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California’s Comprehensive Approach to Addressing Toxic Stress

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This month, the state of California launched ACEs Aware, a new initiative focused on identifying, treating and healing harm from ACEs or Adverse Childhood Experiences. The initiative offers training material for medical providers and clinic administrators in screening for ACEs and getting state reimbursement for the cost of screening. It also offers guidelines for incorporating screening results into clinical care, and resources to reduce the impact and prevalence of ACEs and toxic stress.

This initiative represents a momentous step in addressing the profound impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on health. Adverse Childhood Experiences are traumatic events or conditions experienced before age 18 that are a root cause of some of the most harmful and persistent health challenges we face. Research from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that preventing ACEs may lead to a significant reduction in heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, depression, unemployment and substance dependence.

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