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Tanguay named interim director of UofL Autism Center at Kosair Charities

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Tanguay named interim director of UofL Autism Center at Kosair Charities

Noted expert on autism spectrum disorders served as consultant for motion picture, ‘Rain Man’

Tanguay named interim director of UofL Autism Center at Kosair Charities

Peter Tanguay, M.D.

Peter E. Tanguay, M.D., has been named interim director of the University of Louisville Autism Center at Kosair Charities. Managed jointly by UofL’s School of Medicine and College of Education and Human Development, the UofL Autism Center at Kosair Charities provides the region’s premier program of treatment, evaluation, intervention, training and research in autism spectrum disorders, offering children, parents and primary care providers with a single source of treatment, referral and information. 

“Dr. Peter Tanguay possesses both depth and breadth of knowledge of autism, making him the perfect choice to direct the UofL Autism Center at Kosair Charities as we transition to permanent leadership,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., interim dean of the School of Medicine. “His many years of service on the UofL faculty as well as his distinguished career spanning more than 40 years are assets to the university in leading the center.”

“We’re excited about Dr. Tanguay’s appointment and his vision for collaboration among the many advocates and agencies that serve our community through the University of Louisville Autism Center,” said W. Blake Haselton, Ph.D., interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development.  “My past experiences with him and his record of accomplishments create a high degree of confidence in his leadership of the center.” 

The autism center is located on the Kosair Charities campus at 1405 E. Burnett St. Kosair Charities has donated the rent amount to UofL in a lease arrangement for up to 15 years, bringing the value of the agreement to more than $2 million. Additionally, Kosair Charities has provided more than $1 million in operating funds for the center. Kosair Charities is UofL’s fourth leading private supporter.

About Peter Tanguay, M.D. 

Tanguay is the Spafford Ackerly Endowed Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry-Emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UofL. The author of numerous journal articles on autism, he is known worldwide for his expertise as a lecturer and workshop presenter.

A native of Quebec City, Canada, Tanguay earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Ottawa; completed an internship at Harper Hospital in Detroit; and residency and fellowship in child psychiatry at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He is board certified in both psychiatry and child psychiatry. He came to UofL in 1994 from UCLA, where he was on the psychiatry faculty for 24 years. He was named emeritus professor at UCLA in 1994 and at UofL in 2003. 

Tanguay’s research has focused on autism and Asperger’s Disorder. He bases his work upon an understanding of social communication and incorporates interviews designed to assess core deficits in the condition. One goal of his work has been to develop practical ways in which teachers and clinicians can become expert in the diagnosis, understanding and treatment of persons within the autism spectrum.  

He has served on the board of the Kentucky Autism Training Center for over a decade. He also has served in a variety of leadership roles with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education, the Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education, the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatry Association, the National Alliance for Autism Research, the Asperger Syndrome Coalition of the United States and others.

He served as technical adviser to two films: “Lucky Day,” an ABC television movie in 1991, and the United Artists motion picture, “Rain Man,” starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, in 1988. Hoffman won an Oscar for his portrayal of Raymond, an autistic savant, in the film.

Tanguay’s recent publications include an invited 10-year review of Pervasive Developmental Disorder in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In 1998 he won the Rieger Award of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as author of the most significant paper published by a child psychiatrist in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 1997-98. Between 2006 and 2010 he was Editor-in-Chief of the Psychiatric Residents in Training Exam (PRITE) sponsored by the American College of Psychiatrists.

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