doctor Find a doctor
Breadcrumbs that show current page

Autism Friendly Initiative

Boston Medical Center Autism Friendly Initiative

The Autism Friendly Initiative at Boston Medical Center aims to improve the hospital experience for patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Patients with ASD have various sensory and communication needs, which, when combined with the fast-paced and often over-stimulating hospital environment, can present obstacles to quality healthcare experiences.

The goal of the Autism Friendly Initiative at BMC is to develop and then implement best practices that would ultimately define Boston Medical Center (BMC) as an Autism Friendly Hospital. This initiative is a coordinated effort involving stakeholders from across the hospital as members of our Steering Committee. Through this initiative, BMC aims to address the unique needs of patients with ASD through staff training, environmental adaptation, and protocol adjustment throughout the hospital. We believe this will lead to better hospital experiences, and ideally outcomes, for patients with ASD.

Current Key Initiatives

We are in the process of submitting grants, designing research pilots, conducting in-depth stakeholder interviews, and holding trainings, among other exciting projects.   

Key Personnel

  • Marilyn Augustyn, MD - Division Director, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
  • Sarabeth Broder-Fingert, MD, MPH – Hospitalist, Pediatrics
  • Shari King, MA - Program Director, Autism Program
  • Lauren Bartolotti, MA - Program Manager, Autism Program
  • Sarah Qin, MBA - Project Coordinator, Autism Friendly Initiative

Steering Committee

  • Soukaina Adolphe, MD - Pediatrician, Pediatrics
  • Karan Barry, RN - Nurse Manager, Inpatient Pediatric Unit and PICU
  • Bob Biggio - Senior Vice President, Facilities and Support Services
  • Alix Carey - Director of Family Philanthropy and Deputy Director of Development, Office of Development
  • Christine Cheston, MD - Pediatrician, Pediatrics
  • Eileen Costello, MD - Chief of Ambulatory Pediatrics, Medical Director, Pediatric Primary Care
  • William DeBassio, MD - Neurologist, Pediatric Neurology
  • David Dorfman, MD - Chief of Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics
  • Molly Ann Duggan, MS, CCLS - Child Life Manager, Child Life
  • Brenda English, MSW, LICSW - Manager of Social Work, Care Management
  • Ivys Fernandez- Pastrana, JD - Project Manager, Pediatrics Family Navigation Program
  • Lisa Fortuna, MD, MPH - Medical Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Shauna Gaughan, MEd - Residency and Addiction Fellowship Coordinator, Psychiatry
  • Elizabeth Hutton, MD - Medical Director, Pediatric Inpatient Unit; Hospitalist, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
  • Sheryl Katzanek - Director, Patient Advocacy
  • Kristen Kremer, MPH, MA - Senior Manager of Patient Experience, Accessibility Committee Co-Chair, Accessibility Committee
  • Jack Maypole, MD - Director, Comprehensive Care Program (CCP), Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
  • Melissa Nass, MD, MPH - Pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics
  • Susannah Rowe, MD, MPH- Ophthalmologist, Ophthalmology
  • Dana Rubin, MD, MSW - Psychiatrist, Pediatrician, Departments of Pediatrics and Child Psychiatry
  • Kimberly Schwartz, MD - Medical Director, Child Protection Team, Pediatrics
  • Norman Stein, MPP, MA - Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer, Office of Development
  • Bob Vinci, MD - Chairman, Pediatrics
  • Jodi Wenger, MD - Pediatrician, Comprehensive Care Program, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
  • Athanasios Zavras, DMD, DDS, MS, DrMedSc - Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatric Dentistry


  • Daniel Cahill - Providence College, BS ’12; Boston University MS anticipated ‘18
  • Julia Goupil - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BS anticipated ‘18


To learn more about the Autism Friendly Initiative, or if you would be interested in participating in the initiative, please contact us at [email protected] or 617.414.4247.