New “State of CAre” campaign to expand awareness about Adverse Childhood Experiences

May 17, 2021
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health 

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and California Office of the California Surgeon General (CA-OSG) has launched the “State of CAre” health care provider engagement campaign to expand the reach and impact of the ACEs Aware initiative.

Utilizing the slogan, “Our State of CAre is ACEs Aware,” the campaign is raising awareness on the long-term health effects of unaddressed Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in children and adults.

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.

“Decades of research demonstrate that ACEs and the resulting toxic stress response, when left untreated, contribute to some of the most significant and costly societal challenges facing our communities,” said California Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris, M.D. “The State of CAre campaign is designed to help providers understand the importance of screening for ACEs and to leverage our ACEs Aware resources to effectively integrate ACE screening and referrals into their practices.”

The core component of the State of CAre campaign is a free, two-hour “Becoming ACEs Aware” online training and certification. Once certified, providers who participate in Medi-Cal can receive payment for screening patients for ACEs and responding to the symptoms of toxic stress.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for strong trauma-informed care teams to be integrated into health care practices, clinics and across our communities,” said Karen Mark, M.D., medical director for DHCS. “The State of CAre campaign will reach more providers and send a clear message that California is leading the way in identifying, preventing and addressing the impacts of ACEs and toxic stress.”

More than 17,600 individuals have completed the ACEs Aware training since it became available in December 2019. As a result, Medi-Cal providers screened more than 300,000 patients for ACEs between January and September 2020. Providers who complete the training receive 2.0 hours of Continuing Medical Education and/or 2.0 Maintenance of Certification credits.

Additionally, the ACEs Aware initiative is working closely with the ACE Resource Network to promote the new NumberStory.org initiative, a resource for consumers and patients to learn more about ACEs, toxic stress and how to heal.

“ACEs are not destiny,” said Dr. Burke Harris. “Community organizations, health care teams and individuals throughout California can play a vital role in improving lives and transforming health outcomes. Together, we can make our state of care, ACEs Aware.”


See Also: CMA Top Issues: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)


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