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Why is Prevention Science so Important?

During the early years of life, a child’s brain grows fast. Nearly a million neural connections are produced each second. This brain development is also shaped by the experiences that children have during these years. This includes factors such as proper nutrition, social supports, family stability, and much more. It also includes exposure to negative impacts, or adverse childhood experiences.

The socioeconomic determinants of health are largely responsible for health disparities and inequities. Evidence shows that preventive interventions can have profound, measurable, and long-lasting effects on the health outcomes of children and youth. This includes behavioral health outcomes.

Special Topics: Racism

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Special Topics: Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

There is a growing body of research on the profound impact that conditions like abuse, neglect, danger, and loss have on children. Especially those from underserved or at-risk families. Research shows a strong link between ACEs and a wide range of physical and mental health problems across the life span.

Current and emerging research helps us understand the effects of ACEs and toxic stress on the body. This can increase risk for health problems, including chronic disease, mental illness, and obesity. ACEs include poor education, abuse/neglect, unemployment and job insecurity, poverty, food insecurity, housing instability, adverse environmental conditions, and limited access to health care.

Prevalence

59%

Percent of U.S. children experience at least one ACE (CDC)

24%

Percent of U.S. children experience three or more ACEs (CDC)

32%

Percent of low income families experience at least one food insecurity – one in six US children (USDA)

Impact

40+ Diseases

Dose-response relationship confirmed between ACEs and more than forty medical conditions (CDC)

80%

Percent of abused/neglected children will develop a psychiatric disorder (CDC)

80%

Increase in risk of overall psychiatric impairment in children from food insecure families*

*Murphy, et al 1998, Relationship between hunger and psychosocial functioning in low income American children

Subsequent ACEs Studies

Adapted and Expanded ACE Surveys

A list of adapted and expanded ACE surveys to include other types of childhood adversity such as racism, witnessing violence outside of the home, bullying, and involvement with the foster care system.

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Beyond the ACE Score

More Information About ACEs

ACEs and Toxic Stress

Center for Youth Wellness

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2018 and 2019 Annual Prevention Science Videos and Takeaways

Where Can I Learn More About Prevention Science?

A brief screening and response protocol guiding the identification of, and response to, traumatic stress in children seen in healthcare and other pediatric settings.

A questionnaire to screen for ACEs and assist in assessing increased health risk due to a toxic stress response.

A practical and evidence-based approach to help address targeted social determinants of health that are also risk factors for child maltreatment.

A care process model that provides best practice recommendations for the prevention of childhood trauma, and the identification and management of pediatric traumatic stress in primary care.

An American Academy of Pediatrics program dedicated to prevention and health promotion through dissemination of guidelines and resources to primary care providers, families, community organizations, and state partners.

A multidisciplinary team committed to driving science-based innovation in policy and practice to achieve breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity.

A New York State Office of Children and Family Services program, this is an evidence-based voluntary home visiting model that seeks to improve the health and well-being of infants and children.

A nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care, and encouraging families to read aloud together.

A report that offers a model and recommendations for promoting the mental wellness of young people, through evidence-based strategies and a focus on wellness.

The official journal of prevention science for the Society for Prevention Research.

A non-profit organization dedicated to the study and prevention of violence through education, community service, research support and consultation.

A report intended to increase interest in prevention practices that can impede the onset or reduce the severity of mental health and substance use disorders among children, youth, and young adults.

A comprehensive mental health plan for New York City, including resources and Mental Health First Aid trainings.

A six-part series designed to provide primary care physicians with the tools to address adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) with patients and their families.

A U.S. government website focused on effective youth programs that defines and considers a variety of promotion and prevention interventions for positive youth mental health outcomes.

Promotes the optimal development of young children, their families, and their communities in the New York metropolitan area.