I am a health services researcher and psychiatric epidemiologist who seeks to identify the best ways to organize, finance and deliver services to children with psychiatric and developmental disabilities. The goal of my current research is to improve care for children with autism and their families by developing successful interventions at the individual, provider and system levels to decrease the age at which children with autism are recognized and enter treatment, and to improve the services and supports available to them and their families.
To that end, I am pursuing two lines of research. The first examines the effects of national, state and local policies and resources on treatment for people with autism. This research has been cited nationally and internationally as providing the first estimates of ethnic disparities in the recognition of autism, the first estimates of autism-related Medicaid-reimbursed expenditures, and the most rigorous estimates of psychotropic medication use among people with autism.
The second line of research examines the best ways to move proven-efficacious interventions into real-world settings so that these approaches maintain their effectiveness and sustain over time. This research relies heavily on meaningful partnerships with community organizations within Pennsylvania. While this research is in its infancy, we have already begun to develop strategies to increase the use of evidence-based practices within community-based education and health care settings.
I also work as an advocate to move research findings into practice. For example, I co-chaired the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Autism Task Force and consult with the Department of Public Welfare to help them develop appropriate policies to meet the needs of families of children with autism. I also served as a member of the core team for the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s 2007 Blue Ribbon Commission on Children's Behavioral Health.
Sample of Significant Publications
Mandell DS, Listerud J, Levy SE, Pinto-Martin JA. Race differences in the age at diagnosis among Medicaid-eligible children with autism. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2002. 41(12): 1447-1453.
Mandell DS, Morales KH, Marcus SC, Stahmer AC, Doshi J, Polsky D. Psychotropic medication use among children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. Pediatrics. 2008. 121(3): e441-e448.
Mandell DS, Novak MN, Zubritsky CD. Factors associated with the age of diagnosis among children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. 2005. 116(6): 1480-1486.
Mandell DS, Palmer RF. Differences among states in the identification of autistic spectrum disorders. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 2005. 159(3): 266-269.