Speaker Biography
Eileen Crehan, Ph.D. Eileen Crehan, Ph.D.

Dr. Crehan is an assistant professor at Tufts University and her research efforts center on social impairments and social functioning of adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Her work employs eye tracking and psychophysiological monitoring systems to capture the nuances of social perception and response. Dr. Crehan has applied these approaches to better understand social cognition in ASD, as well as to examine how social communication and perspective-taking impact gaze behavior, emotion perception, and physiological arousal transdiagnostically. In addition to perception, Dr. Crehan is interested in the development of programming relating to sexuality and relationship formation for autistic individuals and seeks to address content limitations and accessibility challenges relating to current sexuality education programs.

Brenna Maddox, Ph.D. Brenna Maddox, Ph.D.

Dr. Maddox is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. As the implementation scientist at TEACCH, her work focuses on improving community services for people on the autism spectrum across the lifespan. She is particularly interested in training and supporting community mental health clinicians, modifying cognitive-behavioral therapy for people on the autism spectrum with anxiety or depression, and preventing suicide in this population. Her research has been supported by the NIMH, PCORI, the Foundation of Hope, and the FAR Fund. Dr. Maddox is also a clinical psychologist with expertise in the assessment and treatment of co-occurring psychiatric conditions in autism. She serves on the expert hub team for ECHO Autism: Mental Health. In addition, she is a deputy editor for the journal, Autism in Adulthood, and a co-chair of the American Association of Suicidology’s Autism and Suicide Committee.

Aubyn Stahmer headshot Aubyn Stahmer, Ph.D.

Dr. Stahmer is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Davis, and Director of Community-based Treatment Research, UC Davis MIND Institute. Her research focuses on inclusion and intervention services in the area of autism and the translation of evidence-based practices for this population to community settings. She has led multiple federally-funded projects examining collaborative adaptation and implementation of interventions for children with autism into community and school programs. She is part of the Autism Intervention Research Behavioral Health Network which is a multi-site community-partnered participatory research project designed to increase access to ASD services for under-resourced families.

Maria Davis-Pierre headshot Maria Davis-Pierre, LMHC 

Maria is the Founder and CEO of Autism in Black Inc. This organization aims to bring awareness to Autism and reduce the stigma associated with the diagnosis in the Black community. Maria’s passion for working in the field stems from her personal journey when her daughter received the diagnosis at a very early age. Maria uses a strength’s based approach to provide support and feedback to help clients in developing solutions that are needed to make the changes they want in their lives. Maria graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sociology and went on to obtain a Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Maria is currently working on her Ph.D. in Family Therapy from Nova as well.

Jamie Pearson headshot photo Jamie Pearson, Ph.D.

Dr. Jamie Pearson, a former behavioral interventionist and autism program consultant, is an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences at North Carolina State University. Dr. Pearson earned her PhD in Special Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she developed FACES (Fostering Advocacy, Communication, Empowerment, and Support), a parent advocacy program designed to support Black families raising autistic youth. Dr. Pearson’s research focuses on: (a) disparities in autism identification, service access, and service utilization, (b) the impact of parent-advocacy and empowerment training on child and family outcomes, and (c) strategies to promote positive parent-professional partnerships between educators and historically marginalized communities. Dr. Pearson’s FACES program is funded by a 2021 Early Career Development and Mentoring Grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (R324B210003). She is also a Co-Principal Investigator on a project designed to promote STEM career development among autistic high school students, funded by the National Science Foundation. Her work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals in the fields of special education and racial and ethnic disparities, and she has written several invited and refereed book chapters on autism, families, and racial and ethnic disparities in special education.


*Speaker financial disclosures can be found here