Princeton, NJ, December 05, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- Peter H. Bell, one of the country’s most respected autism advocates and nonprofit executives, has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of Eden Autism Services, a leading autism service provider since 1975. The appointment is effective February 1, 2014 when current President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas P. McCool, Ed.D., retires from the post he has held for eight years.
“Our national search set out to find a visionary leader committed to quality and sustainability as we continually respond to the ever-evolving needs of this family-member organization and the broader autism community we serve,” said Marie Gary, Chair of the Eden Board of Trustees. “The Board is thrilled that Peter will be the next leader of our organization. He brings both the professionalism and humanity that is needed to best serve loved ones on the autism spectrum.”
“Eden Autism Services has a rich history of serving the autism community for nearly 40 years,” said Bell, who is the father of a 20-year old son with autism. “For the past decade, I’ve devoted my energies toward research, awareness and advocacy. While I still hold out hope that a solution to the autism puzzle will happen in our lifetime, I also recognize individuals with autism have opportunities to lead very fulfilling lives. Our goal is to help ensure we recognize, value and accept their differences, capitalize on their strengths and relationships, and provide the supports that allow them to live a life with respect, dignity and purpose. These are the principles I bring to Eden.”
For over a decade, Bell has been an effective leader and compassionate voice within the autism community. As Executive Vice President for Programs and Services of Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, he founded and directed all activities of the Government Relations and Family Services departments for six and a half years and played a pivotal role in establishing the Autism Treatment Network (ATN). His accomplishments include: a strong record of public policy achievements including passage of federal legislation totaling $1.8 billion in funding for autism research and services, the enactment of autism insurance laws in over 30 states, outreach to military families, production of a highly regarded portfolio of resources and tool kits for individuals on the spectrum and their families and a $2.5 million community grant program that has benefited more than 30,000 people with autism. Bell also co-founded Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) and spearheaded important initiatives in the areas of employment, housing and residential supports for adults with autism.
Bell replaces McCool, who expanded school and adult services enrollment, strengthened the organization’s operations and earned income opportunities, and led the effort to fund and build a model education and outreach center during his tenure at Eden. "We thank Dr. McCool for all he has accomplished at Eden," stated Gary. "As we approach our 40th year of service, we are inspired by what we have achieved under Tom’s leadership and look forward to what our future holds as Peter joins us.”
"It’s been a privilege to work with Eden’s remarkable staff. I am proud of the work that we have accomplished in partnership with the Eden Board of Trustees and our families,” said McCool. "Peter’s expertise and experience will help ensure our efforts continue to bring real benefit for individuals with autism and their families.”
From 2004 to 2007, Bell served as President and CEO of Cure Autism Now (CAN). His most notable contributions while at CAN included passage of the federal Combating Autism Act of 2006, establishment of the Autism Treatment Network and guidance of the organization through a period of significant growth, fiscal improvement and community collaboration. Bell later championed CAN’s merger with Autism Speaks and served a valuable role in the integration of the two organizations.
Bell has also represented the autism community by fulfilling a White House appointment as a citizen member to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID), chairing the Consumer Advisory Committee of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) and serving as Chair/Vice Chair of the Autism Research Program for the Department of Defense.
Bell, 49, earned a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He and his wife Liz live in Pennington, New Jersey with their three children.
About Eden Autism Services
Founded in 1975, not-for-profit Eden Autism Services was among the first providers in the country to offer a wide range of science-based services to children and adults with autism through early intervention, 3 to 21 education, employment, adult residential, and consultative programs employing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). With a national prevalence rate of 1 in 88 births (1 in 49 in New Jersey), autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. Recognized nationally, Eden is a leader in working with individuals who have the most challenging behavioral and cognitive deficits. Eden's outreach department offers support and training for families and professionals and has made available for purchase the Eden assessment and curriculum in print and online (ELMS: Eden’s Learning Management System), which is comprised of nearly 40 years of clinical experience. For more information, visit www.edenautism.org or call (609) 987-0099. Follow Eden on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.