By Alexandra Retter, Winona Post, July 8, 2020
Childhood is a formative period, and the experiences one has during it resonate throughout one’s life. One local professor has been helping to share information about the impacts of trauma during childhood on adult life, and she was recently honored for her work with an award.
Winona State University social work professor Ruth Charles recently received the 2020 Champion for Children Award from Minnesota Communities Caring for Children (MCCC, or FamilyWise Services) for her work regarding adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
Adverse experiences one has as a child impact health later in life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study and many subsequent studies. ACEs such as violence, abuse and being raised in a household with issues related to mental health or substance use — are connected with chronic health problems, mental illness and substance misuse when one is an adult, the CDC states. ACEs can cause toxic stress that impacts brain development and the body’s stress responses. A minimum of five of the 10 most widespread causes of death are related to ACEs, according to the CDC, and they are common: 61 percent of adults have had at least one and 16 percent have experienced four or more. Reduced risk of depression, asthma, cancer, diabetes, smoking and heavy drinking, as well as better potential with education and career matters, may result from preventing ACEs, the CDC says.