The MIND Institute: New Hope for Autism


By Rick Rollens

MRI scansThe MIND (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute at the University of California-Davis Medical Center is dedicated to finding the causes of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders and developing effective treatments and cures. It was founded in 1998 by four Sacramento, California, fathers of children with regressive autism, who believed that the level of autism research and clinical and educational services for children with autism left much to be desired.

In little more than two years, the MIND Institute has raised over $40 million, making it the largest autism research institute in the world. It was the first independent research institute to solicit research proposals on the role of vaccines in the development of autism. For the first time in history, millions of dollars are being used to fund independent science, free of the influence of the “vaccinate at all costs” public health community and vaccine manufacturers, into the relationship of vaccines and autism. The institute is also undertaking an epidemiological study into the factors underlying California’s 502 percent increase in autism over the past 13 years.

The MIND Institute has three core components: research, clinic, and education. Parents are equal partners with university researchers and administrators in all decisions made at the institute and serve in equal numbers on its governing committees. The institute receives its ongoing funding from the state of California, with financial and in-kind support from businesses, foundations, and private donors. It has awarded grants to researchers within California and the University of California system, as well as to national and international investigators, including Andrew Wakefield of Great Britain.

For more information, contact the MIND Institute at 888-883-0961 or look up its website, mindinstitute.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/.

Rick Rollens is the father of Russell Rollens (10), who suffers from regressive autism and was recently featured on the cover of Newsweek’s all-time best-selling issue. Rick is the former secretary of the California State Senate and is co-founder of the MIND Institute and FEAT (Families for Early Autism Treatment). He was instrumental in the production of the California Report, which documents the California autism epidemic.