PEORIA, Ill. — OSF HealthCare Foundation announced on Tuesday the creation of the Charles and Sue Thomas Autism Endowment for Innovative Solutions, made possible through a $1 million gift from Charles and Sue Thomas, from Rockford, Ill.
The donation will help enable more autism research that will focus on solutions for improving early detection of autism, dramatic improvements in care and treatment, development of supportive technology enhancements, and other innovative solutions to improve the lives of children and families living with autism.
“Our granddaughter, Graciela, is on the autism spectrum. Our family is thrilled to be part of research being done at OSF HealthCare to help her, and other families like ours, get the care needed for a life lived without limitations and uncertainty,” said Charles Thomas.
The work being done through the Thomas Autism Endowment will be a partnership between the University of Illinois, OSF HealthCare and the Autism Collective as part of a Jump ARCHES (Applied Research for Community Health through Engineering and Simulation) program initiative.
“Children diagnosed with autism hold a special place in my heart. I’m excited to join Chuck, Sue, and their family on this journey to change how we think about health care for those on the autism spectrum and redefine what is possible to unlock in helping children like Graciela reach their full potential,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, O.S.F., Chairperson of the Board, OSF HealthCare, in thanking the Thomas’ for their gift.
Through the Jump ARCHES program teams of researchers, clinicians and engineers work together for the improvement of health care quality and patient safety. The teams that receive grants through the ARCHES program are combining expertise in the areas of sensing devices; materials and mechanics; health information technologies; simulation; human factors/industrial ergonomics; artificial intelligence; and design, social, and behavioral sciences to develop solutions.
As a result, the Thomas Autism Endowment will fund further research identified through Jump ARCHES.
OSF HealthCare also recently launched a new initiative to bring Easterseals Central Illinois and OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois together called the Autism Collective. The Autism Collective will give families a single point of contact for cohesive, coordinated care.