Policymakers, philanthropists and private stakeholders are increasingly recognizing how social factors — like poverty, inadequate education, and violence — impact an individual’s health and wellness over time, far beyond what medical care alone can control.
Researchers have found the toll can be particularly profound on children, since adverse childhood experiences such as sexual abuse, or having incarcerated parents, leaves youngsters many times more vulnerable to problems with their health, difficulty in school, and encounters with the criminal justice system.
In New Jersey, many children — at least four in 10, studies show — are affected by adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
At an NJ Spotlight event in Hamilton on Sept. 19, the complexities of ACEs were discussed by experts representing the public sector, health care providers, and funders seeking better outcomes. They addressed the physiological impact of these painful events on young people, the toxic stress that develops in response, and how this stress erodes their wellness and ability to succeed as they age.
Dr. Kemi Alli, Chief Executive Officer, Henry J. Austin Health Center, Trenton
Christine Beyer, MSW, Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Children and Families
Dr. Arturo Brito, MPH, Executive Director, The Nicholson Foundation
Tracy Parris-Benjamin, LMSW, FHELA, Director, Clinical Design Community Health, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
Dr. Denise Rodgers, FAAFP, Vice Chancellor for Interprofessional Programs, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences; RBHS Chair in Interprofessional Education, Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Lilo H. Stainton, Healthcare Reporter, NJ Spotlight