NIMH’s Dr. Susan Daniels Designated National Autism Coordinator
• Institute Update
Susan A. Daniels, Ph.D. has been appointed as the HHS National Autism Coordinator and Director of the Office of National Autism Coordination (ONAC). In this position, Dr. Daniels will play a vital role in ensuring the implementation of national autism research, services, and support activities across federal agencies. This role will complement Dr. Daniels’s continuing work as the Executive Secretary of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), a federal advisory committee composed of federal officials and public members that focuses on gathering public input, coordinating federal autism activities, and providing advice to the HHS Secretary on issues related to autism. Dr. Daniels will report to the NIMH Director and support both the activities of the ONAC and the IACC.
Dr. Daniels has served as the Acting National Autism Coordinator since 2021, the Director of the NIMH Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) since 2014, and the Acting Director and Deputy Director of OARC between 2008 and 2014. During this period, Dr. Daniels oversaw IACC activities as the committee produced its first strategic plan in 2009 and subsequent iterations, and developed analyses, reports, advice, and recommendations to guide HHS and other federal departments and agencies on issues related to autism.
Prior to working at NIMH, Dr. Daniels worked in policy and program management related to neurodegenerative diseases and infectious diseases at two other NIH institutes, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Before coming to NIH, Dr. Daniels was a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow and consultant at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from Brandeis University, where she conducted research on the function of the sensory nervous system, and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and French from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.