Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the appointment of Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a national leader in pediatric medicine, to serve as California’s first-ever Surgeon General.
There is overwhelming consensus in the scientific community around early warning signs and childhood determinants of serious health outcomes. As California's Surgeon General, Dr. Burke Harris will urge policymakers at every level of government and leaders across the state to consider the social determinants of health, especially for children. Her work will focus on combating the root causes of serious health conditions — like ACEs and toxic stress — and using the platform of the Surgeon General to reach young families across the state.
Dr. Burke Harris, founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness (CYW), has dedicated her professional career to understanding the link between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress in children, and the effect both have on future health outcomes. She leads the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health, a partnership between CYW and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, to advance scientific screening and treatment of toxic stress.
She is the author of The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, a book about ACEs science and how she integrated it into her pediatric practice and her life. Her TED Talk, "How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime", has nearly 5 million page views.
She serves as a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ National Advisory Board for Screening and on a committee for the National Academy of Medicine. She is an expert advisor on the Let’s Get Healthy California Task Force, a former member of the Boys and Men of Color Trauma Advisory Committee and a former appointee by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom to the San Francisco Citizens’ Committee for Community Development.
Dr. Burke Harris, 43, of San Francisco, will be sworn in as Surgeon General on February 11. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation will be $200,000. She is a Democrat.
With Dr. Burke Harris’ appointment, the CYW Board has named longtime Bay Area community healthcare leader, James H. Hickman, as interim CEO.