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Doodle sketch of the  Mobile Autism Clinic parked in the Blacksburg Library lot on a fall day.

Congratulations to VTAC/CAR's PANDA lab graduate student clinician, Jennifer Bertollo!

During fall 2021, Jennifer received the American Psychological Foundation's COGDOP Graduate Student Research Scholarship. The award will help to fund her dissertation project on validating a remote, caregiver-facilitated autism observation measure and to create corresponding training materials for clinicians to reliably use and score the measure, with the goal of increasing the accessibility of autism assessment via telehealth during the pandemic and beyond. 

In spring 2022, she was awarded the VT Ollendick Graduate Fellowship, which provides support for graduate students undertaking their dissertation research in clinical science in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech with a focus on child, adolescent, or emerging adulthood issues. 

Congratulations Jen!  We're so proud of the important work you do.

Head and shoulder photo of Jennifer Bertollo

VTAC/CAR celebrates regional award at campus watch-party

September 2021:  The Mobile Autism Clinic, in partnership with Mount Rogers Community Services, was honored to celebrate in person our 2021 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship regional award during the Engagement Scholarship Consortium's virtual conference.  Note the beautiful glass sculpture award held by Director Angela Scarpa (middle). Thank you to Outreach and International Affairs and Susan Short for their amazing support through this process.  To view 2-minute video clips of all 4 finalists (University of California at Los Angeles, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Virginia Tech), visit the ESC webpage.  Each team competed via virtual presentation Tuesday night and the national winner will be announced in November.

The MAC Team standing, spaced, inside a conference room after the ceremony.
Jennifer Bertollo, Clinical Science graduate student clinician; Angela Scarpa, VTAC/CAR Director; Jennifer Scott, VTAC/CAR Rural Outreach Coordinator; KJ Holbrook, MRCS Chief Clinical Officer

Thank you to our funders: CA Human Services, iTHRIV, the Malone Family Foundation, Autism Speaks, Jerry Hulick, the VT Policy Strategic Growth Area and the VT Institute for Society, Culture and Environment.

"The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement missions to deepen their partnerships to achieve broader impacts in their communities." (from the APLU website)

The Mobile Autism Clinic RV driving in front of the courthouse in downtown Marion, Virginia.


VTCAR Researchers mark National Autism Awareness Month

April 2021: Enjoy today’s VT News article in honor of Autism Awareness month, about how VTAC/CAR shifted from mobile to telehealth services at the onset of the pandemic, continuing to break down barriers to access. Moving forward, our efforts aim to blend the use of both delivery platforms for an expansion of services to clients locally and around the state.


Congratulations to two of our graduate student clinicians for their recent awards!  

  Angela Dahiya                                              Jen Bertollo

Join us in congratulating MAC and VTAC Clinical Science graduate student clincian Angela Dahiya in receiving the 2021 Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (SCCAP)/APA Division 53 Routh Dissertation Award! The Routh Dissertation Grant provides support for student research that shows promise to add significantly to the research literature in the area of clinical child and adolescent psychology.  Her dissertation is entitled: Providing Telehealth Support for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Using A Mobile App.

Congratulations to another MAC and VTAC Clinical Science graduate student clinician Jennifer Bertollo who was recently honored as finalist for the 2020 VT College of Science Roundtable Make a Difference Scholarship.  Thank you for commitment to serving the underserved!


Doctoral student’s work reduces barriers to care for families living with autism spectrum disorder

February 2021: Some of you may recognize doctoral student Angela Dahiya, highlighted in this VT News article, from her work on our Mobile Autism Clinic.  Learn more about her efforts researching ways technology could make assessment and treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder more accessible to remote communities.

If you're interested in the study mentioned in the article, visit our VTAC/CAR research recruitment webpage for more details.


Learning Shot podcast: Increasing rural subjects in clinical trials

December 2020: To promote sound and rigourous research the iTHRIV Learning Shot podcast does regular interviews with various researchers to highlight best practices. Their December podcast included our very own Angela Scarpa, along with Virginia Tech's Kathy Hosig and University of Virginia's Jamie Zoellner to discuss how to enhance rectuitment of rural subjects.


Virginia Tech College of Science article: Pandemic forces Autism Clinic to go online, opening new ways to serve

Fall 2020: When the coronavirus forced much of the world into self-quarantine and social distancing this past spring, leaders at the Virginia Tech Autism Center had to rework how they operate.


VTAC/CAR wins Exemplary Recognition from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

October 2020: The Virginia Tech Autism Clinic & Center for Autism Research's project entitled Pioneering Partnerships: Mobilizing Autism Services in Rural Communities has been identified as an Exemplary winner by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Awards Northeast. These awards recognize four-year public universities that have made exemplary strides to become more closely and productively engaged with communities through their teaching/learning, discovery, and service activities. During the virtual National Engagement Scholarship Conference, all Kellogg Winners and Exemplary Projects were recognized.  Angela Scarpa accepted the award on behalf of VTAC/CAR.  We are honored to be recognized and are looking forward to this opportunity to publicly celebrate everyone's great work!

For more information, read the VT News article entitled Mobile Autism Clinic recognized for exemplary community engagement.



Watch our recent news coverage from WSLS' Morning Report: Virginia Tech clinic helps families living with autism adjust to pandemic.

September 2020: Virginia Tech Autism Clinic & Center for Autism Research goes from on the road to online.  Learn more about this transition from our Clinical Science graduate student clinicians Jennifer Bertollo and Angela Dahiya-Singh.


Congratulations to two VTCAR Affiliates for their significant accomplishments, which were recognized this summer.

