care provided to adults with ASD, especially those with high levels of need.

“The needs of adults with autism spectrum disorder vary widely and can be quite complex,” said Joseph Cubells, M.D., Ph.D., director of medical and adult services at the Emory Autism Center. “We are looking forward to working with our colleagues at DBHDD to enhance our state’s capacity to respond to the growing need for services for adults living with autism and their families.”

Following Emory’s recommendations, the next phase of the contract will focus on building DBHDD’s service system to improve care. “This partnership will support high-quality developmental disability services for adults with severe forms of ASD by providing training and ongoing technical assistance in evidence-based approaches,” said Meador.

Emory will begin its study and analysis immediately. 


Angelyn Dionysatos
Press Secretary, DBHDD
[email protected]
(404) 463-8035

Kathi Baker
Associate Director of Media Relations
Emory University School of Medicine
[email protected]
(404) 710-9812