TRIAD faculty highlights and accolades

Stock photo of award

From new roles that advance autism research and primary care training at Vanderbilt to overseeing statewide licensure in Applied Behavior Analysis, faculty members from Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) are making an impact.

New roles announced for Weitlauf and Hine

Amy Weitlauf smiling

Amy Weitlauf, Ph.D.

Amy Weitlauf, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics and a Member of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC), has been named Associate Director of Research at VKC TRIAD.

Weitlauf received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas in 2003 and had earned her Master of Science and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Vanderbilt University by 2011. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship with VKC TRIAD in 2013 and became an assistant professor of Pediatrics in 2014.

Weitlauf has been co-investigator or key personnel on grants funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Mental Health, the Department of Defense, and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as being Principal Investigator of a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-funded longitudinal trial examining parent-focused stress intervention within the context of early autism spectrum disorders (ASD) diagnosis and intervention. She will assume the project director roles for VKC TRIAD’s HRSA Innovations in Care Coordination grant and the VUMC component of the National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator grant.

“We have seen tremendous growth in funded TRIAD work in recent years,” said Zachary Warren, Ph.D., executive director of TRIAD. “Specifically, we have seen growth in our research activities as well as our programmatic development related to enhancing care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders within medical homes. Dr. Weitlauf has been a tremendous force pragmatically and scientifically in advancing our research. In recognition of her essential contributions, we are pleased to name her the Associate Director of Research for VKC TRIAD.”

Jeffrey Hine, Ph.D.

Jeffrey Hine, Ph.D.

Jeffrey Hine, Ph.D., BCBA, assistant professor of Pediatrics, has been named Director of VKC TRIAD Primary Care Outreach.

Hine received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2002. He completed a Master of Education in 2005 and received his Doctorate in Psychology in 2014. After completion of a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Hine joined TRIAD in 2015 and became as assistant professor of Pediatrics in 2016.

“For the past several years, Dr. Hine has been leading our programs embedded within Children’s Hospital Primary Care Clinic, University Pediatrics, and our Med-Peds programs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center,” said Warren. “Dr. Hine will now be tasked with leading all the primary care training and support programs outlined in our HRSA grant, recruiting practice partners for our newly awarded NIMH trial of technology for ASD identification in medical homes, and leading our clinical telemedicine consultation programs across Vanderbilt Health Affiliated primary care clinics. Aligned with his new roles, he has been named the Director of VKC TRIAD Primary Care Outreach.”

“VKC TRIAD is fortunate to have leaders like Drs. Weitlauf and Hine,” said Pablo Juárez, director of TRIAD. “The areas of growth they’ve both contributed to are vital to being able to continue to research, translate to practice, and deliver the most compassionate and effective assessments and treatments possible to children and their families. Particularly, the ways in which they have each contributed to VKC TRIAD’s committed efforts to reaching more people in rural, underserved, and low-resource communities have helped us take leaps forward in providing services to those who need it but previously couldn’t be readily reached.”

Spiess appointed chair of ABA Licensing Committee

Amanda Spiess, B.S., BCaBA

Amanda Spiess, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA

Amanda Spiess, an educational consultant with TRIAD, has been appointed chair of the Applied Behavior Analyst Licensing Committee, which was created in 2014 by an act of the State Legislature.

The Committee’s mission is “to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of Tennesseans by requiring those who practice applied behavior analysis within this state be qualified. The Committee awards licenses to qualified candidates who have met the qualifications for licensure as set out in the Practice Act . The Board interprets the laws, rules, and regulations to determine the appropriate standards of practice in an effort to ensure the highest degree of professional conduct.”

“Amanda Spiess is an exceptional behavior analyst and a thoughtful, innovative leader,” said Juárez. “This new role she was elected to further shows this to be true, not only at TRIAD, but statewide and in the greater community of behavior analysis providers. As the new chair of this committee, Amanda will have the opportunity to build critical professional relationships across groups of practitioners and positively impact systems of collaborative care. I’m thrilled to know the state of Tennessee has a strong advocate and leader in this role. We need her!”

Staubitz receives service award

John Staubitz, M.Ed., BCBA

John Staubitz, M.Ed., BCBA

John Staubitz, M.Ed., BCBA, TRIAD behavior consultation coordinator and an assistant in Pediatrics, was awarded one of two inaugural Department of Pediatrics Service Awards for Excellence in Psychology and Behavioral Science.*

The awards are given to individuals who, through their role within behavioral health, exemplify the five pillars of VUMC: People, Service, Quality, Growth & Finance, and Innovation.

“John Staubitz is an outstanding behavior analyst who has made a number of important contributions to VUMC during his time at TRIAD,” said Sarah Jaser, Ph.D., associate professor of Pediatrics and director of Psychology / Behavioral Health within the Department of Pediatrics Office of Faculty Development. “John leads the School-Age Behavior team and has led initiatives to participate in exciting research about novel assessment techniques and to improve the quality of coaching providing to educators. Both of these initiatives have significantly improved the quality of behavior analytic services across the state. His colleagues continually seek him out for his expertise, as do other professionals in the field. John’s contributions to the TRIAD team, VUMC, and the individuals we serve are important for all of us and it is a pleasure to work with him!”

“John has continually made important contributions to our work in schools across Tennessee,” said Juárez. “Not only has his vision, drive, and leadership led us to serve more students and educators, but it has also led us in developing important novel and ethical directions forward in the development of assessment and intervention services, particularly those focused on reaching students and educators in rural, low-resource, and underserved communities. He has developed partnerships with some of the leading behavior analysts in the country and continues to garner great interest in our service delivery models. We would not have the capabilities, nor the trajectory for continued growth and development, which we currently enjoy without John. He is without a doubt one of the best practicing behavior analysts in the country, and we’re extremely fortunate to have him here with us.”

*The second award was given to Linda Ashford, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics and Psychology, and a VKC Member.

Courtney Taylor is VKC director of Communications and Dissemination.

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This is a monthly email of Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Notables published by the Communications staff of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. Between issues of Notables, you can stay up to date on the latest Vanderbilt Kennedy Center news, information, and resources via the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Facebook page.