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Opinion: Screenings Alone Won’t Prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences—We Must Address Community Trauma []


By Rachel A. Davis and Howard Pinderhughes, California Health Report, December 19, 2019

Earlier this month, California’s Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris launched an ambitious campaign to reduce adverse childhood experiences, which can cause lifelong health problems. With more than 60 percent of Californians saying they were exposed to a traumatic childhood event, adverse childhood experiences are at crisis levels in the state. The ACEs Aware campaign will train and pay health care providers to screen Medi-Cal recipients for adverse childhood experiences, known as ACEs.

This investment in screenings is a first step for the surgeon general, who is also a pediatrician, in achieving her visionary goal to reduce adverse childhood experiences by 50 percent in a generation.

Those exposed to ACEs have increased “risks of injury; sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; mental health problems; maternal and child health problems; teen pregnancy; involvement in sex trafficking; a wide range of chronic diseases; and the leading causes of death such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and suicide,” according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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