About the Autism News Network

The Autism News NetWORK (ANN) is a media corporation under the direction of McLeod Frampton Gwynette, Jr., MD at the Medical University of South Carolina. The corporation serves as a social skills and vocational training opportunity for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through the production of video content, podcasts, broadcast and internet radio, newsletters and live events aimed at a mass audience. All Autism News NetWORK material is written, produced, and directed by adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The program is designed to provide adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder an opportunity to learn these skills and empower them to work in a meaningful career. The Autism News NetWORK will potentially employ large numbers of adults with ASD who will help operate the program day to day.

The Autism News NetWORK is a novel program and fills a major gap in adult social skills and vocational services in the field of Autism. While there are some websites generating media about Autism, the Autism News NetWORK exists for the benefit of its participants with Autism Spectrum Disorder, while generating a unique, first-hand viewpoint of living with Autism.

One unique characteristic of the Autism News NetWORK is the provision of therapeutic support by clinicians for adults with Autism in the work environment. This support is integral to the success of Autism News NetWORK participants.

Dr. Frampton Gwynette

Dr. Gwynette is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Professor of Pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). He is the Director of MUSC’s Project Rex Division, as well as the Director of MUSC’s Community Psychiatry and General Psychiatry Clinics. Dr. Gwynette has served on the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s (AACAP) Autism and Intellectual Disability Committee since 2014 and is the current President of AACAP’s South Carolina Chapter. Dr. Gwynette founded the Autism News Network in 2018.

Lisa Ferazzoli, MA, PA-C, LPC

Lisa Ferazzoli is a proud board member and Vice President of the Autism News Network. Her career in healthcare began more than 20 years ago and she has worked in a variety of inpatient and outpatient medical settings, where she has worked with a diverse range of patients throughout New York City, Boston and Charleston, SC. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Touro University, School of Health Sciences. She is currently certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. After spending several years, mainly in Internal Medicine, Lisa discovered a passion for providing mental health care and education and was inspired to pursue additional education and training to do this at a higher level. Lisa holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Psychology; Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from New York University. She completed her clinical training at Tuft’s Medical Center in Boston, MA. Lisa believes that her experience and training in medicine accompanied by her training in mental health counseling allows her to support patients from a more comprehensive and unique perspective.

During Lisa’s time working at Project Rex at the Medical University of South Carolina she was introduced to The Autism News Network and was part of the clinical team supporting its functionality. Lisa was immediately drawn to the character, talent and uniqueness of the ANN team. Realizing the need for programs for adults with Autism, she quickly understood the value ANN provides and became devoted to aiding in its growth and success. In her personal life, Lisa has been exposed to life on the spectrum through family relationships and has a deep understanding of how ASD impacts the individual, as well as the family. Her goal is to help our young adults reach the bright futures they are capable of and deserve. Working on projects with ANN allows Lisa to be creative and supportive, which she very much enjoys.

Since stepping away from her clinical role at MUSC, Lisa remains on the board of ANN and continues to contribute while providing clinical services elsewhere. She is currently practicing psychiatry in Vienna, VA and maintains a small, private counseling practice as well. Lisa has been a guest speaker for NYU graduate psychology programs on the topic of Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Providers and is an NYU Alumni Ambassador to help guide the next generation of mental health providers as she is committed to promoting the growth of mental health care in the U.S. Being a part of ANN is a large part of that for Lisa, as she truly believes in this organization and looks forward to its future success.

Deloris Blake

Deloris Blake was born in Huntington, West Virginia. She has been married since 1990 to her husband Donnie and has two children, Joshua and Kristina. The most important things to her in life is her faith and her family.

She serves as a board member for the Autism News Network, and is very passionate about the ANN, and the participants, especially her daughter, Kristina. She wants the ANN to flourish and grow into a great Television Station in the near future creating Jobs and Job skills for all the Autism adults that comes to the Ann.

Since 2017, Deloris has been volunteering her time to work with the Autism News Network. She is dedicated in helping the ANN grow. Deloris has the ability to listen and encourages the participants to do their best, making her a valuable asset for the ANN participants and staff.

