The autism epidemic is a important issue facing local, state and national politics. The issues are controversial, complex, costly and often are avoided because of varying opinions and the fact that the pathology of autism has not been fully defined. Effective treatments and therapies go unfunded because the autism spectrum is so diverse.
Insurance discrimination is common and many states have passed legislation or are fighting for legislation to address insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders.
In the coming years autism will cost Americans into the trillions of dollars. As the demand for adult services and care escalates government agencies are realizing that they are not prepared for service requirements from this aging population. The enormous burden on budgets for healthcare, social services, education and family supports makes autism a important political issue at every level of government.
The vaccine controversy continues to be a major issue in autism politics. Recent federal rulings in which the government conceded a case or determined that vaccinations contributed to the development of autism makes the vaccine issue relevant in autism politics and research.
State legislatures and County governments throughout the country have started to form autism committees to determine how to deal with the autism epidemic and its impact on states and communities. The politics of autism will be a vital area in determining to future those with autism and their families.
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All video clips are the copyright of the Foundation for Autism Information and Research (F.A.I.R. Autism Media) and are intended for informational purposes only. The content herein is not intended as medical advice.
This is the press conference held by EBCALA (Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law & Advocacy) at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on May 10, 2011. EBCALA published a review of 83 cases of vaccine injury awarded in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) where AUTISM was the outcome of the vaccine injury. For years, the U.S. government has denied a link between vaccines and autism, while quietly awarding vaccine injury claims. The awards were NOT for "autism" as the result... but for seizures and other disorders... however... these kids all had regressed into autism after their shots. It's a significant revelation that requires a hard look at the vaccine program, and what can be done to ensure that vaccines are as safe as possible... and that we can minimize the number of injuries and help those who are injured.
Dr. Andrew Wakefield, MB, BS, FRCS, FRCPath Academic Gastroenterologist
Andrew Wakefield is an academic gastroenterologist. He graduated in Medicine from St. Mary's Hospital (part of the University of London) in 1981, pursuing a career in gastrointestinal surgery with a particular interest in inflammatory bowel disease. He qualified as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1985, and in 1996 was awarded a Wellcome Trust Traveling Fellowship to study small-intestine transplantation in Toronto, Canada. Discoveries made during his work in Canada led him on return to the UK to pursue the study of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In 1998, he and his colleagues at the Royal Free Hospital in London reported a novel inflammatory bowel disease in children with developmental disorders such as autism; the condition later became known as autistic enterocolitis. Dr. Wakefield resisted pressure to stop his research on the possible links between childhood immunizations, intestinal inflammation and autism, leaving the Royal Free School of Medicine in 2001. He is involved in many scientific research collaborations in the US and abroad, investigations centering on the immunologic, metabolic and pathologic changes occurring in inflammatorty bowel diseases such as autistic enterocolitis, links between intestinal disease and neurologic injury in children, and the possible relationship of these conditions to environmental causes, such as childhood vaccines. Dr. Wakefield has published approximately 140 original scientific articles, book chapters, and invited scientific commentaries. He was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2001; he is a medical advisor to the United Kingdom Charity Visceral, and sits on the board of the U.S. charity Medical Interventions for Autism.
In this interview, Dr. Wakefield first discusses his current interest in autism research involving vaccine-induced damage to the Dorsal Vagal Complex (DVC) of the brainstem as necessary and sufficient to initiate the central and systemic features of autism, including many that fall outside the behavioral definition of this condition. After that, Dr. Wakefield discusses his book and comments on the GMC Hearing proceedings that banished him from the UK's medical registry.
NYS Assemblyman Mark Schroeder (D- Buffalo NY)Chairman-Sub Committee on Autism
NYS Assemblyman David Koon (D- Rochester NY)Member Sub Committee on Autism
Marcia Roth Autism Parent Advocate
These interviews were filmed at the steps of the State Capital in Albany, NY at the 2009 Autism Epidemic Day. During these 3 interviews the autism advocate, attorney and former state budget analyst Marcia Roth outlines the challenges of having New York address the autism epidemic.
