This announcement solicits applications for the MCH Research Network on Promoting Healthy Weight (HW-RN) among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other Developmental Disabilities (DD) Program. The HRSA autism research programs support research that advances the Â evidence base regarding interventions and best practices to improve the health and well-being of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. Â This cooperative agreement opportunity will establish and maintain an interdisciplinary, multi-site research forum for scientific collaboration and infrastructure building, which will provide national leadership in research that furthers scientific understanding of obesity risk factors and facilitates the development of interventions designed to improve the health and well-being of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other Developmental Disabilities (DD).Â This research will help to advance the evidence base regarding best practices for the prevention and treatment of obesity in this high-risk group and improve Health Care Systems and Delivery, such as interdisciplinary team-based care and improve the health and wellbeing of children and youth with ASD and other DD. The HW-RN will use an interdisciplinary team that will lead and promote coordinated research activities related to promoting healthy weight among children and youth with ASD and other DD.Â The interdisciplinary team will be able to conduct multi-site intervention research, secondary data analyses, pilot and feasibility and/or acceptability studies of interventions, and study obesity risk factors and interventions to promote healthy weight among children and youth with ASD and other DD.Â The following lists the Network goals and objectives: Infrastructure Development: Develop and maintain an interdisciplinary national network (hereafter referred to as â€śthe Networkâ€ť) of research entities who collaborate in research designed to improve the promotion of healthy weight through the prevention and treatment of obesity among children and youth with ASD and other DD; Identify gaps, develop and/or update a research agenda for scientific studies building upon advances in research as a result of activities described in the incumbentâ€™s research agenda; Communications: Develop a schedule of on-going communication among Network members, and with the HRSA/MCHB Project Officer; Network Activities: Plan Network activities and research designed to improve the promotion of healthy weight through the prevention and treatment of obesity among children and youth with ASD and other DD.Â Such activities and research should address the needs of underserved populations, such as low-income, racial/ethnic minorities, immigrants, individuals who have limited access to services, and/or other underserved populations; Build the capacity to advance and implement at least one research study that will address the gaps and promote the research agenda identified by the Network, through both MCHB and other funding sources; Build upon existing knowledge by conducting at least two secondary data analyses using existing large or population-based datasets and/or health records to improve the knowledge about the prevalence of overweight and/or obesity, key risk factors, and obesity-related chronic and secondary health conditions among children and youth with ASD and other DD; Conduct formative work through surveys or literature reviews to understand the biopsychosocial barriers/facilitators to achieving healthy weight among children with ASD and other DD, such as their perspective and experiences on excessive body weight; barriers to physical activity and healthy eating; psychological, biological, medical, social, and environmental influences on obesity and obesity-related health behaviors; Identify effective approaches and/or test the initial efficacy, feasibility and acceptability of two to three intervention programs designed to reduce excessive weight among children and youth with ASD and other DD.Â The applicant should consider adapting an existing successful program for children and youth from the general population or selected subgroups and tailoring it for application to children and youth with ASD and other DD. Provide mentored experiences for new investigators; Dissemination: Maintain a Network website to disseminate research findings, generate interest in the Network, and expand Network membership; Develop and disseminate guidelines to practitioners and families focused on the prevention and treatment of obesity among children and youth with ASD and other DD based on completed research and post on the Network website; Develop and implement a plan to disseminate Network findings through at least two peer-reviewed publications per study, two to three webinars, annual Network meetings, and other related activities.Â These activities should serve to facilitate the transfer of Network findings to a broader audience such as researchers, health professionals, policy makers, educators, families; Translational Research: Identify opportunities to include children or adolescents with ASD and other DD in ongoing large state-wide or national surveillance and health promotion programs; Expansion Efforts: Leverage external funds to advance and implement critical research that will address identified gaps and promote the research agenda; Collaborate with other MCHB research networks funded through the Autism CARES Act of 2014; such as the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P); The HRSA autism research programs support research on evidence-based practices for interventions to improve the health and well-being of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. The HW-RN will determine the best evidence-based practices and advance the evidence base on effective interventions for the prevention and treatment of obesity in this high-risk group.Â Areas of particular concern include, but are not limited to: Need for better knowledge and understanding about the prevalence and extent of the problem of overweight and obesity among children and youth with ASD and other DD, key factors contributing to the possible increased risk, and obesity-related chronic and secondary health conditions among children and youth with ASD and other DD; Opportunities to maximize the impact of obesity prevention and early intervention activities, including anticipatory guidance to parents and health care providers; Improvement in health care delivery services, such as interdisciplinary team-based care; and Healthy lifestyle promotion through innovative programs and research regarding the interacting physical, social, behavioral, and environmental determinants of overweight and obesity at various levels, including the individual, family, school, neighborhood, and larger community. 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.