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.”