She studied to be a CNA and then became a CNA supervisor in pediatrics and other units at Huntington Hospital while attending nursing school. After graduating her nursing program Blake served as a pediatric nurse at Huntington Hospital in the pediatrics unit for 7 years. She then served as a nurse supervisor in substance abuse and mental illness at Huntington Hospital for 5 years. She then transitioned to supervisor over troubled children and teens with autism and mental health issues for 13 years. Her passion has always been to help people, and to see them healthy, confident and independent.

After stepping away from clinical work, Blake served as owner operator of Nas-Carpet carpet cleaning business for 3 years prior to moving with her family to South Carolina. She then worked as a teaching assistant and substitute teacher for the next four years. She was also president of a non-profit organization during that time, where her worked focused on fundraising, organization and recruiting. Subsequently, she became co-owner and operator of Blast From the Past collectible toy store until it’s closing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. She was also co-director of the Plunge Program called People Serving People, which is an organization that provides meals and clothing to the homeless for more than 10 years.

Paul Vitale

Paul Vitale is a dedicated and passionate board member and treasurer of the Autism News Network (ANN) specializing in accounting, finance and general business acumen.  Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the organization that will help the ANN to maximize its potential, helping members and non members to develop relevant skills for their own personal and professional growth.  

Paul’s initial connection to the ANN is through his wife and board Vice President of ANN, Lisa Ferazzoli.  Through Lisa, Paul expressed an interest in helping consult with the other board members in a variety of matters and was asked to formally join the board in January of 2023.

Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in tax from St. John’s University in New York.   He holds CPA licenses in various states having over 20 years of experience providing tax and business advice to investment funds and has extensive experience with the taxation of financial products, Regulated Investment Companies, Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds.

Paul is currently a Managing Director in PwC’s Tax Technology Innovation Team as he has become a designated data science citizen and solutions architect who is very well versed in emerging technology in relation to business analytics, workflow and visualization applications. He directly liaises with data science/technology professionals and all relevant business stakeholders. He has a unique understanding of the tax landscape and financial services industry allowing him to think strategically and assist with designing models from a systems and business analysts perspective. He is actively training and developing others across the national and global tax and assurance practices – specializing in change management operations.

Paul’s passion in this area is paving the way for teams to be more effective and efficient while delivering the highest quality deliverable alongside a differentiated, innovative and digital client experience.

In his spare time Paul enjoys family time and traveling which further fuels his creativity and innovative thinking.  He is excited to continue his journey with ANN, contributing to its mission and making a lasting difference in the lives of those it serves.  

Vernon Mathias

Vernon is a serial healthcare technology entrepreneur and is currently the co-founder of HabitNu, a digital health and wellness company helping people improve their physical and mental health to prevent and reverse the impact of chronic disease. Licensed by state health agencies, health systems, pharmacies, and community service organizations, the HabitNu teaching platform offers a CDC-recognized curriculum and digital tools that deliver personalized, skill-building programs for prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. As the Chief Growth Officer, Vernon leads HabitNu’s product development efforts and manages the company’s revenue-generating activities.

Vernon holds an MBA in finance from Loyola University, Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Loyola College, India.  He started his career at PwC Chicago in their Financial Valuation Services where he worked on some of the largest corporate mergers and acquisitions of that period. He has over 30 years of hands-on business development experience creating and executing go-to-market strategies, managing sales and marketing teams, and building meaningful strategic partnerships and relationships to drive new market opportunities.  Vernon is on the board of Charleston Digital Corridor, a regional start-up incubator and business accelerator focused on creating the business, social and education environment to advance the growth of tech and tech-related companies.

Vernon is an active ANN board member and his association with the organization was originally through his son Jacob, who is on the Autism spectrum.  While researching vocational and social skills programs to supplement Jacob’s education at Trident Technical College, he came across Project Rex and ANN. Vernon believes he can utilize his business development and relationship building expertise to help ANN establish a more secure financial foundation by establishing connections to prospective local and national funding partners and stakeholders to help scale the program.