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Jean Frazier named director of Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMass Chan

  Jean A. Frazier, MD, has been named the director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMMS.
  Jean A. Frazier, MD, has been named the director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMMS.

Child and adolescent psychiatry leader Jean A Frazier, MD, has been named the director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMMS, a new program that brings together three entities—the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopmental Initiative (CANDI), the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CANDO) and the former Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Developmental Disabilities.

The expanded and integrated Shriver Center at UMMS will bring the medical school’s extensive expertise and resources in autism spectrum disorders to bear on improving the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Dr. Frazier, the Robert M. and Shirley S. Siff Chair in Autism, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics and vice chair and director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, assumes her new role July 1.

“We are confident that she will be the ideal leader for the newly merged center and for the broader neurodevelopmental research effort on the campus,” said Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine.

“The CANDO clinic and CANDI research program have assisted countless families in the region,” said David Polakoff, MD, MSc, chief medical officer for Commonwealth Medicine, which has overseen the Shriver Center since it became part of UMass Medical School in 1997. “Bringing them together with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at UMMS will collaboratively enhance the critically important academic research, education and service missions. We are enthusiastic about the coming together of these tremendous resources and the leadership Dr. Frazier will provide in the coming years.”

An expert in child psychopharmacology and child and adolescent neuropsychiatry, Frazier, with her research team, has been engaged in clinical studies to advance the understanding of the underlying causes of developmental, emotional and behavioral disorders in youth. In the coming months, she will develop a strategic plan to fully integrate the related work underway throughout the medical school and Commonwealth Medicine. With the merger, Frazier brings her preeminent scientific and clinical scholarship to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, which has a 45-year history of internationally recognized contributions to the understanding of intellectual disabilities and evidence-driven policy formation for those affected by these conditions.

Previously the director of child psychopharmacology and co-director of the Center for Child and Adolescent Development, and director of the Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatric Research Program at Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, Frazier received her bachelor’s degree in music from Wellesley College and medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School, and completed her residency at New England Medical Center.

“Dr. Jean Frazier is not only a world-class clinical and translational researcher in child and adolescent mental illness, she is a caring clinician who puts patient care first and has demonstrated excellence in teaching and community partnerships,” said Douglas Ziedonis, MD, professor and chair of the UMass Department of Psychiatry.

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Shriver Center education expert leading instructional reform
Having access to treatment is life-changing, UMMS autism experts tell WCVB-TV’s Chronicle
As autism rate soars, early intervention urged
UMass Medical School ‘lights it up blue’ for autism awareness