Michael F. Collins, MD,  FACP
University of Massachusetts Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences and UMass Medical School Chancellor, Clinical Professor of Medicine

A Few Words from The Chancellor - 2014The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center have each distinguished themselves nationally and internationally in the areas of research, education, and public service.  In 2000 when the Shriver Center became a part of UMMS, we strengthened our mission to improve the lives of all people of Massachusetts, particularly vulnerable populations and persons with disabilities.  UMMS provides institutional support for many of the Shriver Center’s initiatives; in turn, the Shriver Center fortifies the Medical School’s capacity to meet the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.  

The Shriver Center is known for advancing scientific knowledge relevant to understanding and ameliorating the challenges faced by individuals with developmental disabilities, training leaders in the field, and for service efforts that enhance the health, safety, and quality of life of the individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.  Partnerships with international universities extend the reach of our research, training, and service efforts.   UMMS and the Shriver Center are devoted to reducing the impact of disease and disability, developing programs to attend to the health care disparities experienced by persons with disabilities, educating compassionate professionals, and supporting the full participation of people with disabilities in community life.

A Message from Charles D. Hamad, PhD – Interim Director of the E.K. Shriver Center     
A Message from Charles D. Hamad, PhD – Interim Director of the E.K. Shriver CenterIt has been more than thirty years since the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center established itself as an international presence in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Through its research, education and service programs, the Center pursues a three part mission:  1) to search out and understand the causes of intellectual and developmental disabilities for prevention and treatment; 2) to offer state-of-the art education to undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate professionals in the intellectual and developmental disabilities field; and 3) to provide effective, high quality services to people with developmental disabilities. 

Inspired by the exemplary contributions of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her family, our scientists, clinicians, and service professionals have maintained a consistent standard of excellence in their chosen fields.   We are proud of our outstanding faculty and staff and of the leadership position that the Shriver Center has achieved in many areas of science and service to people with disabilities and their families.

Throughout our history, our Center has sustained a research program that addresses many of the fundamental dimensions of developmental disabilities.  Our neuroscientists are at the forefront of research that addresses critical genetic, physiologic, and environmental influences on the development of the nervous system.  Our behavioral science programs are clarifying key psychological processes in typical and atypical development.   As our work progresses, a growing priority is to translate our research findings into effective approaches for meeting the challenges associated with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

As science and technology continue to advance, we look forward to the day when many developmental disabilities that are now commonplace may become rare or nonexistent.  We recognize, however, that many children will continue to be born with or acquire disabilities.  For these children, it is essential to provide appropriate person- and family-centered services that maximize opportunities for meaningful participation in family and community life.  In addition to providing such services, the Shriver Center recognizes its ability and responsibility to provide education and training to the current and next generation of researchers, service professionals, educators, and leaders in the field of mental retardation and developmental disabilities. 

We hope you will find yourself engaged by our exemplary activities and will be encouraged to make your own contributions to this worthwhile dimension of human service.