Assemblyman Mark Schroeder is the Chairman of the New York State Assembly Sub Committee on Autism.
Assemblyman David Koon discusses autism insurance legislation he introduced. David serves on the New York State Assembly Sub Committee on Autism.
Rick Rollens is the former Secretary of the California State Senate, a position he held for many of his 24 years of distinguished service to the California state senate. Prior to his career with the California senate, Rick served on the staff of Congressman Jerome Waldie in Washington, DC. Currently, Rick is president of Rollens Consulting, a government relations company in Sacramento. Rick serves as the Legislative Advisor to ARCA, the Association of Regional Center Agencies which provides services and support to the over 200,000 Californian's with developmental disabilities, including Autism. In march 2006, Rick was appointed by the California Speaker of the State Assembly to serve on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism. He was also recently appointed by California's Superintendent of Public Instruction to the State Department of Education's Autism Advisory Committee. Rick's most recent efforts have involved the establishment and major funding of the U.C. Davis M.I.N.D. Institute.
This interview is currently in Quicktime format only.
This interview was filmed at the Autism One conference in May, 2007.
Dan Burton is currently serving his twelfth term as a United States Representative from Indiana's Fifth Congressional District. His first term in Congress began in January of 1983. The Fifth District lies in the heart of central Indiana and includes all of Tipton, Grant, Miami, Wabash, Huntington, Hamilton, and Hancock Counties, as well as parts of Marion, Shelby, Howard and Johnson Counties.
When Congressman Burton assumed the Chairmanship of the House Committee on Government Reform in the 105th Congress, he became the first Hoosier Republican to Chair a full House Committee in more than sixty years. The last was Congressman William Robert Wood, who chaired the Committee on Appropriations during the 71st Congress (1929-1931). Congressman Burton currently serves as Chairman of the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.
In this February, 2007 interview, FAIR's Mike Smith questions Congressman Burton about his interest and involvement with autism-related issues and his role as Chairman of the House Committee of Government Reform.
Barbara Loe Fisher is co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). She is the co-author of DPT: A Shot in the Dark (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1985; Warner 1986; Avery 1991); author of The Consumer's Guide to Childhood Vaccines (NVIC 1997) and editor of THE VACCINE REACTION.
During the early 1980's, she helped launch a grassroots movement to bring the issue of vaccine safety to public attention, including leading demonstrations at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and the White House in 1986. Her book, DPT: A Shot in the Dark, which she co-authored with Harris Coulter, Ph.D., was the first major, well documented critique of America's mass vaccination system calling for safety reforms and the right to informed consent to vaccination.
She served on the National Vaccine Advisory Committee for four years and was appointed to the Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Forum in 1995, where she has helped to coordinate five public workshops on vaccine safety issues. She has represented health care consumers at many scientific conferences, government meetings and legislative hearings and is a featured speaker at health care conferences in the U.S. and Canada. As NVIC's public spokesperson, she has contributed to numerous newspaper and magazine articles about vaccine safety and appears on national radio and television programs discussing vaccines and diseases and advocating informed consent to vaccination.
The mother of three children, her oldest son was left with multiple learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder after a severe reaction to his fourth DPT shot in 1980 when he was two and a half years old.
In this six-part interview (approx. 42 minutes), Ms. Fisher discusses vaccine safety issues and the politics surrounding them. Filmed in May of 2005 at the Autism One conference in Chicago, Illinois.
