Honorees

Representative Mike Doyle, Congressional Honoree

Mike Doyle is the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District since 1995, making him the most senior member of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation.

Rep. Doyle is a strong proponent of autism research, education and advocacy, demonstrated by his leadership in establishing the first Congressional Membership Organization dedicated to autism advocacy on Capitol Hill.

The Congressman has stated that the goals of this caucus are to: increase general awareness of autism and autism spectrum disorders among Members of Congress and policy analysts in federal government; educate Members of Congress on current and future research initiatives regarding autism; serve as a forum where autism-related policy issues can be exchanged, debated, and discussed; bring together public, private, and government entities to pursue legislative initiatives that will help facilitate advanced treatments—and ultimately a cure—for autism spectrum disorders and promote all means to ease the burdens of families and loved ones affected by autism.

Congressman Doyle’s tireless service has touched the lives of countless people across the country and around the globe.


Representative Chris Smith, Congressional Honoree

Chris Smith is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s fourth Congressional District, and currently serves as dean of the state’s congressional delegation as its most senior Member of Congress.

Rep. Smith is a co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Autism Caucus, otherwise known as the Coalition for Autism Research and Education (C.A.R.E.). In 1998, he was contacted by constituents about concerns that there had been elevated levels of autism cases in their communities. After being notified of this, Rep.

Smith requested that the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conduct an investigation into a possible autism cluster within his district. He called the studies’ results “quite alarming,” finding that there were higher rates of autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in the community than before.

Later, in 2001, he worked with Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) to found Capitol Hill’s first organization to call national attention to autism Since its inception, the caucus has been used as a vehicle to aggressively direct more federal attention and funding to autism research and treatment programs. Rep. Smith has consistently advocated for increased funding for autism treatment, expanded research and awareness programs by nearly 10 times the amount it was in the mid-1990’s.

Along with working to increase funding for autism research and treatment, Rep. Smith has worked to pass legislation that gives the federal government a larger role in their efforts to identify the causes, symptoms and treatments for autism and other ASDs.


Michele Carbonell

Michele Carbonell is a homemaker and mother of four children. Michele's son Dylan was diagnosed with Autism in 1996. Since then, Michele has dedicated herself to the treatment and education of her son while raising three other children.

Michele has attended a wide array of conferences dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Prior to starting a family, Michele was a software engineer and project manager with Washington Consulting Group and CRW both providers of information technology and systems for the U.S. Government.

Before attending business school Michele was an engineer with Schlumberger in Paris, France. Michele served as a member of the board of the National Capital Chapter of Autism Speaks and chaired the board from 2012-2016.

Michele is also co-founder of the Nelson and Michele Carbonell Family Foundation. The foundation has donated over $6MM primarily to support education and autism research. In 2014, the foundation endowed the director position of the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute (ANDI) at the George Washington University.

Currently, Michele serves on the board of Exceptional Minds, a non-profit animation and visual effects school and studio for young adults on the Autism Spectrum. Michele holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Duke University and an MBA from Georgetown University.


Vikram Patel

Vikram Patel is the Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at the Harvard Medical School.

He is an Adjunct Professor and Joint Director of the Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries at the Public Health Foundation of India, Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (where he co-founded the Centre for Global Mental Health in 2008), and is a co-founder of Sangath, an Indian NGO which won the MacArthur Foundation’s International Prize for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2008 and the WHO Public Health Champion of India award in 2016.

He is a Fellow of the UK's Academy of Medical Sciences and has served on several WHO expert and Government of India committees. His work on the burden of mental disorders, their association with poverty and social disadvantage, and the use of community resources for the delivery of interventions for their prevention and treatment has been recognized by the Chalmers Medal (Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, UK), the Sarnat Medal (US National Academy of Medicine), an Honorary Doctorate from Georgetown University, the Pardes Humanitarian Prize (the Brain & Behaviour Research Foundation), an Honorary OBE from the UK Government and the Posey Leadership Award (Austin College).

He also works in the areas of child development and adolescent health. He was listed in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential persons of the year in 2015.