The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center has a four-decade history of pioneering research, education, and service for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families. Founded in 1970, the Center was one of twelve original Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRCs) established by US Congress at that time and also one of the earliest-established University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). The Center was named after Mrs. Shriver to acknowledge her essential role in the development of these programs and her life-long commitment to improving the welfare of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
From its inception, the Center has sought to understand the biological and environmental determinants of IDD with the goals of reducing their impact on individuals and families and promoting their inclusion within their communities. This work continues today with special emphasis on programs that may help to optimize the functioning of persons with IDD and to promote healthy lifestyles.
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Our mission is to advance local, national, and international efforts to improve the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families. To that end, we carry out research to understand environmental and biological processes that influence behavioral development. In parallel and in collaboration, we carry out IDD-relevant programs of technology and information dissemination, education and training, technical assistance, and clinical service.
Our vision is to achieve international distinction for breadth, depth, and quality of interdisciplinary research, education, and service that benefits persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
In 2000, the Shriver Center was merged into the University of Massachusetts Medical School, becoming a center of excellence in intellectual and developmental disabilities within the UMMS Commonwealth Medicine program. The merger was effected to combine the Center’s rich traditions and expertise with those of the University to enhance UMMS programmatic initiatives to address the needs of persons with IDD and their families in the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world at large.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development , National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders , National Institute of Mental Health , National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism , National Science Foundation , U.S. Department of Health and Human Services , Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) , Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services , Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services , Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission , Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services , Massachusetts Department of Public Health