Bob Krakow is an attorney in private practice in New York City. Bob started his legal career with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), a consumer advocacy organization. In the 1980's Bob was a prosecutor with the New York Country District Attorney's office, serving as Bureau Chief of the special narcotics prosecution division. He founded his law firm in 1989, focusing on the trial of civil and criminal cases, and specializes in the representation of persons injured by exposure to environmental toxins and vaccines. Bob is committed to working for individuals with disabilities. He is the Board Chair of Lifespire, Inc., a 55-year old New York and New Jersey not-for-profit organization that provides residential, day habilitation, occupational, educational and medical programs and supports for more than 5,000 developmentally disabled adults and children. Bob is a Board member of the National Autism Association and of Safeminds, organizations that promote the interests of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, especially in the area of scientific research. Most recently, Bob co-founded A-CHAMP (Advocates for Children's Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning), a national political organization that advocates for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Bob lives in New York with his wife and two children.
Jim Moody is a practicing attorney and founder of Citizens for a Competitive Economy. He sits on the executive boards of both SAFEMINDS and the National Autism Association. He is very active in cause related advocacy.
In this interview, filmed Nov. 2005, Mr. Moody discusses recent political issues of concern to parents with autistic children. Some topics covered include the CDC, the FDA, the IOM (Institute of Medicine) and some industry-friendly legislation that curtails the rights of vaccine-injured children.
Dr. Mark R. Geier, M.D., Ph.D. is a geneticist and President of the Genetic Centers of America, which for the past 23 years has offered clinical prenatal genetics services to the Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas. Dr. Geier has worked in the fields of molecular and cell biology and genetic engineering at the National Institutes of Health for ten years. Dr. Geier has also been a professor at The Johns Hopkins University Hospital.
David A. Geier is president of MedCon, Inc. He graduated with honors from UMBC with a B.A. in Biology and a minor in History. He has been a researcher scientist at the National Institutes of Health. He has co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed scientific/medical publications on vaccine safety, efficacy, and policy. He has addressed numerous professional meetings, and most recently co-addressed the Institute of Medicine of the United States’ National Academy of Sciences on vaccines.
In this interview, Dr. Geier & David discuss their experiences as they attempted to carry out their congressionally-mandated examination of the CDC's Vaccine Safety Datalink database. Hear the Geiers discuss how the CDC tried to block their mandated investigation at every turn and what the Geiers found!
Dr. Haley received his BS in Chemistry/Physics from Franklin College in 1963. After a tour in the U.S. Army he completed his M.S. in Chemistry at the University of Idaho (1966) and his Ph.D. in Chemistry/Biochemistry at Washington State University (1971). He was an NIH Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Physiology, Yale University Medical School from 1971 to 1974. His first academic appointment was at the University of Wyoming in 1974 where he was promoted to full professor in 1983. In 1985 he was appointed as the first scientist hired in the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky with academic appointments as professor in the College of Pharmacy and in the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Kentucky Medical Center. In 1996 he was named Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry.
Dr. Haley has testified as an expert witness at government hearings on the issue of the health hazards of mercury in vaccines and dental amalgam.
Jeff earned a BS degree from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas and obtained his law degree from South Texas College of Law. He started his trial practice with Taylor & Cire representing injured people in courts throughout the State. Jeff was a Senior Trial Attorney with Archer, Shrode and Soule' where he first chaired over 50 trials to a jury verdict.
Jeff is presently the the Director of Chapters & Membership for the Autism Society of America and has served as the 1st Vice Chairman of the ASA's Board of Directors and the Chairman of ASA's Government Relation Committee. He has also served as the 1st and 2nd Vice-President of ASA and he has been active on many committees as well. Jeff is a co-founder and Past Vice President of Autism Resource Konnection (“ARK”), a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of autism, he is a member of the governing bureau of the World Autsim Organisation, he serves on the Professional Advisory Boards of New York Families for Autistic Children (“NYFAC”), Developmental Delay Resources ("DDR") and the Law Enforcement Awareness Network (“L.E.A.N.”), and, he was a Texas State Representatives for Unlocking Autism.
Jeff is a member of several professional legal organizations - Houston Bar Association, Texas Bar Association, America Trial Lawyers Association, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Board of Directors--Houston Trial Lawyers Association, United States Court of Federal Claims Bar Association, Northwest Harris County Bar Association and the American Bar Association, to mention a few.