In recognition of their extraordinary community outreach initiatives, four APLU member institutions have been selected as regional recipients of the 2021 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. As regional winners, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Virginia Tech will compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be announced during the APLU Virtual Annual Meeting in November.
Seeing a gaping void in autism services in the rural southwest part of the state, Virginia Tech created the Virginia Tech Autism Clinic & Center for Autism Research (VTAC/CAR) and partnered with Mount Rogers Community Services (MRCS) to extend Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment, intervention, and education to underserved populations via a mobile unit and, later, telehealth services.
The clinic, one of the only autism specialty clinics and research centers in this region of Appalachia, empowers individuals touched by autism through access, education, evidence-based services, and research. Annually, the Blacksburg clinic serves about 60 individuals with autism, and their families, with psychotherapies and support and provides diagnostic assessments to about 50 more. Since 2018, the mobile clinic traveled more than 7,600 miles and served more than 40 families.