Research Autism Appoints Top Healthcare Specialist as New CEO

Date: 23 March 2016

Research Autism has appointed healthcare strategic communications specialist Sarah Mathieson as its new CEO.

Sarah will take the helm of the UK charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of all those affected by autism. The reputation and standing of the charity is at an all-time high, as it is seen as having a vital and distinctive role to play in improving the lives of this large community. The foundation on which Research Autism stands is trusted and reliable information based on research, from which three Centres have been built, namely Research, Information and Development.

Sarah will take over from outgoing CEO, Deepa Korea, in April.

Geoffrey Maddrell, Founder and Chairman of Research Autism said: “I thank Deepa Korea for her role in helping to bring Research Autism to its current position as the leading charity for families and the wider autism community looking for trusted information.

We are especially delighted to have Sarah join us to take Research Autism to the next critical level of delivering research which addresses the priorities set out by the autism community; of getting research-based information out beyond families themselves to all relevant communities, such as the medical and educational professionals, schools, universities and businesses; and of supporting critical developments such as employment and mentoring primarily through the delivery of reliable research-based information and assistance.”

Sarah brings a wide range of invaluable experience from 20 years in the health sector, including senior management positions across R&D, corporate, marketing and consumer divisions at GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer.

After a successful career in the private sector Sarah’s personal experience – when her best friend’s son was diagnosed with the condition – moved her to find out more, and to take up this post.

Sarah said: “I've seen how hard it can be for families to navigate the system, and to learn what might help their child and what is available.  Life for an autistic person and their families is often complex, and access to a good support network and reliable, independent information is essential."

“I’m thrilled to be taking on the role of CEO for such a brilliant organisation.

“I want to use my wealth of experience, managing and developing teams in complex environments to take the charity forward and continue to provide impartial advice and support to everyone who is affected by autism.”

She added: “After specialising in healthcare and wellness for my whole career, I remain incredibly passionate about the area and about what is possible with great vision, tenacity and leadership.”

Estimates suggest that almost 700,000 people in the UK have autism (Research Autism), equating to one person in every 100.  Since the 1990s, the number of people diagnosed with the condition has risen significantly. Research* from the charity last year revealed that 83% of parents felt lost or confused about where to turn to for help with regard to their child’s treatment after diagnosis. The challenge for adults, parents of children on the autistic spectrum and all involved professionals is getting to grips with the diagnosis, as well as understanding the bewildering array of advice and types of treatment and therapies.

Research Autism’s vision is of a world in which people with autism are no longer excluded, and where they and their families are able to enjoy a good quality of life. Helping this group will also lead to helping society at large.

Sarah describes herself as ‘passionate, innovative and results-orientated, with a real desire to affect and embed positive change’, and has a proven track record in building and developing functions, teams and partnerships.  She is also a keen sportswoman.

- ENDS -

*The Research Autism Survey was carried out amongst 500 families with a child on the autism spectrum.

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Notes to editors:


Bernard Fleming, Information Manager, Tel. 020 3490 3091, email info@researchautism.net

Research Autism


Research Autism is the only UK charity dedicated to the production of quality, trusted information on autism treatments and other approaches. Its Information Centre is informed by world experts and accredited by the NHS Information Standard, an independent kite-mark of reliability and quality. It guides people through the minefield of interventions on offer, allowing them to make informed decisions based on impartial, factual information, including risks and hazards. Its research programme is derived from the priorities of autistic people and families and addresses areas that affect everyday life. 

Choosing Autism Interventions: A Research-Based Guide at http://www.pavpub.com/choosing-autism-interventions/  or http://www.amazon.co.uk/Choosing-Autism-Interventions-Research-Based-Guide/dp/1910366765

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