Why a pediatrician wants to quantify childhood trauma

Kelly Gooch – Monday, May 17, 2021 Print | E-mail

Nadine Burke Harris, MD, a pediatrician and California’s first surgeon general, is among those raising awareness about a health assessment to quantify adverse childhood experiences, The Washington Post reported on May 15.

The term Adverse Childhood Experiences comes from a study published in the late 1990s by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente of Oakland, California, that found a link between trauma and health. An ACE score typically assesses a person’s experiences of trauma, such as abuse, neglect, and witnessing domestic violence, before the age of 18.

Dr. Harris told the Post she believes increased awareness of ACEs – through a new website from nonprofit ACE Resource Network – could help address the emotional and psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The website provides information about ACEs and allows users to take a quiz to learn their score.

Dr. Harris and other advocates of the measure are in favor because they say childhood trauma may be linked to a greater likelihood of chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and depression.

Critics, however, question the usefulness of the measure – as there is not necessarily a definitive healthy or unhealthy score – and note that it does not include other possible traumatic childhood events, such as bullying and racism, according to the Post.

Still, Dr. Harris to the newspaper: “Having a public understanding and a public narrative that early adversity is harmful to our health increases our understanding of trauma that has been written big: racism, immigration and other factors also increase our health risk. “

Read the full Post article here. Read more about the ACE Resource Network here.

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2021. Interested in LINKING or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

Comments are closed.