Pediatricians and school nurses are powerful partners when we intentionally collaborate to improve the continuity of care in the populations we serve. It is the intentionality of relationship building that can bear the most fruitful outcomes to improve the health and well-being of our most vulnerable population, our children. We are far more effective working in concert than in our silos.
School communities are looking for guidance, answers, and action to address the explosion of school-related violence, including mass shootings. We are all grappling with questions of safety, mental health services, protecting our students and staff from harm and most of all the cause of the cause behind this public health crisis. Perhaps if we did use a public health model and focused on prevention we might begin to piece together solutions to the social determinants that are driving this crisis.
What we do know is that exposure to adverse childhood experiences leading to toxic stress changes our biology and impacts long-term health outcomes well into adulthood. Not all children who experience developmental trauma are impacted in the same way. Resilience can be a learned skill that allows people to bounce forward, beyond their present circumstances.
When you couple Adverse Childhood Experiences with Adverse Community Environments, you have a “Pair of Aces” (Ellis, Dietz 2017) an even more complex and challenging reality that plagues many communities.
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