ISAAC was conceived by Dr. Paul Law, a pediatrician
at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a researcher
in the International Health Division. While creating the data management
policies and managing the data of several studies, he grew dissatisfied
with the inherit waste in having to largely recreate the wheel for
each new study, and in his inability to share and combine data from
multiple related studies being conducted on the hall in which he
This dissatisfaction grew into a concept for how an easy to use
system could be built that would allow for both reuse of development
efforts across multiple studies and standardization of data elements
fostering collaboration. Read more in this open
letter from Dr. Law.
In order to realize his dream, he knew that he would have to find
a partner that shared in his vision of a system that would bring
researchers together. He found that partner in the Cure Autism Now
Foundation, and in particular, in the leadership and dedication
of John Shestack and Portia Iversen, the foundation's founders.
Since then, CAN has offered continual support for the application.
Dr. Law also understood that for an application like ISAAC to offer
true value to Autism researchers, it had to include data entry forms
for the standard Autism assessment tools. With that in mind, he
set out to gain agreements from the publishers of these tools. Western
Psychological Services was the first to sign on, allowing for the
inclusion of the ADIR, ADOS, and CARs. In addition, they provided
technical support in developing the scoring algorithms for their
tools that are built into ISAAC.
Tom Hoen joined the ISAAC team in February of 2002. Since then,
he has been responsible for all of the development efforts of the
application and to increase ISAAC's visibility within the autism
community. Under his leadership, the entire application has been
rewritten to increase its performance, now offering many new and
useful features. His work also lay the foundation for future growth
of the application, provides the user with a more logical and easy-to-use
experience, and expanded the user base.
Mr. Hoen spent many years as the product manager for a leading investment
bank's web-based investment applications. Before that, he headed
up the marketing technology effort at the same bank. Managing the
ISAAC effort perfectly combines his skills in web development, marketing,
and client management, along with his desire to work on projects
that can lead to the greater good.