The Director of NIH (in this section referred to as the “Director”) shall, subject to the availability of appropriations, expand, intensify, and coordinate the activities of the National Institutes of Health with respect to research on autism spectrum disorder, including basic and clinical research in fields including pathology, developmental neurobiology, genetics, epigenetics, pharmacology, nutrition, immunology, neuroimmunology, neurobehavioral development, endocrinology, gastroenterology, toxicology, and interventions to maximize outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Such research shall investigate the causes (including possible environmental causes), diagnosis or ruling out, early and ongoing detection, prevention, services across the lifespan, supports, intervention, and treatment of autism spectrum disorder, including dissemination and implementation of clinical care, supports, interventions, and treatments.
The Director may consolidate program activities under this section if such consolidation would improve program efficiencies and outcomes.
The Director shall carry out this section acting through the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and in collaboration with any other agencies that the Director determines appropriate.
The Director shall under subsection (a)(1) make awards of grants and contracts to public or nonprofit private entities to pay all or part of the cost of planning, establishing, improving, and providing basic operating support for centers of excellence regarding research on autism spectrum disorder.
Each center under paragraph (1) shall conduct basic and clinical research into autism spectrum disorder. Such research should include investigations into the causes, diagnosis, early and ongoing detection, prevention, and treatment of autism spectrum disorder across the lifespan. The centers, as a group, shall conduct research including the fields of developmental neurobiology, genetics, genomics, psychopharmacology, developmental psychology, behavioral psychology, and clinical psychology.
A center under paragraph (1) may expend amounts provided under such paragraph to carry out a program to make individuals aware of opportunities to participate as subjects in research conducted by the centers.
A program under subparagraph (A) may, in accordance with such criteria as the Director may establish, provide to the subjects described in such subparagraph, referrals for health and other services, and such patient care costs as are required for research.
The extent to which a center can demonstrate availability and access to clinical services shall be considered by the Director in decisions about awarding grants to applicants which meet the scientific criteria for funding under this section.
The Director may consider, as appropriate, the extent to which a center can demonstrate availability and access to clinical services for youth and adults from diverse racial, ethnic, geographic, or linguistic backgrounds in decisions about awarding grants to applicants which meet the scientific criteria for funding under this section.
Each center under paragraph (1) shall use the facilities of a single institution, or be formed from a consortium of cooperating institutions, meeting such requirements as may be prescribed by the Director.
The Director shall provide for the establishment of not less than five centers under paragraph (1).
Support for a center established under paragraph (1) may be provided under this section for a period of not to exceed 5 years. Such period may be extended for one or more additional periods not exceeding 5 years if the operations of such center have been reviewed by an appropriate technical and scientific peer review group established by the Director and if such group has recommended to the Director that such period should be extended.
The Director shall under subsection (a)(1) provide for a program under which samples of tissues and genetic materials that are of use in research on autism spectrum disorder are donated, collected, preserved, and made available for such research. The program shall be carried out in accordance with accepted scientific and medical standards for the donation, collection, and preservation of such samples.
The Director shall under subsection (a)(1) provide for means through which the public can obtain information on the existing and planned programs and activities of the National Institutes of Health with respect to autism spectrum disorder and through which the Director can receive comments from the public regarding such programs and activities.