Bringing CNS Members Together to Make Children’s Lives Better


About the Speakers

Sarah Spence, MD, PhD

Sarah Spence, MD, PhD

Sarah Spence, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School where she also serves as Co-Director of the Autism Spectrum Center. Dr. Spence completed undergraduate training in psychobiology at Harvard Radcliffe College before going on to earn her PhD in behavioral neuroscience at UCLA and her MD at the University of California San Franciso. She completed pediatrics and pediatric neurology training at UCLA.

Her professional interests are outlined nicely in a profile posted on the BCH website (

“Dr Spence’s clinical and research activities have been focused on children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and related disorders.  She was recruited to BCH in 2010 and has led a multi-disciplinary effort to form the Autism Spectrum Center at BCH, of which she is co-director.

As a child neurologist with doctoral training in cognitive neuroscience, her research interests have always been at the interface between brain and behavior.  She credits her ASD expertise to the experience of doing home visits for the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE), a large autism genebank.  She spent 6 years as the medical director of the UCLA Autism Evaluation Clinic and then 4 years at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) doing clinical research.  At Boston Children’s she is combining her interests and expertise in clinical care, clinical research, and teaching with a primary focus on improving the lives of children with autism spectrum disorders and their families.

She has lectured extensively nationally and internationally on ASD.  She has also worked on the DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Workgroup and worked with various foundations and professional groups including Cure Autism Now, Autism Speaks, AGRE, the Autism Treatment Network, the Dup 15q Alliance, the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.”

Dr. Spence has been very active in both the Child Neurology Society and the American Academy of Neurology, effectively demonstrating the value to her career, her colleagues, her patients, and to the medical associations to which she belongs by being actively involved in multiple professional organizations.