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2023 AK Visiting Lecture Series 10 w/ Drs. Kerns & Thom

September 12, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Drs. Robyn Thom and Connor Kerns

Provided by: MGH Center for Faculty Development & Mass General Brigham

2023 Anne Klibanski Visiting Lecture Series 10
“Enhancing the detection and treatment of anxiety disorders in autistic youth”
“Assessment and Treatment of Anxiety in Williams Syndrome”

4:00 – 5:00 pm (1:00 – 2:00 pm PDT)

The Anne Klibanski Visiting Lecture Series was created to support and advance the careers of women. These lectures bring together faculty from institutions that have hosted Anne Klibanski Scholars with MGH scholars, on topics that overlap both research areas.

Dr. Kerns presented on “Enhancing the detection and treatment of anxiety disorders in autistic youth.”
Dr. Thom presented on “Assessment and Treatment of Anxiety in Williams Syndrome.”

Learning Objectives for Dr. Kern’s talk:
Upon completion of this activity, participants were able to:

  • Describe similarities and differences in how anxiety disorders presented in autistic v. allistic (non-autistic) youth.
  • Describe challenges to assessing anxiety disorders in autistic youth and the importance of autism-tailored anxiety measures.
  • Describe the evidence base supporting adapted and traditional cognitive-behavioural therapy for anxiety in autistic children.

Learning Objectives for Dr. Thom’s talk:
Upon completion of this activity, participants were able to:

  • To better understand the neurocognitive profile of individuals with Williams syndrome.
  • Consider how cognitive behavioral therapy may be modified for individuals with Williams syndrome.
  • Discuss emerging psychopharmacologic treatments for anxiety in Williams syndrome.

Connor M. Kerns, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Anxiety, Stress and Autism Program at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Her research focuses on better understanding, assessing and treating anxiety and stress-related conditions in autistic youth and young adults.

Robyn P. Thom, MD, is a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist at the MGH Lurie Center for Autism, the co-Director of the MGH Williams Syndrome Program, and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. Her research interests include advancing knowledge of how psychiatric symptoms are diagnosed and treated in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders across the lifespan.


In support of improving patient care, Mass General Brigham is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Mass General Brigham designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsoring of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibly for the content of the programs. 1 Continuing Education (CE) credit is awarded.


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