Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress are a root cause to some of the most harmful, persistent, and expensive societal and health challenges facing the world today.  

Repeated or prolonged activation of a child’s stress response, without the buffering protections of trusted, nurturing caregivers and safe, stable environments, leads to long-term changes in the structure and functioning of the developing brain, metabolic, immune, and neuroendocrine responses, and even the way DNA is read and transcribed.

California is taking aggressive steps to address ACEs and toxic stress through the first-in-the-nation ACEs Aware initiative, which aims to establish routine ACE screening in primary care and develop a network of care, including cross-sector coordination supports aligned with primary care.

The California Medical Association (CMA) is a proud grantee of ACEs Aware, and we support science-based prevention strategies, equitable response solutions and best practices that can be replicated or tailored to serve community needs.

By screening for ACEs, providers can better determine the likelihood a patient is at increased health risk due to a toxic stress response, a critical step in responding with trauma-informed care that connects patients with a supportive network of care to mitigate the impact of ACEs.

CMA encourages all physicians, particularly Medi-Cal providers, to receive the free, two-hour training to learn how screening, risk assessment and evidence-based care can effectively intervene on toxic stress. Physicians may receive 2.0 Continuing Medical Education (CME) and 2.0 Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credits upon completion - and can receive reimbursement for providing ACEs screening to Medi-Cal beneficiaries.


Tell Your Story

CMA is helping members share their story with physician colleagues through testimonials, short videos and local media interviews. If you had a positive experience getting trained or know firsthand the impact of toxic stress on long-term health care, please contact Shannan Velayas (svelayas@cmadocs.org). She will identify opportunities based on your comfort level and schedule, including media training and managing media interview logistics on your behalf.

Facilitate or Join a Local Physician Engagement Group

CMA is hosting local provider engagement groups across the state to cultivate professional fulfillment and provide support.

The physician-led groups will meet virtually once a month to discuss pre-determined questions that promote dialogue around the virtues and challenges of being a physician, as well as educate and increase awareness among physicians on the impact ACEs screening may have on provider wellness. Participants will reflect all specialties, practice settings and backgrounds, and groups are limited to ten to create a sense of community, share life experiences and promote camaraderie.

Please contact Yvonne Choong (ychoong@cmadocs.org) if you would like to facilitate, participate or learn more information on groups in your community.

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