Dr. Suzanne Lewis joins PAFN as Chief Medical Officer & VP of Research
Effective November 1, Dr. Suzanne Lewis, will join the team developing the $35 million dollar Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) in Richmond. Dr. Lewis will lead the PAFN’s aim of guiding the development of best practices for an integrated approach to medical care for individuals living with ASD and related disorders across and beyond B.C.
“Dr. Lewis has been involved with the PAFN initiative from the very beginning and has served in a variety of advisory and consultative roles over the past 8 years of commitment to seeing the vision become reality,” said Sergio Cocchia, Board Chair and co-founder of PAFN, “I have greatly appreciated her excellent advice and support through the formative years of the PAFN.”
Upon obtaining her MD training, a certification in Paediatrics and accreditation in Medical Genetics, Dr. Lewis joined BC Children’s and Women’s Hospital where she is a Senior Clinician Investigator with the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and a Clinical Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics, UBC Faculty of Medicine. Over the past 25 years, as a clinician and investigator, Dr. Lewis has provided clinical care to thousands of individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and all related disorders.
“Dr. Lewis is also a passionate researcher, leading a multi-disciplinary team that has translated novel research findings to early autism diagnosis, informed anticipatory care and optimal outcomes for persons and families living with ASD and all related disorders,” said Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, co founder and Fundraising Chair of PAFN. “ She continues to be a tireless advocate for families and is a true leader in engaging multiple communities to better the lives of people diagnosed with ASD.”
Dr. Lewis’ leadership in research is well illustrated by having authored over 340 publications, including 135 peer-reviewed papers describing new autism subgroups, syndromes, genes or causative mechanisms for these conditions. She also co-developed a joint Developmental Genetics Clinic at Children’s and Sunnyhill Hospitals, and is a partner in TIDE (the Treatment for Intellectual Disability Endeavour), both of which have demonstrated the need and effectiveness of “one-stop” interdisciplinary assessment and treatment opportunities for individuals and their families living with ASD and related disorders.
“Working over the past years with Wendy, Sergio and autism communities in BC to develop the vision of the PAFN has really highlighted to me the need for coordinate medical care and access to service providers in a centrally localized facility, as well as a need for increasing access to services and service providers through BC,” said Dr. Lewis. “Joining the PAFN as it brings our vision to practice is an opportunity to demonstrate how a coordinated, research-informed approach will improve the lives of individuals and their families here in BC, and to develop collaborations across Canada to establish an integrated network of care for ASD and all related disorders.”
“I am absolutely thrilled that we have attracted someone with Dr. Lewis’ clinical and research experience as well as track record to join our PAFN team,” said Dr. Gabe Kalmar, President and CEO, “Dr. Lewis completes a critical component in our leadership team as the PAFN becomes operational. Dr. Lewis will work to ensure that the investments in infrastructure and technology, and collaborations are converted into an unique capability to support individuals and families across the country.”