This announcement solicits applications for the Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network Program. This cooperative agreement opportunity will establish and maintain a national scientific and clinical research network that will promote and coordinate research activities in developmental, behavioral, and psychosocial aspects of pediatric care to improve clinical services and health and related outcomes for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. Â The Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network Program was first implemented in 2010. Â The network infrastructure will support the design and implementation of interdisciplinary research studies that focus on the translation of research to practice; provide the mentoring environment to train a new generation of developmental behavioral pediatrics researchers; and foster the implementation of multi-site research studies. The awardee will complete the following major activities: Infrastructure Development: Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Develop and maintain a national network (hereafter referred to as â€śthe Networkâ€ť) of research entities that foster collaborative relationships in research designed to improve access to care, quality of clinical care and treatment for children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disabilities; and Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Identify gaps and develop and/or update a research agenda for scientific studies building upon advances in research and practice in developmental and behavioral pediatrics. Communications: Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Develop a schedule of on-going communication among Network members and with the HRSA/MCHB Project Officer. Network Activities: Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Implement Network activities and research to improve access to care, quality of clinical care and services, and health outcomes for children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disabilities.Â Such activities and research should address the needs of underserved populations, such as low-income, racial/ethnic minorities, individuals with limited English proficiency, individuals who have limited access to services, and/or other vulnerable populations; Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Develop and implement at least three multi-site research studies that will address gaps and promote the research agenda identified by the Network; Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Leverage external funding for network research studies or implement network research through both MCHB and external funding sources for at least one multi-site research study; Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Enhance the research training and mentorship of a diverse group of junior/new investigators through the use of innovative mentorship/research experiences; and manuscript development drawing upon emerging researchers from within the network; Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Translate research findings into clinical practice, as applicable per study findings. Dissemination: Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Maintain a Network website to disseminate research findings, activities and products and to engage with the field on Network research and other activities; Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Develop and implement a plan to disseminate Network findings through at least two peer-reviewed publications per multi-site study, webinars, annual Network meetings, conference presentations, and other related dissemination activities.Â These activities should serve to facilitate the transfer of Network findings to a broader audience including researchers, health professionals and providers, policy makers, educators, families, and Title V Children with Special Health Care Needs programs; and Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Collaborate with Autism CARES programs to foster information sharing and to advance efforts to improve the system of services for children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disabilities. This Network will advance the evidence base on improving access to care and the quality of care and treatment for children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disabilities.Â Areas of particular interest and priority include, but are not limited to: Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Identifying the most effective and efficient models of assessment and treatment; Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Improving access to care and quality of care for children with ASD and other developmental disabilities; Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Testing innovative treatment models to address disparities in access to care and treatment experienced by vulnerable and underserved communities, including diverse ethnic/racial, cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic, and geographic populations for whom there is little evidence regarding the effectiveness of treatments, or for whom access to effective treatments is limited; and Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Optimizing the health and related outcomes across the lifespan for children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disabilities. Consistent with HRSAâ€™s mission to improve access to quality services to underserved populations, the MCHBâ€™s intent is to ensure that research activities are responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of special populations, that services are family-centered and accessible to consumers, and that the broadest possible representation of culturally distinct and historically underrepresented groups is supported through programs and projects sponsored by the MCHB. Objectives and Function of the Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network The Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network will forge partnerships with researchers, clinicians, educators, advocates, families, including state public health programs and other organizations/agencies critical to improving the health and well-being with a focus on, but not limited to, children with ASD and other developmental disabilities.Â Establishment of strong partnerships between researchers and practitioners is required to assure that new interventions are applied in the clinical care system for the translation of vital research findings to assure better access and quality services for individuals with ASD and other developmental disabilities. The following describes multiple aspects of the Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network that applicants should consider in the development of their application: Organization and Functions The Network consists of a Network Coordinating Center (NCC) and multiple Collaborating Research Entities/Sites (CREs).Â The NCC, as the administrative center of the Network, provides leadership and maintains a partnership with its CREs.Â A sample of this structure is depicted in the following diagram: Network Organizational Structure The NCC is located at the Principal Investigatorâ€™s institution, which is the recipient of the cooperative agreement.Â The NCC provides a core of administrative and operational functions that include the following: 1)Â Â Â Â Â Support a Network infrastructure for research partnership among CREs; 2)Â Â Â Â Â Provide the Network with administrative and operations support in activities including, but not limited to, meetings, multidisciplinary educational activities, and development of research studies; 3)Â Â Â Â Â Facilitate the process for the development, selection, implementation, and monitoring of scientific research studies; 4)Â Â Â Â Â Coordinate a plan to enhance the research training and mentorship of junior/new investigators through the use of innovative mentorship/research experiences and manuscript development; 5)Â Â Â Â Â Coordinate the dissemination of findings to health professionals, researchers, policymakers, family members and the greater public; 6)Â Â Â Â Â Facilitate data gathering, data management training, and data quality assurance according to developed protocol; 7)Â Â Â Â Â Collaborate with Autism CARES or other related programs to foster information sharing, assure synergy, and advance efforts to improve the system of services for children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disabilities; and 8)Â Â Â Â Â Attend the monthly Network meetings. Data Collection and Management.Â The NCC will facilitate data gathering, data management training, and data quality assurance according to developed protocol.Â CREs must follow the policies and procedures to: Â (1) monitor adverse events; (2) report data and other information to the NCC; and (3) ensure good clinical practice (GCP) or other applicable regulatory requirements. Network Steering Committee (NSC) All major scientific decisions will be determined by majority vote of the Network Steering Committee. All participating CREs must agree to abide by the study designs and policies approved by the Network Steering Committee. The Network Steering Committee, by majority vote, will elect a Chair from among the representatives of the CREs.Â The Network Steering Committee will meet monthly by phone and in person at least once a year. Collaborating Research Entities (CREs) CREs will be public institutions of higher learning and public or private agencies engaged in research or research and training on ASD and other developmental disabilities.Â The applicant institutions must include faculty members who are well-qualified professionals in the areas of developmental behavioral pediatrics, psychology, and psychiatry; furthermore, institutions must currently support research scientists, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students.Â CREs may have affiliate faculty from other relevant disciplines such as Maternal and Child Health (MCH) nursing, child development, nutrition, social work, child neurology, speech and language pathology, education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and public health (e.g., health policy, organization and administration of services, program development, evaluation).