The Impact of ACEs Needs to be Understood by All Aspects of Society

As the story of COVID-19 unfolds and we see the impact on families and communities across the country, there is a closely woven thread connecting Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the effect on physical and emotional health outcomes. ACEs are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect along with significant challenges in the home such as witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who have substance use disorders. While the groundbreaking study on childhood adversity and its powerful effect on adult health outcomes was first published by Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda over 20 years ago, there has been a lag in acting upon the implications of those findings in order to promote individual and community health and well-being. With the current overlay of COVID-19, the urgency to understand ACEs and take action is even more pronounced.