Trauma: Adverse Childhood Experience

January 18, 2016
Impact & effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences
As announced in our December enews, MHRS has launched a Trauma Informed Care Learning Community.  As part of this endeavor, we will be posting resource information monthly regarding the effects of trauma.  We will begin with a phenomenal study conducted in 1995-1997.  The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is the largest of its kind ever conducted both in size and scope of information collected. It examines the health and social effects of 10 distinct adverse childhood experiences throughout the lifespan.  This study was done as a partnership between the Division of Adult and Community Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente's Department of Preventive Medicine in San Diego.  An unprecedented 17,337 predominantly well educated, middle-class members of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in San Diego, California agreed to participate in the Study as part of a comprehensive medical evaluation.  An analysis of the relationships of ACEs to health care utilization, rates of pharmaceuticals prescribed, disease incidence, and causes of death was conducted.  It found relationships between these adverse childhood experiences to a wide range of health and social problems throughout the lifespan.  In fact, the results were astounding - 67% of the participants had suffered at least 1 childhood trauma and 10% had endured 5 or more.  The ACE Study found that survivors of childhood trauma are up to 5,000% more likely to attempt suicide, have eating disorders, or become IV drug users - just to name a few of the findings. Dr. Vincent Felitti, the study's co-founder, details this remarkable and powerful connection in this video: 
Knowledge of the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences can have far-reaching impact for health care,schools, courts, law enforcement, corrections, and social service agencies.  This video provides an overview of some of the everyday impacts. This research leads to key questions: Do our community members have ACEs which are too high?  If so, how can we interact with individuals and provide care in a way which does not re-traumatize them?  And, even more "upstream," how can we prevent ACEs from occurring?   These are some of the challenging issues which we will be processing during our Learning Community.

If you are interested in learning more about the ACE Study or our Trauma Informed Care Learning Community, please contact Patti Ahting, MHRS Associate Director, at 513-695-1695 or