By Abraham Gutman, The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 9, 2019
Growing up in Philadelphia can be a traumatizing experience. Poverty, hunger, gun violence, evictions, and mass incarceration are just some of the difficult experiences that bear down on children here. Over the last couple of decades, public health researchers and policymakers have increasingly recognized that the body "remembers” childhood trauma, and these experiences at a young age can predict illness, risky behavior, and criminal involvement well into adulthood.
To mitigate the impact of childhood trauma, we need to know which kids are most likely to be traumatized. If we identify them early enough, maybe we can even prevent the trauma from occurring altogether.
Last week, Dr. Christine Forke, a violence prevention initiative fellow at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, presented at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia with new data exploring the relationship between the levels of childhood trauma experienced by parents and their kids. Her findings can help develop a road map to address the transfer of trauma across generations.