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Mount Sinai of New York and Els for Autism Foundation Join Forces to Establish Research Institute at The Els Center of Excellence in Jupiter, Florida

The newly created Seaver Els Institute will bring together personalized education, clinical research and scientific investigation for individuals and families who are affected by autism spectrum disorder

(NEW YORK – April 2, 2018) The Els for Autism Foundation announced today a joint initiative with Mount Sinai Health System of New York to create The Seaver Els Institute: an affiliation between The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai of New York and the Els for Autism Foundation. The new research institute will be housed at The Els Center of Excellence, a world-class facility in Jupiter, Florida, founded by PGA TOUR golfer Ernie Els, Liezl Els and Marvin Shanken, that is dedicated to helping people on the autism spectrum fulfill their potential to lead positive, productive, and rewarding lives.

Scheduled to begin operations in August, 2018, The Seaver Els Institute will provide the opportunity for students, clients and families at The Els Center of Excellence to participate in research that will help advance understanding of autism spectrum disorders. There are two public charter schools on the campus, which serve students ages 3 to 21.

“We are delighted to be announcing our partnership with Mount Sinai on World Autism Awareness Day,” said Marvin Shanken, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Els for Autism Foundation. “Today, we are celebrating the unique talents of people with autism with our third annual ‘Awe in Autism’ expo at The Els Center of Excellence in Jupiter, and being able to share the news about The Seaver Els Institute makes the day even more special.” Ernie and Liezl Els, Co-Founders of the Els for Autism Foundation, added, “We are excited about the opportunity to expand our research focus area in the hopes of helping families around the world.”

“Through this affiliation, we are bringing together leading-edge programs and services that the Els for Autism Foundation provides to families impacted by autism and the progressive research being conducted by experts at the internationally renowned Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai,” says Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mount Sinai Health System of New York. “In addition to being mutually beneficial to both parties, this collaboration will result in significant breakthroughs that advance autism research and care for children, adolescents, and adults with autism spectrum disorder.”

The formal affiliation will begin with a two-year pilot study to gather and analyze data on The Els Center of Excellence clients, students and their families. Initially, research will focus on evaluating the effectiveness of interventions, large-scale genetic and phenotypic data collection and promoting research at The Els Center of Excellence and the broader Florida community. This will include both genetic and behavioral testing, as well as measurement of biological and behavioral markers using non-invasive tools.

To accomplish these goals, a research associate hired and trained by The Seaver Autism Center in New York will be based on site at The Els Center for Excellence in Florida to facilitate research at the new Institute, work with Els for Autism Foundation staff, and help integrate research, clinical and educational programs. Together, the Seaver Els Institute staff and leadership will establish a pipeline for genetic and behavioral testing and for measuring the effectiveness of interventions offered to clients at The Els Center of Excellence. The most advanced EEG and eye tracking equipment will be utilized to gather data in Jupiter, Florida and data analysis will take place in New York at Mount Sinai’s Seaver Center, which houses one of the leading autism programs in the world. Guidance about the importance, significance, and benefits of research will be provided to all interested families.

Established in 2009 by Mr. Els and his wife shortly after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism, the Els for Autism Foundation’s philanthropic project – The Els Center for Excellence – is a world-class facility that hosts game-changing programs and services accessible to families and caregivers around the world. The 26-acre campus provides on-site education for up to 300 students with additional programs in six focus areas: adult services, education, global outreach, recreation, research, and therapy. Through the new strategic partnership with The Seaver Autism Center, the Els Autism Foundation is advancing and elevating its research focus area.

“It is an honor to be working with the remarkable people from the Els for Autism Foundation who work tirelessly to create programs that make a positive impact on the lives of individuals on the spectrum,” said Joseph D. Buxbaum, PhD, Director of The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai of New York, who is also founder and co-leader of the Autism Sequencing Consortium, an international group of scientists who share autism samples, data, and ideas in order to accelerate our understanding of the causes and treatments of autism. “Through research efforts at The Seaver Els Institute, we will work together to expand that positive impact by advancing the best science at the fastest pace for individuals and their families and the greater autism community.”

About the Mount Sinai Health System of New York
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City’s largest integrated delivery system encompassing seven hospital campuses, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai’s vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 10 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked No. 18 for research by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Medical Schools” and No. 13 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation’s top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in four other specialties in the 2017-2018 “Best Hospitals” issue. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked in six out of ten pediatric specialties by

U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology and 50th for Ear, Nose, and Throat, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally.

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About the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai of New York
The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai conducts progressive research studies to enhance the diagnosis of autism and related disorders, discover the biological causes of those disorders, and develop and disseminate breakthrough treatments. With a vision to be the international leaders for precision medicine in autism and related disorders, the Center bridges the gap between new discoveries in basic science and enhanced care, while ensuring the community is aware of new and improved approaches to caring for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Seaver Autism Center was founded through the generous support of the Beatrice and Samuel A. Seaver Foundation.

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Contact: Elizabeth Dowling
Mount Sinai Press Office
(212) 241-9200

Contact: Pam Minelli
Els for Autism Foundation
(561) 320-9528