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The ISF Blog

Opening Day of the National Summit on Adverse Childhood Experiences

Emily's picture
Written by Emily
Published on 5/13/2013

By Emily Wilson, MPH, MS, CHES

The National Summit on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) was officially kicked off today in Philadelphia at the Independence Visitors Center. Over 160 child and family-serving professionals from the medical, mental health, public health, community development, philanthropic, and other sectors were represented at the Summit. The event brought together thought leaders, advocates, and activists from across the country and within many geographic regions of the United States.

The National ACEs Summit was officially opened by Martha Davis, MSS, Executive Director of the Institute for Safe Families, and Jane Isaacs Lowe, PhD, Senior Advisor for Program Development at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who offered a call to action, stating “We can do better and we must,” to address childhood adversity and the short and long-term effects of child trauma on our society.

Dr. Robert Anda, MD, MS, Co-Principal Investigator of the ACE Study followed with an opening keynote address, in which he encouraged Summit participants to “change the course of history” and build resilience in the next generation of children by working together in new ways across their respective fields and disciplines. “Our job in doing this work is to help people find meaning in what happened to them and to also find purpose. By doing this work, we are interrupting the intergenerational cycle and transmission of ACEs from person to person.”

Dr. Anda noted that the ACE Study framework borrows information and concepts from a wide range of disciplines and theoretical foundations, including public health, sociology, and other domains to look at social, psychological, and disease outcomes in a meaningful, impactful, big picture way – connecting the dots between the past, present, and future. “The power of the ACE Study is that it is simple and yet the results are profound,” he offered while describing how the voices of the 17,000 people who participated in the original ACE Study spoke out to demonstrate the enormous impact that child trauma had on their health and lives.

“The power of the ACE Study is that it is simple and yet the results are profound.”

Dr. Robert Anda, MD, MS, Co-Principal Investigator of the ACE Study

Following the opening remarks from Dr. Anda, national and regional experts on ACEs comprised the speaker line-up for the rest of Day One of the National ACEs Summit, including:

  • Dr. Andrew Garner, MD, PhD, FAAP Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University & Chair, AAP Leadership Workgroup on Early Brain and Child Development
  • Dr. Jennifer Hays-Grudo, PhD,  Professor and George Kaiser Chair in Community Medicine University of Oklahoma, School of Community Medicine
  • Dr. Heather Larkin, PhD, LCSW‐R, Assistant Professor, School of Social Welfare, University at Albany (SUNY)
  • Dr. Christina Bethell, PhD, MBA, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine & Director of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative
  • Dr. Lee Pachter, DO, Chief, Section on General Pediatrics & Associate Chair for Community Pediatrics, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children
  • Mary Harkins-Schwarz, MPH, Senior Research Associate, Public Health Management Corporation
  • Dr. Roy Wade, MD, PhD, MPH, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • Laura Porter, Co-Founder, ACE Interface, LLC
  • Sue Mackey Andrews, Facilitator, Maine Resilience Building Network & President, SOLUTIONS Consulting Group, LLC
  • Dr. Nancy Hardt, MD, Professor, Department of Pathology and Ob-Gyn & Director, Health Equity and Service Learning Programs, University of Florida, College of Medicine
  • Marcia Stanton, MSW, Coordinator of Injury Prevention Center & Strong Families Program, Phoenix Children's Hospital
  • Sonni Vierling, MA, Coordinator, Central Iowa ACEs Steering Committee & State Coordinator, 1st Five Healthy Mental Development Initiative, Iowa Department of Public Health

Attendees participated in two roundtable discussions following presentations and panels on ACEs Research, Policy, and Advocacy and also had the opportunity to network with colleagues and experts who are currently engaged in ACEs work throughout the nation. A collection of presentation slides and more information on the event is available on ISF’s website. Stay tuned for further developments and follow us live on Twitter for real-time updates on Day Two of the National Summit on ACEs.