Ann M. Sam
Ann Sam, PhD, is an advanced research scientist at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research and professional development interests are rooted in her direct experience as a public-school teacher working in preschool and kindergarten classrooms with students with autism. The primary goal of Dr. Sam's work is to increase awareness and use of evidence-based interventions and resources designed to improve outcomes for students with autism. At the heart of her work is ensuring this access extends to professionals in underserved communities—those with fewer resources available for extensive in-person training and support. To address this goal, Dr. Sam's research and professional development activities focus on two primary areas: 1) using novel technologies to provide interventions to students and professional development to educators; and 2) rigorously researching professional development materials and models for educators to determine effective ways to increase successful implementation of evidence-based practices with students with autism.
Dr. Sam led the development of the Autism Focused Intervention Resources & Modules (AFIRM). AFIRM provides free online modules for evidence-based practices for children and youth with autism. She is currently Co-PI for Supporting paraprofessional-Teachers use of Evidence-based practices with Learners with Autism Research project (STELAR). She previously served as Co-PI on The Efficacy Study for Elementary Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder (TESELA) which examined the efficacy of the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder (NPDC) Professional Development Model.