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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.

Initially 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 (watch the 2020 launch event).

On October 1, 2021, the ACEs Aware initiative transitioned to a new organizational home within the University of California. The newly created University of California ACEs Aware Family Resilience Network (UCAAN) is a multi-campus initiative that leverages the substantial interdisciplinary resources of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) public health sciences campuses to develop, promote, and sustain evidence-based methods to screen patients for ACEs and create treatment plans to help patients heal from the impacts of trauma and toxic stress. UCAAN is led and administered through the Department of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the UCSF Center to Advance Trauma-Informed Health Care (watch a webinar with UCAAN leaders).

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.”

- Former 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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October 2023 Quarterly Data Report: Medi-Cal Clinicians Conduct more than 2 Million ACE Screenings

The ACEs Aware initiative released the October 2023 quarterly data report detailing the number of ACE screenings conducted for Medi-Cal members (children and adults) and the number of individuals who completed the “Becoming ACEs Aware in California” online training.

Between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2022, Medi-Cal clinicians conducted more than 2,040,870 ACE screenings of 1,390,300 unique Medi-Cal members.

Between December 4, 2019, and August 31, 2023, more than 33,270 individuals completed the Becoming ACEs Aware in California training, including approximately 15,100 Medi-Cal clinicians who are ACEs Aware-certified and…

October 10 Trauma-Informed Primary Care (TIPC) Advisory Committee Meeting

A Trauma-Informed Primary Care (TIPC) Implementation Advisory Committee meeting will take place on October 10, 2023, from 10 am to 12 pm PT. Members of the committee will hear updates from the California Office of the Surgeon General, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), andthe UCLA/UCSF ACEs Aware Family Resilience Network (UCAAN).

This meeting is open to the public – Register Here.

Event Materials:


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.