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Helping Californians live healthier lives and reach their full potential

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The ACEs Aware initiative is a first-in-the nation effort to screen patients for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to help improve and save lives.

Led by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and the Office of the California Surgeon General (CA-OSG) as part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s California For All initiative, ACEs Aware strives to create a better world for children, families, and communities by working together across the health, human services, education, and non-profit sectors to prevent and address the impact of ACEs and toxic stress.

More than 60 percent of Californians have experienced at least one ACE, and 16.7 percent have experienced four or more. (1) The good news is toxic stress is treatable. A consensus of scientific data demonstrates that early detection and early intervention significantly improves health outcomes. 

ACEs Aware is bringing communities together in ways never before imagined to prevent, screen for, treat, and heal trauma-induced toxic stress. Together, we are getting to the root cause of some of the most harmful, persistent, and expensive health challenges facing our state and nation. 

“Decreasing the burden of ACEs is not only an ethical and moral imperative, but critical to our economic vitality. This work is a key preventive measure to improve health and societal outcomes for our state’s residents for generations to come.”

- California Governor Gavin Newsom

Initially funded through the 2021-22 budget under Proposition 56, ACEs Aware has become a vital part of the Medi-Cal program’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, helping providers identify, treat, and prevent the secondary health effects caused by the stress of the pandemic. The initiative is making great progress, but there is more work to be done.

“We have set a bold goal to cut ACEs and toxic stress in half in one generation. I believe that we can get there with shared vision, shared understanding, and cross-sector collaboration.”

- California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

Get Involved

Every person and organization can play a vital role in transforming health outcomes and improving the lives of Californians. Here’s how to engage with the ACEs Aware initiative, whether you are new to ACEs and trauma-informed work or long-standing leaders in this area:

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California’s ACEs Aware Initiative Launches State of Care Provider Engagement Campaign

The Department of Health Care Services and Office of the California Surgeon General launched the “State of CAre” health care provider engagement campaign to expand the reach and impact of the initiative. The campaign uses digital and print media to raise awareness about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the long-term health effects they can have on children and adults if not addressed.

ACEs Aware Seeking Applicants to Support Clinical and Communications Work

ACEs Aware is hiring for three new positions – Deputy Communications Director and two Science/Clinical Advisors – to further the mission of supporting Medi-Cal providers across California with training, clinical protocols, and payment for screening children and adults for ACEs.

References

1: California Department of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch (CDPH/IVPB), University of California, Davis, Violence Prevention Research Program, California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2011-2017.