Dr. Martha Ann Bell, Professor of Psychology, College of Science Faculty Fellow

  • In July, Dr. Bell received the Virginia Tech Alumni Research Excellence Award, awarded to faculty and staff annually who exhibit excellence and dedication in their respective fields.
  • Dr. Bell recently received a National Science Foundation Award for her project titled, Examining Behavioral and Neurophysiological Precursors of Effortful Control, a 3-year collaborative project led by Professor Masha Gartstein at Washington State University. Martha Ann and her CAP Lab team are focused on individual differences in the early development of behavioral regulation.
  • She was also selected to receive the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology Rovee-Collier Mentor Award for 2020. This award recognizes Dr. Bell for significant contributions to the mentorship of young scholars. She was nominated by her former mentees.

Dr. Thomas Ollendick, University Distinguished Professor of Psychology

  • Dr. Ollendick received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology (SSCP).  SSCP is Section III of Division 12 of the APA. The SSCP Distinguished Scientist Award is given each year to an individual who has made an extremely important career contribution to the science of clinical psychology. 

Listen to our newest interview with New River Valley Community Services' "Dissect and Connect" podcast about autism, misconceptions and VTAC/CARs shift to telehealth services.

Thank you to Mike Wade with New River Valley Community Services for taking time to interview Jennifer Bertollo, VT Clinical Science doctoral level student and VTAC/CAR clinician and researcher, and Jen Scott, Rural Outreach and Grants Coordinator for VTAC/CAR.

The podcast offers an overview of autism, associated risk factors and some of the common misconceptions about individuals living with autism spectrum disorder. Jennifer and Jen also share how VTAC/CAR’s Mobile Autism Clinic and the clinic's shift to telehealth is used to help connect to families in rural communities.


Congratulations to our VT Autism Clinic and Psychology Department Alumni Awards for Excellence recipients for 2020!!

Angela Scarpa and Jennifer Scott received the VT Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence, on behalf of the VT Autism Clinic and Center for Autism Research.

Martha Ann Bell (VTCAR affiliate) received the VT Alumni Award for Excellence in Research.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Awards for Excellence are awarded to faculty and staff annually who exhibit excellence and dedication in their respective fields.


Watch our recent interview with WFXR's Living Local Virginia Tech Tuesday

Angela Scarpa, Director, and Jen Scott, Outreach and Grants Coordinator for the Virginia Tech Autism Clinic and Center for Autism Research, shared details of VTAC/CAR's unique mission to serve rural neighbors. 


Congratulations to Clinical Science student Jennifer Bertollo for receiving Honorable Mention for the Delaware Project Student Award

Jennifer is a clinician at the Autism Clinic and on the Mobile Autism Clinic and works diligently in our communities merging science with service. "This award recognizes excellence in research that links laboratory and community settings and is presented to a student whose work generates new knowledge that helps bridge the science to service gap in mental health care. The work will have the potential to impact the community by reducing the burden of mental illness on society through scientific solutions to “real-world” problems. Consistent with the Delaware Project vision, special consideration is given to innovative research that translates clinical science to community-based treatment, assessment development, delivery, adaptation, or similar activities." 

Jennifer's commitment to and work on the Mobile Autism Clinic has received positive feedback from rural families and the local CSB. Findings from her research will be used to build supports that mitigate participation problems in real-world mobile service delivery and inform implementation formats that can be used to provide timely diagnoses and ASD education to rural families.

Listen to this March 2020 Podcast with VTAC/CAR Director and Clinical Science Student Clinician

Rural Health Voice #32: Autism Services, To Go!

VTAC/CAR would like to say a big thank you out to the Virginia Rural Health Association for this exciting podcast interview opportunity!  Angela Scarpa, Director of the Virginia Tech Autism Clinic & Center for Autism Research, and Jennifer Bertollo, a doctoral student clinician, shared in this discussion about our services, the Mobile Autism Clinic and important, ongoing training and research.

Congratulations on these recent affiliate publications!

Journal of Appalachian Health:  Angela Scarpa, Laura Jensen, Denis Gracanin, Sharon Ramey, Angela Dahiya, L. Maria Ingram, Jordan Albright, Alyssa Gatto, Jen Scott, and Lisa Ruble for their article "Access to Autism Spectrum Disorder Services for Rural Appalachian Citizens".

Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology:  Tyler McFayden, Angela Dahiya, Angela Scarpa and Thomas Ollendick "Sluggish Cognitive Tempo in Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and Their Comorbidity: Implications for Impairment".



Contratulations to the VTAC/CAR/MAC Team for winning 2 awards in 2019:

  • The Virginia State Office of Rural Health's Innovative Rural Award
  • The Virginia Rural Health Association's Best Practices in Rural Health Award  


The MAC in the news:

April 2019 WVTF Public Radio: On the Spectrum; Get on the Bus

April 2019 Virginia Tech News: Mobile Autism Clinic Wins innovation rural award from Virginia State Office of Rural Health

April 2019 WFXR Living Local: Learn about the great resources Virginia Tech has for those with autism

Autism Awareness Day, April 2, 2019 WDBJ News: Advocates aim to raise awareness about individuals with autism

February 2018 Virginia Tech News article: With traveling clinic, Virginia Tech to take autism services to rural Virginia

October 2018 American Psychological Association's Monitor on Psychology article: Traveling Treatments

September 2018 WDBJ7 News coverage from Galax: Virginia Tech brings autism services to rural communities

July 2018 Roanoke Times article from Galax: Driving for an Autism Solution