The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) is pleased to announce that Pablo Juárez, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, has been named Director of Behavior Analysis within the VKC and the Division of Developmental Medicine (DDM) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Juárez is a senior associate in Pediatrics, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and Special Education, and serves as co-director of the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (VKC TRIAD).
In this new role, Juárez will continue to lead behavior analysis programming with a focus on community-informed and community-assessed practice across TRIAD, the VKC, and the DDM. This will include the implementation of a new model for behavior analytic services developed alongside his team called Community-Assessed Practice – an extension of TRIAD’s Community-Informed Practice model – and the start of a new behavior analysis research program with a focus on compassionate and trauma-informed care. These programming initiatives, among others, will include substantive engagement with various community organizations such as VKC’s Community Advisory Council, TRIAD’s Autistic Advisory Committee, and The Arc Tennessee.
“Pablo has been an incredible leader in the thoughtful and meaningful use of behavior analysis, guiding the use of these methods within TRIAD,” said Jeffrey Neul, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. “I am very excited about the opportunities this new role will provide for Pablo to use these experiences to guide efforts across the entire VKC as well as in the Division of Developmental Medicine.”
Juárez envisions this new role as an important teamwide recognition.
“This title represents broader institutional recognition of the work our teams have been engaging in within the field of behavior analysis,” said Juárez. “We have leaders on our team – Dr. Alacia Stainbrook, John Staubitz, Lisa Wallace, Becky Haynes, Kathleen Simcoe, Mary Fleck, Lauren Weaver, Michelle Hopton, Dr. Jeff Hine, and so many others – who have driven forward novel and important initiatives and collaborations at all levels, and always with a focus on doing the absolute best for the people we serve. This is a clear recognition of the importance of this team’s work, and the remarkable support we continue to receive from institutional leaders across the VUMC footprint.”
Juárez received his undergraduate degree in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas and his M.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis at Vanderbilt University. He began working as an educational consultant and behavior analyst within TRIAD in 2008. In 2015, he was named director of TRIAD and set about growing a small and relatively stable program into a larger, dynamic, and growing enterprise with tremendous impact on Tennessee’s disabilities and special education communities.
Through his various professional service activities, he began working with and learning from autistic and autism advocates nationwide and encouraging Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) practitioners to think more critically about ABA services. In 2022, he wrote a commentary on ABA that outlines some pressing concerns and encourages practitioners to remove the ableism that continues to be a significant barrier to the progression of ABA as a practice. In the commentary, he wrote, “Behavior analysts (and other providers) need to demonstrate substantive, community-informed change in the ways behavior analysts are trained and assessed in providing ABA services at local, state, and national levels.”
In 2018, he was elected President of the Tennessee Association for Behavior Analysis (TABA), which focuses on advancing awareness, development, and access to the practice of behavior analysis in Tennessee. He has also served on the Boards of Directors of Disability Rights Tennessee and Tennessee Equality Project. Juárez collaborates closely with partners at the Tennessee Department of Education and Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to support the development of statewide systems of service, technical assistance, and training. He continues to work with colleagues across the country, including a national workgroup through the Association of University Centers on Disabilities developing a large-scale approach to resource development for ABA training programs based on community input and assessment.
“Pablo is highly regarded not only in Tennessee, but the nation, for his leadership and ability to advance applied behavior practices from families to educators to policy makers,” said Zachary Warren, Ph.D., director of the Division of Developmental Medicine and executive director for VKC TRIAD. “In this new role, he will undoubtedly will continue to shape the future of ABA research, policy, and practice in a manner that incorporates and respects the experiences of the people it serves to benefit.”