ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Mayor Martin Chavez recently announced in a press conference at the University of New Mexico Center for Development and Disability (CDD) that the state’s first-ever Town Hall Meeting on Autism will take place on Saturday, August 11, 2007, from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

The CDD has partnered with the Mayor’s office to schedule this event. Mayors from throughout New Mexico have been invited to attend the forum. In addition, the town hall will feature industry leaders, parents, as well as local, state and federal officials. The public is also invited to attend.

Onsite registration begins at 8 a.m. in the Lower West Garden Foyer. At 9 a.m. in the Cochiti/Taos Rooms, Mayor Chavez will welcome attendees. Dr. Arthur Kaufman, vice president of Community Health at the UNM Health Sciences Center, will follow him.

The first panel, "Autism in New Mexico: Awareness, Education, Research," will feature a talk by Dr. Cate McClain, CDD director. To enable all New Mexican families living with autism, the CDD is working toward the goal of creating an "Autism Center of Excellence," which is part of the focus of the second panel, titled "Need for UNM Autism Center." The panel will feature a discussion by Kaufman and McClain, titled "Our Goals - Dreams: Expand UNM Site, Addressing Rural Concerns and Telehealth."

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects more children than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. Every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed with autism according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Autism affects one in 150 children and is four times more prevalent in boys than girls.

For more information on the town hall, contact Maryellen Missik-Tow at the CDD, 272-6990.