The UCLA Tarjan Center is located within the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Most of our faculty members hold positions within the David Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. The Semel Institute is a unique interdisciplinary research and education hub. Our faculty foster research in modern behavioral neuroscience, social policy, and culture.

Our strategic location within the Semel Institute facilitates collaboration and knowledge-sharing with cutting-edge clinical and specialized clinics, research programs. These include the Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART), the NIH Autism Center for Excellence (ACE), Center for Child Anxiety Resilience Education and Support (CARES), and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC), as well as highly-ranked training programs in psychiatry and psychology across the lifespan. Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, our Director, also has direct connections with other programs. For instance, she serves as the Program Director for ACE Dissemination, Outreach, and Education Core, and as the Director of the UCLA Autism and Neurodiverse Disability Pre-Doctoral Psychology Internship.

The Tarjan Center is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), designated by the Association for Community Living/Association on Disabilities. We are organized around the five core functions outlined in the Developmental Disabilities Act:

  1. Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation and Continuing Education
  2. Technical Assistance
  3. Community Services
  4. Research
  5. Information Dissemination

All functions are designed to address the diverse needs related to health (both mental and physical), postsecondary education, and employment.

Since the 1960s, the Tarjan Center has played an essential role in serving our community. In 2001, our program was renamed to honor the late Dr. George Tarjan who was a prominent UCLA Child Psychiatrist. In 1961, Dr. Tarjan served as the Vice Chair of the inaugural Presidents’ Panel on Intellectual Disabilities (previously known as mental retardation), an initiative established by President John F. Kennedy.