School of Medicine

Proven leader to spearhead efforts to bring help and hope to patients and families

Catherine M. Brock, executive director of The Center for Autism

Steve Zylius / UC Irvine Strategic Communications


Irvine, Calif., Sept. 10, 2014 — Catherine M. Brock, a highly regarded clinical and administrative leader in the field of autism spectrum disorders, will become executive director of the Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders of Southern California as of Sept. 15.

Brock will be responsible for overall management of the center, and she’ll focus on positioning it as a center of excellence for clinical care, community engagement and research.

The center is a collaboration of the UC Irvine School of Medicine, CHOC Children’s Hospital, Chapman University’s College of Educational Studies, the Children & Families Commission of Orange County and the William & Nancy Thompson Family Foundation.

Utilizing an innovative and integrated approach, the center provides assessment, diagnosis, treatment, care coordination, family support and education for children, teens and young adults with autism and other developmental disorders. It’s one of only a few centers in the region to deliver a continuum of support and services until age 22 and to conduct research focused on transforming autism care and treatment.

“I have a clear mission to spearhead the Center for Autism’s efforts to provide help and hope to individuals and families living with autism and neurodevelopmental disorders,” Brock said. “The center comprises world-class clinicians, researchers and practitioners who are completely dedicated to having a meaningful impact on the lives of those here in the community whom we serve, and I am honored to partner with my new colleagues to lead our efforts forward.”

Brock has 20 years of experience in operations and with the treatment of autism. She most recently was associate director of the University of Washington Autism Center, where her responsibilities included operations, administration and clinical leadership. With a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University Seattle and more than a decade in practice as a licensed mental health counselor, Brock has deep knowledge of autism and possesses the understanding and expertise necessary to forge strong relationships with patients and their families.

“Cathy is a seasoned, highly talented and passionate professional who will be a catalyst and create synergies among the five founding partner organizations and our affiliated UC Irvine research group, the Center for Autism Research & Translation,” said Don Cardinal, chair of the center’s advisory board. “She has an ideal combination of skills, experience and expertise in autism to drive our efforts forward, and our community will be well served by her leadership.”

The Center is at 2500 Red Hill Ave. in Santa Ana.

About the Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Founded in 2001 as For OC Kids, the Center for Autism is home to a team of experts in the field of autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. Since opening, it has been a leader in assessment, diagnosis, care coordination, family support and education for children with autism spectrum and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Its mission is to provide help and hope to children and families challenged by autism, ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. In December 2012, the William & Nancy Thompson Family Foundation and the Children & Families Commission of Orange County gave UC Irvine $14 million to expand clinical, outreach and educational services at the center and to support research at the Center for Autism Research & Translation at UC Irvine. The Thompsons also contributed $800,000 to Chapman University’s College of Educational Studies to fund two initiatives in collaboration with The Center for Autism. For more information, visit