A Webcast with Michael Cummings, M.D. and Michael J. Cameron, Ph.D., BCBA-D

CEUs: 2 (Type 2) CEUs in Ethics for Board Certified Behavior Analysts

Fee: $30.00

Effective Supervision


A recent study entitled Psychotropic Medication Use and Polypharmacy in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (2013) confirms that 64% of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a prescription for one psychotropic medication, 35% have a regimen of psychotropic polypharmacy (i.e., two classes of medication prescribed), and 15% use medications from three or more classes concurrently. According to Spencer, Marshall, Post et al. (2013), “despite minimal evidence of effectiveness or appropriateness of multidrug treatment of ASD, psychotropic medications are commonly used, singly or in combination, for ASD and its co-occurring conditions”.

Results of Spencer, Marshall, and Post et al. study, and other studies with comparable findings, indicate the need for professionals (including Board Certified Behavior Analysts) to develop standards of care centered on: (1) data collection methods (to measure the effects and side effects of medications), (2) communication and collaboration with prescribing physicians, (3) dynamic communication with families of children with ASD regarding drug efficacy, and (4) a methodology for prescribing medications.

Regarding the process of prescribing medications, a relatively new field of science, referred to as pharmacogenomics, is the harbinger of responsible and ethical pharmacological treatment of people with ASD.

Pharmacogenomics involves the study of how genes affect a person’s response to medication. In consequence, a drug prescribing methodology is emerging. Moreover, pharmacogenomics has special relevance for children with ASD. Specifically, the field of pharmacogenomics is focused on the study of pharmacology (i.e., the science of drugs), and genomics (i.e., the study of genes and their functions) and is poised to guide the medication selection process for children, adolescents, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Webcast Goals:
Within this webcast, participants will learn, from Michael Cummings, M.D. and Michael Cameron, Ph.D., BCBA-D about:

    1. (1) The classification of medications used for ASD treatment, including stimulants, antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antianxiety agents


    1. (2) Pharmacokinetics (i.e., the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of medication)


    1. (3) The target effects of medication


    1. (4) The side effects of medication (e.g., behavioral, neuromuscular, cardiovascular, endocrine and metabolic, immunologic and gastrointestinal)


    1. (5) Data collection methods for monitoring drug effects and side effects


    1. (6) Communication strategies for various stakeholders


    1. (7) The impact of drugs on cognition, learning, memory, and physical health


    1. (8) Pharmacogenomics and gene-based (i.e., data-based) decision making centered on medication


    1. (9) The value of Clinical Decision Support Systems (i.e., decision modeling in behavior analysis), and


    (10) Gene-based (data-based) decision making centered on the selection of pharmacological regimens for the support of children, adolescents, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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About the Presenters:


Michael Cummings, M.D.

Dr. Michael Cummings grew up in Upstate New York and attended South Glens Falls High School. He completed his undergraduate degree in Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University and his medical degree and residencies in Adult and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University at Buffalo.

Dr. Cummings has over 15 year’s experience treating children, adolescents, and adults for all major psychiatric conditions and developmental challenges in a wide array of community and institutional settings. He currently serves as Vice Chair of Community Affairs and Outreach for the Department of Psychiatry of the University at Buffalo and Associate Medical Director of Erie County Medical Center. In these capacities, he has clinical and administrative oversight of the majority of hospital and forensic based psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment in Buffalo and its surrounding communities. This includes the busiest psychiatric emergency department in New York State.

In addition to his clinical and administrative work, his major focus is on developing and integrating systems of care for individuals with mental illness and developmental disabilities who are at high risk of avoidable hospitalization or incarceration. To this end, Dr. Cummings, along with his clinical partner Janell Van Cleve, has created a project entitled “APIC: Access to Psychiatry Through Intermediate Care”. It is a 1.8-million-dollar grant-funded pilot program sponsored for five years by the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower, John R. Oishei, Patrick P. Lee, and the Margaret L. Wendt Foundations that provides mobile psychiatric interventions and case management for children, adolescents, and adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities whose needs are not being met by the current system of care.

Its primary goal is to reduce avoidable emergency room visits, hospitalizations, arrests, out of home placements, and exposure to unnecessary poly-pharmacy. In its first two and a half years, APIC has served 550 individuals and their families, made over 750 “house calls” and has reduced emergency room visits and family distress by over 50%. APIC currently serves the 17 western counties of New York State and has performed consultations in Maryland, New Jersey, Colorado, and California. Dr. Cummings and his team are actively working to be able to provide this unique and innovative program to families in need across the entire State of New York.


Michael J. Cameron, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Michael J. Cameron, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is the Chief Scientific Officer for The Cedar Group (Eagle Rock, California). Dr. Cameron is also an adjunct faculty member for the program in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of Southern California (USC). Dr. Cameron received his doctorate in experimental psychology at Northeastern University, Boston, and Massachusetts. He was the Founding Chair of the Department of Behavior Analysis at Simmons College, an all-women’s college in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Cameron’s research and publications are in the areas of behavior analysis, clinical decision support systems, behavioral medicine, and behavioral interventions.





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Successful completion of webcast offers 2 (Type 2) Continuing Education Units in Ethics to support the professional development of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA).
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