Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’s TEDMED Talk on how childhood trauma – Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – affects health across a lifetime is remarkable. I urge readers of this blog to view her 15 minute video because childhood trauma is one of the key risk factors for developing a substance use disorder.
Revolutionizing Pediatric Medicine to Recognize and Treat Adverse Childhood Experiences
I then urge you to take a look at the website for the Center for Youth Wellness Dr. Burke Harris founded and references in her TEDMED Talk. The Center’s mission – “to improve the health of children and adolescents exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences.” Their goal:
“… is to change the standard of pediatric practice by creating a clinical model that recognizes the impact of adverse experiences on health and effectively treats toxic stress in children. We do this by using a multidisciplinary approach focused on preventing and undoing the chemical, physiological and neurodevelopmental results of ACEs. Our model integrates primary health care, mental health and wellness, research, policy, education, and community and family support services to meet children and families where they are to support them in leading healthier lives.” Center for Youth Wellness > “What We’re Doing”
The drastic impacts of toxic stress on children exposed to ACEs experience is life changing:
“Children are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of chronic stress and trauma. For many kids who are repeatedly exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as violence at home or in the community, or having a parent with mental illness or substance dependence, their “fight or flight” system is activated so often that it stays on. These high levels of emergency hormones can lead to changes in the structure and function of children’s developing brains and bodies. The result is toxic stress.” Dr. Burke Harris, Center for Youth Wellness > “What is Toxic Stress”
I’m sure you’ll agree that Dr. Burke Harris’s approach needs to be shared and replicated widely.
Thanks for doing your part to make this happen.